Forum: Irish / Irish - Teachers and Assistants

First time teaching kids, any tips?
By Kaarinamember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Thu Jan 14, 2016 06:09 AM

Hi all,

I've been teaching adult dancers for a couple of years with a friend of mine. We've received quite many enquiries from parents asking if their children could come and have a try. So we decided to have a trial class for the children and then decide if we should start an actual children's class. The class is tomorrow and kids are aged 6-8.

So, my question is, what sort of movements you have teached first? Skips? Sidesteps? How well a six-year old (with no prior dance experience) can learn or concentrate on something? Do you use some kind of metaphors to help them understand what you mean?

All tips would be much appreciated :]

3 Replies to First time teaching kids, any tips?

re: First time teaching kids, any tips?
By rosalinde
On Thu Jan 14, 2016 07:07 AM
This age group is old enough to go to school which means they can usually handle normal instructions. Of course there will be kids who need a little more playtime.

I would just start the way you start with adults who are absolute beginners. Some of them have no or very little prior dance experience either so that is comparable -- but I found that kids are a lot less self-conscious and generally less likely to say they cannot do something.

I generally start with 123s and 7s, and just see where that takes me. Some classes go fast, others a bit more slowly. But seeing that it is basically a trial anyway, I would just start where you would Always start.

Good luck!
re: First time teaching kids, any tips?
By Omuddy1
On Thu Jan 14, 2016 01:37 PM
I can remember two useful tips from when my DD was 6. These are more for polishing technique rather than learning the actual steps.

The first was for engaging her core to keep balance up on her toes - the teacher told her to pretend she was sucking a really thick milk shake up a straw.

The second was for turnout - to put smiley face stickers (or imagine them) on the inside of her heels and encourage her to keep the smiley faces showing to the front.
re: First time teaching kids, any tips?
By CelticCatPremium member
On Sat Jan 30, 2016 08:01 PM
Speaking of stickers...I have 2 beginner classes, first time beginners and another group who have all done their first feis and are more advanced. We have them work on specific things in class, like turnout, keeping heels off the floor, arms, etc. and often give them stickers at the end of class if they've worked really hard and show improvement. We have an Irish dancer sticker, plus shamrocks with bling and word sayings like "Hard Worker," "Well Done," etc. It's amazing how focused they get thinking about the stickers, and how hard they start working. I know they should be working hard on their own and it might seem a bit like bribing, but why not make dance class a little more fun for the wee ones?

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