Tag Archives: young children

The Qualities of a Dance with Twinklesteps Teacher

We’ve had lots of interest in our exciting new dance programme ‘Dance with Twinklesteps’ for 3 – 6 year olds, so we thought it would be useful (and fun!) to share the very special qualities of a ‘Dance with Twinklesteps’ teacher.

We have written and presented the Dance With Twinklesteps programme with the understanding that the teacher has experience in teaching young children and has a strong background training in dance and in particularly ballet. Twinklesteps teachers carefully teach the foundation of ballet technique by following the guide lines in the Twinklesteps syllabus, which uses parallel feet for the very young child. The progression exercises in the syllabus provide a natural and safe development for the children to progress to the next level (primary).

For more on what’s included in the Dance With Twinklesteps programme see here.

Qualities of a Dance With Twinklesteps Teacher

Well Number 1 of course is that all our teachers love children and enjoy interacting with them. They also have the ability to make things fun. Our teachers are great at getting the right balance of structure, imagination and play. Drawing on play as the natural learning method of younger children, means you’re working with, rather than against, your class. Dance with Twinklesteps teachers incorporate role play, storytelling, sensory experiences and, of course, participation. At Twinklesteps we’ve found that engaging the children in the story telling, asking them about their ideas and then acting them out in the class really works: incorporating chances for the children to be involved in the class makes them active and interested learners.

Since these are very young children who love to (and learn through) play, our teachers are able to immerse themselves in all the imagination of this age group and encourage the children to use their own imagination within the class. To be creative and imaginative, to be able to motivate and excite the young children in the class, encouraging the relationship with the main character Twinklesteps, is a great quality for our Dance with Twinklesteps teachers.

We always say to new teachers that it’s important to keep the Twinklesteps’ character real and a focus point in the class, as an inspiring role model for the children and as a tool to base the learning around. After all, we created Twinklesteps as a little girl who loves ballet, so children should feel an affinity with her (Twinklesteps’ best friend Jett has been created as a role model for boys). The addition of her magical fairy powers taps into the imaginative world of this age group and helps them learn some basic ballet steps and movements through imagination and play. The fact that Twinklesteps has shoes that sparkle when she points her toes encourages children to point their toes too. Linking the characters from the Twinklesteps book in the class and even adding some of the children’s own imaginary characters helps the childrens enjoyment of, and learning within, the class.

Leading on from this, Twinklesteps teachers are also great at taking a flexible approach. When teaching this age group on some days you have to be prepared to throw out your planned lesson and go with the mood of the children. This doesn’t necessarily mean always thinking on your feet, many of our teachers have worked out a plan B, C and D to deal with any situation! If the children are lacking in focus for a technical exercise, a back up plan (something more play based for example), can really help. Being able to assess the ability of each child and plan the class to suit the children makes life so much easier for our teachers. The accompanying Dance With Twinklesteps programme music is aimed at encouraging teachers to be flexible in helping the children to respond in different ways through dance.

All our teachers are genuinely warm and kind, with an encouraging style. They understand that young children respond really well to reward and praise and they recognize children’s efforts. Stickers, certificates and praise all help the children to feel proud of their efforts and pleased to be in the class.

Children move on from ‘Dance with Twinklesteps’ with a basic foundation in ballet as well as having enormous amounts of fun! The syllabus is intended to be entertaining but also educational as we aim to encourage a love of dance and music in a natural and progressive way through play, storytelling and imagination.

To find out more about our dance programme ‘Dance With Twinklesteps’ visit here. Email Yvonne MacGregor (‘Dance With Twinklesteps’ creator and coordinator) at info@twinkesteps.com if you’re interested in becoming a ‘Dance With Twinklesteps’ teacher.

Kick off Your Shoes and Dance

HAPPY NEW YEAR everyone. It’s the time of year to feel optimistic and ready for new challenges and adventures. With that in mind we thought we’d share with you the perfect New Years Resolutions for parents and their young children to enjoy together. We love, love LOVE ballet but whether your kids love ballet and dancing like Twinklesteps or are mad about something entirely different, these ideas will put a spring in your step.

Giselle

Kick of your shoes and dance!

There’s no better way to create some enjoyable moments together and happy memories than doing dancing or exercise together. There are lots of dance classes for children and dance classes for big people but not so much out there for you to enjoy together. If making up your own routine together is too daunting, we love this video by Scottish Ballet. Aimed at children aged 3-6 years this exercise routine is a gentle introduction to ballet and yoga moves. Tried and tested by one of our Twinkle fans it has our seal of approval and we recommend trying this together with your child if you want 15 minutes of pure pleasure: grab the moon, sprinkle fairy dust and enjoy being a tree blowing in the wind.

Grab a notepad and paper and get writing

Try writing a poem or story together. You could even act it out. Make up some costumes and props and you have a rainy afternoon sorted. Here’s a poem we wrote for National Poetry Day to inspire you: Dancing in the Rain. Why not try your own weather poem to get you started – it’s easy to act out sunshine, rain, wind and snow with movement and actions. If you or your child know any basic ballet steps, incorporate them into the story – point your toes!

Make the Ordinary Extraordinary

When is a stone not a stone? When you draw a picture on it and make it into a canvas. When is a skipping rope not a skipping rope? When you lay it down and balance on it like a tightrope walker. When is a rose not a rose? When it’s being transformed into magical fairy perfume:

Mix the fairy perfume

Mix the fairy perfume

What everyday things can you make extraordinary?

Let this year be the year of the book

There’s a storm brewing outside, the wind is battering the branches of the trees and howling like the Growling Goblin and rain is hammering on the windows. It’s the perfect time to curl up with your child, choose a book and let the magical world of words whisk you away on an adventure. We love books which inspire children to dance, which is why we wrote ‘Twinklesteps and the Disappearing Birdsong‘. Learn about ballet and find out what the Growling Goblin has stolen in our ballet adventure about Twinklesteps and her magic ballet shoes.

Twinklesteps & the Disappearing Birdsong

Twinklesteps & the Disappearing Birdsong

What books inspire you to dance, practice your ballet, or make life more magical? Let us know in the comments below.

Have a magical year full of ballet, dancing and creativity. Oh, and LOTS of fun 🙂

From The Twinkle Team.