Does your little one dream of being a pink sparkly princess or maybe a super-star dancing machine?
Making a careful, informed decision can keep those dreams from turning into a so-so experience and keep you from wasting your money.
Here are7 Important Tips....
6... Will my child like it there?
Check it out. Ask if your child can take a sample class. This may or may not be possible if the dance school is not holding summer classes.
If it is not possible, ask if you and your child can come and meet the teacher. You should be able to see the studio where your child will dance and the teacher should be able to explain a little about the class experience to you and your child.
7...Does the studio seem safe?
In case of fire, is there a back door and a fire extinguisher? Is there a first aid kit and are the instructors or staff first aid certified? Is there usually someone in the building besides the teacher? Is there a place for parents in the building? (Note: It's best if there is, but not the best learning environment if parents are in the actual classroom. Children focus better if there are not other people talking and if they can't run over to Mom for every little concern.)
Ask friends, neighbors or co-workers for recommendations. This might not give you the final answer, but at least you'll have somewhere to start. And of course, Google knows where there are dance classes nearby.
Once you have some possibilities, check out websites, make phone calls and then visit the final choices before you decide. Some things to find out....
For very young children, ages 3 to 5, most dance schools offer classes that meet once a week for 45 minutes to an hour. Depending on the cost of living in your area and whether the class is part of a community recreation program or at a private dance school, fees can range from about $35 to about $70 per month. Sometimes there is a discount offered for paying the tuition in advance for the semester or school year. There may also be discounts if you have more than one child. You may also be asked to pay a registration fee, typically $25 to $45. Be sure to ask about other costs too such as parades, competitions and recitals. Most dance schools have recitals and parents are expected to purchase one or more costumes for their child as well as tickets or other fees to pay for the recital venue and production costs. Try to find out all the details up front so you aren't surprised later. And of course, your child will be required to wear appropriate dancewear. Find out the dress code, or see our section here, "Dressed and Ready for Dance!"
Once you decide....
Classes should be offered at times appropriate for your child, not during nap-time or after bed-time. It really makes a difference. In decades of teaching, I found that three and four year olds who came to class at 10 a.m. or 3 p.m. were much more focused than those who came at 6 p.m. Kids have their limits. But, it may be unreasonable to expect to find a school that has just the class you want on Thursday at 4:00, because you already have something booked every other day of the week. Dance teachers have limits too.
Make sure you understand where the dance school is and how to get there. Peak times for dance classes are right after school and what seems like an easy drive on a Saturday afternoon might be longer in after school traffic. While the best teacher may be worth a bit of a drive, you don't want your child to arrive tired and frustrated.
5... What do the students learn?
-Ask. Different schools may have different programs, but it is important to get a sense that the school has overall program goals and the teacher has a specific plan of what he or she will be teaching.
- Even if your child is young, ask about programs for older children. If you think your child might enjoy a performing company or competition team experience at some point, it may be good to be involved with a dance school that offers those things. However, you want to make sure that all the emphasis is not just on the "big kids" but that care and attention goes into planning the program for your little one.
Top 7 Things
You Should Know to
Choose the Right Dance School for Your Child