There are 3 BIG MISTAKES studio owners and dance teachers make in their parent and tot classes that are dramatically limiting their program’s success and growth.
1. Marketing Program Product vs Program Process
Pictures of sweet preschoolers in perfectly posed Tutus may seem like the perfect way to market your early childhood dance programs, but in fact, it could be the very thing stopping parents from giving your program or studio a try.
Images that show perfectly posed dancers set unrealistic expectations. Many parents look at these pictures and think
“What if my child…”
- Won’t sit still
- Doesn’t listen
- Can’t keep up
- Won’t participate
- Doesn’t like wearing a leotard/tights/ballet slippers/hair in a bun/etc.
This can cause parents anxiety and, ultimately, discourage them from attending your class.
Most parents know that perfectly posed ANYTHING at this age is unrealistic, and may even question the studio’s unrealistic expectations.
Doesn’t show the learning journey
Perfectly posed images fail to show the learning journey and provide a limited view of dance. First off, these photos display a very ballet-centric world of dance versus the creative and exploratory concepts we utilize in class.
Second, there are some gender issues that need to be addressed. Most images exclude boys (and we all know that boys dance, period), and ignore the girls who love to dance but don’t like wearing tutus or ballet.
Third, inclusion. There are families in which the caregiver is a grandparent, aunt/uncle, babysitter, etc. And, there are families that can’t purchase a leotard and tights due to financial constraints. We want to be sensitive to these very common issues and ensure we’re including all types of families regardless of their family structure.
Solution: Market your PROCESS
Instead of showcasing the product, show the PROCESS!
- Capture the feeling, not the pose
- Feature caregivers as much as children
- Learning is about the journey, not the destination
- Describe the benefits that move beyond the dance class
- Feature REAL families
2. Teaching the kids, but not the caregivers
Did you know: Kids under 3 years view their caregiver as their #1 teacher. By not involving caregivers, we are not meeting kids where they are. If a child sees their caregivers not engaged in class, they will follow suit. This can lead to our students tuning out and cause more classroom management issues. Ultimately, decreased engagement = decreased retention.
Solution: Empower the caregivers
- We facilitate the caregivers and they facilitate their kids.
- Empower through education.
- Clarify YOUR role (to educate them, facilitate the activity and learning environment + differentiate support options for learning).
- Give specific jobs to caregivers to increase confidence (if your child isn’t walking, hold them in your arms to feel start/stop – if they do walk, hold their hands).
3. Cotton Candy and Brussels Sprouts
No, we’re not talking about the foods. We’re talking about activities! Brussels Sprout activities are not play-based. They focus on or are dependent on the teacher and can’t be recreated without them. They are mainly physical-domain focused, usually have only 1 correct outcome and have limited differentiation.
On the other hand, we have Cotton Candy activities. These are the activities that only focus on fun. They typically have limited connections to the lesson plan and learning objectives. They tend to be too easy and can cause regulation and sensory challenges.
Solution: FUN on purpose
So, where’s the middle ground? Creating activities that are fun on purpose!
FUN is a learning modality!
- Play is how kids learn
- Play is collaborative
- Play is brain-compatible (positive – which opens neuropathways)
- Play is multi-sensory and holistic
- Play focuses on process and possibilities
PURPOSE is your intention in every activity. Consider who, what, where and why when putting together your activities for class:
- WHY are we engaging the child in this activity
- WHAT are the overall learning objectives
- HOW does it support the child (physical, cognitive, social-emotional)
- WHAT does learning look like (VAK)
- WHERE is the activity headed
By providing FUN on purpose, empowering your caregivers and marketing process over product, you’ll increase confidence, expertise and satisfaction all while accelerating your business profitability and success!
Learn more about what makes Intellidance® unique
The foundation of the Intellidance® Method is the combination of dance and music concepts, identifying specific vocabulary in dance and music, and developing the understanding of both through the connection between concepts. These connected concepts provide opportunities for children to explore, discover, practice, and create using multiple senses and intelligences. This is what makes the Intellidance® Method so unique!
Interested in learning more? Check out our website to continue reading about Intellidance® Method.