Under 5's from Lakenham have been enjoying a term of toddler dance sessions at St Mark’s Church Hall in Norwich with community dance tutor Victoria Jacobs from The Garage outreach team.
Around 20 families attend every Friday afternoon to explore, create and play through dance.
I asked Victoria what makes a successful toddler dance session, and why her sessions are so popular with young families.
“In session with toddlers, it's important to have a new theme each week, to keep up with their constant need to learn and explore.
The themes are things that they can relate to, such as autumn, garden animals, bugs and my body. I like to feed a small piece of information to them that they are likely to remember, for example, it's important for hedgehogs to eat lots of food before sleeping for the winter. We then link this into a physical exercise to do together, like collecting coloured balls and taking them back to the nest.
Along with the learning about each theme, the structure of the session appeals to the toddler age group. Each session begins and ends the same, giving the children structure within an ever changing themed class.
Another key to toddler dance success is providing activities that the children do not have to remember or take too seriously. They are simply allowed to explore, create and play.
The sessions are a fantastic opportunity for parents and guardians to interact with their children and explore and learn together. Adults are engaged with the children’s learning and they encourage and facilitate further exploration by helping their children link back to our theme.
Being a tutor to toddlers is such a fulfilling role. Not only do I teach them to explore their movements and imagination but I become their inspiration, role model and friend.”
Toddler Dance is hosted by East City & Framlingham Earl Children’s Centre and is part funded by Norwich City Council. The centre supports families with young children in the south east of Norwich by providing information, advice and services.
The sessions have received great feedback from parents, and it looks like the children are having a lot of fun too.
Toddler Dance is free to attend and open to families registered with the Children’s Centre. It takes place on Fridays 1.30-2.30pm at St Mark’s Church Hall, Hall Road, Norwich. For more information contact the Children’s Centre on 01603 219717 or visit their website.
The Garage also offers Toddler Dance session at our city centre venue on Tuesday and Friday mornings, priced £72 per term – more info on our website here.