Tiny Steps Dance℠
Curriculum Overview and FAQs
About The Program:
Ms. Allegra developed a dance program specifically for daycares and pre-schools, which involves many different dance styles. Classes are always engaging and use the children’s own creativity to keep kids having fun while moving and learning. The program is designed to improve cognitive function through exercises such as rhythmic counting and remembering directions, while children learn to understand material quickly and accurately.
Learning through Imagination:
During each class, dance concepts are introduced through simple and relatable movements. For example, we spend a lot of time in the first month talking about animals, which are very relatable to young children. Through motions such as galloping like a horse, they are practicing the fundamental ballet step called, ‘chasse’. Or when imitating a giraffe they are practicing proper posture. When they walk on their hands and feet like a lion they are preparing for the ‘six step’ in breakdancing. Or when they are imitating a snake they are really practicing a modern dance ‘lateral tilt.’ Although these movements are simple, they are both useful and fun for kids.
Introducing Dance Terminology:
Once children become more familiar with movement and a dance class structure, we move on to the beginnings of dance terminology, such as ‘first position’ and “echappe”. We practice these steps while repeating the name of the movement in a rhythmic style. This gives children a graspable way to learn steps and often sends them home singing french dance terminology.
Throughout the curriculum we also focus on the concept of taking turns and how that fits into a typical dance class. As students feel more comfortable with new steps, we begin to add them together into patterns, which children have the opportunity to complete individually with the teacher’s assistance. Through these obstacle courses, children learn to wait their turn while watching and encouraging their classmates. In addition, students each have a moment to shine, which boosts confidence and self-awareness. Furthermore, children learn to take directions quickly and accurately, which is what Ms. Allegra likes to call one of dance’s ‘employable skills.’ By practicing patterns of steps one-on-one, children develop the ability to focus on directions with greater detail. This skill transfers over to anything children strive to accomplish in life, and is a concept that Ms. Allegra works on throughout the program.
One of Ms. Allegra's 19 month old students practicing her "passe."
*Ms. Allegra teaches her curriculum in Spanish upon request
Q: What age do classes start?
A: Classes begin at age 1 and progress through pre-school and kindergarten. Children love to express themselves through movement at any age. Daycare is a great place for a young child to try out dance for the first time. Young children might not be ready to separate from parents for a dance class outside of school. However during daycare classes, children feel secure in their environment and are more able to be independent and enjoy the class.
Q: How long are classes?
A: Classes run for 30 minutes--the ideal amount of time for young children to focus and enjoy themselves in class.
Q: How often do classes meet?
A: Classes meet once a week (twice a week is recommended for superior results).
Q: What is the class size?
A: Class size is limited to 14 children (recommended class size is 8-10).
Q: Is the program inclusive for boys too?
A: Definitely! In class we explore different forms of dance through imagery that all children can relate to. Instead of talking about the ballet “first position” of the feet, we talk about making our feet look like pizza. In addition to the ballet, classes also include the beginnings of hip hop, jazz, and modern dance.
Q: What are the physical benefits of dance for young children?
A: During a dance class, children practice exercises that test their coordination, strength and balance. Children naturally tend to favor one side of the body, however in dance, we practice both sides equally which improves children’s coordination and overall strength. Flexibility and spatial awareness are also increased during dance class through simple exercises and imaginative play. A child’s imagination is the key to learning dance at a young age and is something that Ms. Allegra encourages during each class. For example, while adults do burpees at a gym, children can accomplish the same thing from pretending to be a lion and a jumping frog. During exercises such as these, a wide variety of muscle groups are strengthened. With strength, comes a greater ability to complete new movements seamlessly, which build’s a child’s confidence in trying new and challenging things throughout life.
Q: What are the cognitive benefits of dance for young children?
A: Studies have shown that exercises in which children cross the mid-line of the body help develop the part of the brain that is used for learning to read. With this information, Ms. Allegra designed the curriculum to improve cognitive function through specific exercises, rhythmic counting and remembering directions.
*Please inquire for pricing options