There are many approaches to teaching. Consequently, every teacher is going to structure their tiny tot dance classes differently. How much technique to teach in a 3-4-year-old class will depend on the goal of the class, type of dance, and the quality of the teacher and studio.
If the class is designed to be a general movement or creative dance class, specific dance techniques may not be taught. The teacher will most likely concentrate on the creative side of dance and developing the dancers’ imagination. Teaching and encouraging expression, pretend play/ dance, coordination, music, and listening are key.
I believe all of these things can be taught in a class in addition to introducing the basics of technique. There is a reason fundamental classes are so popular for 3-4-year-olds. It is the perfect time for them to be introduced to basic dance techniques.
Often I hear parents ask if their dancer is learning enough technique. They want their dancer to move up a level so that they will learn more techniques. I caution parents regarding this mentality. Dance lessons need to be age-appropriate. If a dancer is doing something that is too old for them, they will not be successful. They aren’t strong enough to physically execute the dance move.
The most important thing for a tiny tot dance class is that the class has a good balance of learning ‘dance’ moves while also having fun. Everything, even the technique, should be taught in a fun, creative, and game-like manner to keep the young dancers engaged and wanting to come back to class each week. As they get older and stronger with a higher attention span, the teacher will introduce more and more techniques.
Brittany White, Dance to EvOLvE director