Preschool dance education—it’s a frequent topic among studio owners and dance teachers. In fact, in my conversations with attendees at the DanceLife Teacher Conference and the International Dance Entrepreneurs Association conference, preschool dance seemed to come up more than any other topic.
Throughout the Rhee Gold Company we’ve taken that message to heart. As we noted in a story last year, DLTC sessions that covered creative movement, ballet, tap, musical theater, hip-hop, and jazz classes for preschoolers “were packed with both note takers and teachers eager to get up and play along.” (See “One for All: the 2015 DanceLife Teacher Conference,” October 2015.) And a significant portion of a Back to Basics Teacher Intensive at the DanceLife Retreat Center this month is devoted to classroom concepts, tips, and strategies for preschool class success.
Since the magazine’s inception, Dance Studio Life has covered preschool dance education, with stories about marketing to parents of preschoolers, tips for making recitals successful and fun for preschool-age children, a guide to teaching aids and props for preschool classes, advice from teachers and studios that specialize in teaching the youngest kids, and more.
This month we take the next step, with our first preschool-themed issue. In these pages you’ll find five features—as well as our “Page Turners” and “Moving Images” book and video recommendations, respectively—that cover preschoolers in the dance world from various angles.
The themed content begins with a business idea: why and how to implement a babywearing program, in which parents take classes while wearing their infants or toddlers in packs or slings. These programs offer an opportunity to integrate parents into your school very early in their children’s lives. You’ll also read about the educational philosophies and methodologies of two studios that specialize in teaching ballet to students as young as 2. You’ll explore a formalized and comprehensive preschool creative movement curriculum and set of teaching methods that focus on child development, classroom management, academic concepts, dance terminology, motor skills, and spatial awareness. You’ll find a list of cool props, learning games, music, and curriculums that are useful for teaching young kids. Finally, you’ll hear from four professional dancers who balance rehearsing, performing, and touring with parenting, and who find that having both a dance career and a family is not only feasible but rewarding.
This preschool-themed issue won’t be a one-off; we’re looking at ways to focus on preschool dance education on a regular basis. In the coming year, for example, we plan to inaugurate a “2 Tips” column devoted to ideas and methods for teaching preschoolers.
In other news, DSL welcomes a new managing editor, Heather Wisner, who comes to the magazine after nine years as managing editor of Make-Up Artist magazine. Heather has a dance certificate and a degree in English, and previously was an associate editor at Dance Magazine. Over the years she has studied ballet and hip-hop, and she writes about dance and the arts for a range of publications, including DSL; in fact, you’ll find one of her stories in next month’s hip-hop-themed issue, about a project that brings together ballet and turfing, a street dance form that originated in Oakland, California. —Thom Watson
DSL editor in chief Thom Watson is a San Francisco Bay Area–based aficionado of ballet, contemporary, and folk dance. He has also been an internet and social media executive and a political columnist.