Balance, posture and even good manners can be benefits of ballet classes - and then there's all that pink for little girls
Ballet classes generally start from 18 months to 2 years onwards (though some providers do offer age specific courses for younger children). For very young children, classes are usually graded according to age rather than ability.
Ballet classes for toddlers and preschoolers are often advertised as baby ballet and can be found in some dance schools.
Ballet classes are packed with a combination of fun, dance instruction, movement and music. Depending on the age group, classes will usually combine elements of several other baby and toddler classes to make a session more relevant and accessible for children.
Ballet classes for very little ones often include basic ballet techniques, dance, child yoga, music and singing, baby gym and storytelling. As well as classical tunes, your child will be introduced to ballet through a variety of different music.
Your child may be learning simple pirouettes in time to a nursery rhyme one week and how to balance on her tiptoes to jazz music the next.
Classes usually open with a gentle warm-up routine to get your child moving and stretching before the main section of the class gets underway.
The basics of classical ballet technique will be taught in an accessible way for young children, mixing fun and education. This may involve group activities and role-play, which also taps into your youngster's imagination.
Props such as tunnels, ribbons and instruments may also be introduced which can encourage your child’s sense of play and dance.
Classes end with a cool-down and fun stretching session. Although your child may be following a specific syllabus as part of the ballet training, classes will still be attuned to the age and abilities of your toddler’s age group and she will be able to progress at his own pace.
Your toddler will get lots of physical benefits from this type of class.
Improved balance - As well as learning how to control and move her body to certain beats, music types and instruction, your child will gain improved balance, co-ordination and generally become more agile. These are key gross motor skills that are important for your child’s physical development.
Posture - posture will also improve as will self-confidence as she becomes more adept at tackling positions and movements. As your child becomes more body aware she will start to become more flexible and core strength will be enhanced.
Social skills - There will be plenty of interaction, so expect your child’s social skills and ability to interact with other toddlers and preschoolers of the same age to come on in leaps and bounds. Your child’s imagination will also be stretched as she learns to dance and stories are introduced into song and movements.
Good behaviour - Ballet is a very graceful art form and promotes manners, discipline and good behaviour, which are great everyday life skills for your child to develop.
As you will need to accompany very young children, a ballet class can allow you to share in some great quality time with your child. Your child will also be more relaxed and willing to get involved if she can see you also joining in and enjoying the class.
For slightly older pre-schoolers you may be able to sit and watch them participating independently as your child expresses herself and puts her new-found skills into practice.
Low to medium (approximately £4-£10 per class) depending on location. You may also need to pay for an appropriate dance uniform (tights, leotards and ballet shoes for girls and shorts, t-shirts and ballet shoes for boys).
I would love to get my two daugthers into ballet! i think its such a great thing for them to learn and they always look sooo cute in the little outfits!
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