I think I have some secrets or suggestions to start dancing with children:
The first one is making a plan/structure for the class: decide what’s the theme, what are the goals, define what you want to do in each section of the class and if you are going to use props/objects or not, etc. But be open to change and adapt your class based on what emerges in the moment coming from the kids.
Don’t be discouraged if your children are not so engaged and able to explore what you bring to the class and want to do something a bit different. Some days you leave the class feeling great, because things worked well, and some days you feel sad and have doubts about your teaching capacity. It’s part of the game and we learn a lot with these challenging experiences.
It’s important to name what you see during the class. I like to name the students’ movements like: “I see John moving very slow”, “I see Karen jumping high”, “ I see Trisha shaking her head and arms”, and so on. Naming the movements is a way for kids to be seen and also helps them to learn to put words into their movements.
I always open my classes with a moment of gathering, when we talk about the theme for that class and I ask the kids questions so they have an opportunity to show what they already know, which they love.
At the end of class, we make a circle and I ask them what they learned in this class, or what was more fun or what was more challenging. If class was about light and heavy movements, for example, I will ask what they prefer: light or heavy. It’s a great way to get feedback from kids, which helps me in my reflection process.
After the class, I take some time to reflect about it: what worked well, what didn’t work, new ideas for the next class, what kids said during the closing circle. It’s very helpful to guide my planning, make changes, and bring new ideas.
These are ideas I have been using in my classes over the years and they’ve helped me to connect and engage with kids. I hope they are useful for you. Thank you!!