As a teacher of dance, it is always good to know what to expect from children at their various ages so that you can better prepare your classes.
The most important thing when teaching children to dance is to make their lessons fun and exciting. You will be able to tell by the expressions on their faces whether or not they are enjoying what they are doing.
When you start to enjoy watching them perform then you know that you are getting through to them.
The main challenge for every teacher is variety. Each child needs to work within their own capabilities, but the teacher can ask the class for variety, to explore different things and offer new challenges to keep the children excited.
What To Expect From Three-Year-Olds
These children love to make shapes with their bodies. They can understand level, direction, and size, but their understanding of place, pathways and focus are not developed yet.
They can explore force factors in the extremes like sharp and smooth, light and heavy, tight and loose.
Movement at this age is often related to sound, but these skills are sharpened later on. Littlies love working with fast and slow and they show definite rhythmic skill.
Very few three-year-olds will be able to do skips.
For adding variety to this age group ask them to make a shape then do some movement and end in another shape.
What To Expect From Four And Five Year Olds
Children of four and five can isolate parts of their bodies, and do all the steps that the body is required to do for example walk, run, leap, jump, hop, gallop, skip and slide.
Galloping is normally their favorite step with hopping and jumping following close behind.
Most should be able to skip by now, but there are exceptions to the rule. Leaping and sideward sliding are skills that they have just learned to do.
For adding variety to this age level you could add a jump after some gallops.
What To Expect From Six To Eight-Year-Olds
This age group is more skillful in their control and they are able to remember and repeat their dance movements. They relate to time and space with a lot more understanding now.
Add variety to their classes by asking them to move lightly after a period of moving with heavier steps.
What to Expect From Nine to Twelve Year Olds
This age group can control their movement with a greater physical ability and heightened mental awareness.
They can explore in depth all the elements of dance in all facets.
They enjoy group work because of their social development and their space-time awareness and they can readily experiment with relationships.
For variety in this age group try adding sharp stops or some isolated movements of one body part.