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My 3.5 yo dd is expressing interest in taking dance after seeing a ballet. What should I be looking for in a program? I reluctantly realize that she's really probably ready for a "kid's only" program, but I'm a little taken aback by the "no parent's allowed" rules. I want to be able to observe if I feel the need and I am just weirded out by the idea of some "stranger" taking my kiddo into a windowless room and teaching her for half an hour, you know?<br><br>
There are two possible programs locally, they both have no parent's rules, but I think on has an observation window, not sure about the other.<br><br>
What questions do I need to ask? I have a sensitive, high needs dd and she's not been to many things alone sucessfully. But then, we've little opportunity to have her do solo things. She said today she wanted to go to dance class with just the kids when she's 4. I think that's reasonable.<br><br>
Thanks for any help!<br>
Christa
 

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I would go for the one with the observation window and only if they have an "open-door" policy - meaning mom can come in and out as the little one needs her. That's what we did. In fact, for the real little ones, the teacher actively encourages breaks for the girls to come out and snuggle / hug their mamas! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up"><br><br>
My dd (barely 3 at the time) who is shy, somewhat timid and definitely an introvert wanted to dance, but had had a traumatic first experience with a dance studio where the teacher addressed her gruffly <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/irked.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="irked">:, so she wanted to be *very sure* that the new studio and teacher was safe.<br><br>
So we went to observe one day - from outside, through the window. The next time, we went in and stood to one side of the class. The third time she participated for part of the class - in her rainboots - b/c she refused to get dressed in her ballet clothes (I guess she figured she might get suckered in otherwise! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> ).<br><br>
The fourth time was the magic number and she was ready to fully participate. I had ongoing chats to the dance instructor over the course of all this time and she was loving, patient and above all, good humored about my dd's need to take her time to check her out. She has now become of my dd's favorite people in the whole world!<br><br>
So, in short, observe, talk to teacher at the studio with the observation window about your dd's temperament and see if she's open to exceptions to the rule. If not, you can always wait a little until your dd feels more secure about seperating. Even though my dd is almost 5 and doesn't need to come out for snuggles, I still watch her through the window quite a bit and her teacher encourages waving to the mamas. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/love.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="love">
 

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DD1 started dance last fall when she was 3.75 years old. One option might be to see if there is a program for a short class instead of a fall to summer program. Our local parks and rec does a creative dance for pre-schoolers, it's only a 4 week class. I did enroll DD1 in a more formal program last fall, she loves it, I called several places before I knew I had found the one. They started off the year with the doors open and us parents right there, and as the year progressed then they slowly closed the doors, but there is still an "open door" policy. D1 loves her class, and the instructor is wonderful.
 

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My DD is a few months younger than yours, but is also VERY high needs, sensitive, and reserved. She has been talking about going to a dance class for the past few months, and I was really surprised when I started calling around that the 3-yr-old classes didn't allow parents in the room. I knew DD wouldn't go for that, and I wasn't too crazy about it either. (I also didn't want to sign her up in hopes she'd surprise us and be just fine, and then lose the $$ if things didn't work out.) But then I found a ballet school that has a class called "Hand in Hand" for 3-yr-olds to take with a parent. It's only 6 weeks long, but I figured it was a great introductory class to get her used to the idea of eventually dancing alone with the other children. Maybe you can find something along those lines...? Good luck!
 

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I did the 3yo dance classes not knowing it was "parents not allowed". My girls were fine with me in the room, but when I was told I had to sit outside the room, they stopped participating. It was a waste of time and money. We didn't sign up again but told her I would be interested in a Mommy and Me dance class.
 

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I would make sure there is an observation window.<br><br>
My dd is also very sensitive and takes a long time to warm up to new people and situations. She just turned 4 and has been in ballet for almost 9 months. Prior to her starting her class, she had been asking for classes for months and months, and we regularly visited a nearby ballet school just to watch the other dancers.<br><br>
The ballet class was the very first class/thing she ever did without me, and I was very worried that she would be scared. I knew that the school discouraged parents from being in the room in general, although the teacher does encourage a parent to sit in the room with a child who doesn't want to participate. So they take a gentle approach, although the general intent is that parents remain outside.<br><br>
My dd surprised me by being FINE and loving the class from the beginning. The teacher and helpers are awesome, and she has really blossomed and grown as a result of the class.<br><br>
A few things that helped her get ready before starting class:<br><br>
- We made a big deal out of going to the store to buy her leotard, tights, shoes, and tutu. That got her excited.<br><br>
- We visited the school a lot before her classes started, just to watch the bigger kids in their classes. She enjoyed this and it made her start looking forward to her class.<br><br>
- I assured her that I would be sitting RIGHT OUTSIDE her class, so if she got scared or needed me, that's where I'd be. Most of the other moms go out for coffee during the class, but I promised my dd that I wouldn't go anywhere, and that makes her feel much more secure.<br><br>
Good luck to you and your dd! I hope she loves her classes as much as my dd loves hers. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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We've been looking at preschool dance, too, and I'm amazed that they are all parent free. I guess that I can understand, it just seems like 3 is pretty little.
 

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I am a dance teacher (I teach High School) & my mom has a dance studio. She has an observation window & the frst few months the litlest kids have parents in the room with them if they want them. Why would she want a little tiny kid who is scared & missing mama? It is in her interest to allow parent sin if the kids need them. The door closed helps kids focus (epecially if there are siblings along), but you should call around. The suggestions to go watch a class or a short term workshop are great ideas too.
 

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My dd started dancing around your dd's age and the studio we go to does not have an observation window, but did allow parents in the room if needed and has no problem asking a parent to sit in if their child wishes. My dd is now 7 and we are still at the same studio. The teachers are wonderful and understand that sometimes the children are going to be tired, moody, etc. and they work w/the kids. They surely don't crack the whip or anything. they want the kids to learn, but have fun as well. All in all my dd has blossomed and made some friends there as well.
 
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