J.P. asks from Murrysville, PA on February 16, 2011
Dance Class Drama
Sorry if this is too long, but my 2 and a half year old is having trouble at dance class. This is a dance school that offers a tiny tot class for 2 and 3 year olds (but only in the evening) and promotes it with an open house and two free sessions. When I took my daughter, my son had fun too, so I signed him up with the 4-5 year olds. It is a combined tuition that is a "deal" when you add a second child. I only added my son because I was taking my daughter. Their classes are at the same time.
To the issue, my daughter has been ejected from class the last two weeks in a row. Well, last week she wasn't there due to sickness. But the class before that she was pouty and uncooperative and wouldn't dance for much of the class. Towards the end, the teacher picked her up and put her in the hall and closed the door. Of course DD was crying and upset by that, especially since she didn't get her sticker and lollipop at the end. She is a bit of a diva, and she was a bit of a terror in September, October, and November at dance. She is not in preschool or daycare and again she is TWO. I was always appologetic about her behavior and tried to work with her. Teacher said no problem, and collected my $65 for recital attire without expressing concern. Tonight, she said DD kept laying down during class and danced some but not alot. I witnessed DD trying to see me through the view window and get upset when teacher moved her. DD sat on her bum in protest, so the teacher put her in the corner. Then DD started to cry, so teacher picked her up and ejected her from class again. DD was upset and I am not defending her behavior. I know the teacher had her reasons. BUT, I don't feel that my TWO year olds behavior was so disruptive or problematic that she needed to be removed twice in a row. I am paying tuition every month and feel quite upset that I spent money on the recital outfit at this point. If teacher didn't feel DD was mature enough or behaved enough to be in her class, how about saying so some time in the last 6 months! I'm hot about this, I'm not dragging these kids at night to this class so she can get kicked out 5 or 10 minutes before the end every week. I know my kid is not behaving as she should, but I don't feel the teacher is either.
Another complaint is that they boast their view windows for each class. Well for their own silly reasons, they won't open the blinds on the one side of tot class. So, I can't watch my daughter for more than half of her class. Or, I have to skip watching my son. I think this is a problem for both kids and and definitely a problem for me. I would like to see them both during class and the only thing in my way is a set of blinds and a weak reason on the schools behalf. ( I think they want the parents of the tot class to stay on one side of the building. Well, I'm paying for two classes, not just tots IMO)
Sorry so long! Should I say something to the teacher next week, email the school, or pull them out? I know my son would be upset now, as he is looking forward to the show. But I would be mad to have to pull her after paying for the outfit, and this was supposed to be her activity! If I say something, or email, I'm not sure how to approach it. I want to say, you took my money, now provide me with the damn service! My kid is not hurting anyone, and I expect to be able to watch BOTH my children during class as was indicated. Of course, I don't want to be nasty since I hope to finish the year. Next year, we'll be going somewhere else. Thanks for listening!
I just want to add that DD LOVES dance and she practices her steps all the time. I don't know why she goes with the negative attention seeking behavior during class, but she is very tired by that time of day. She is very hurt by the teacher putting her out.
So What Happened?™
I can honestly say that I did not know it was written in stone that dance classes should not have viewing windows for parents. This is probably because the dance school I attended growing up had viewing windows. And, there are viewing windows for every dance room at my childrens studio. I guess some people didn't get the "number one rule" memo.
If my daughter would have been kicked out of class even once in September, October, November,December,or January, then I would have pulled her out. I would not pay money to subject a two year old toddler to such harsh and negative treatment. I informed the teacher that my child is now afraid of her, and I have been attending dance class IN THE ROOM with her. DD is doing wonderfully.
Now that DD knows mommy has her back she is enjoying dance class again.
K.S. answers from Pittsburgh on February 17, 2011
She is too young. The teacher is a jerk. Consider this a lesson learned and pull her out. Try Mommy and Me classes and go back (to ANOTHER dance class) when she is around 4 or 5.
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C.C. answers from Sacramento on February 16, 2011
Mama, back up the bus. Here's the thing. She's TWO, as you have pointed out. When she misbehaves at home, what do you do? I bet you give her a time out, and you certainly wouldn't reward the behavior. That is exactly what her teacher is doing.
You say that your daughter isn't hurting anyone, but stop to consider that there are a bunch of other moms out there in the hallway with you who have all paid, just like you did, and whose children are being distracted by your child, and whose teacher is not paying attention to them because she's paying attention to your little misbehaving diva.
I say this with the greatest understanding because I have two girls who have been in dance since they were little. One of them has always behaved (so I got to watch other kids writhing on the ground and my kid standing there doing NOTHING while the teacher dealt with the situation), and my other kid has almost never behaved in class, and so I stood there dying of embarrassment while she writhed on the ground, all the good little girls standing by watching her. I've been on both sides of the issue so I get it, I promise.
If she is being mutinous, take her out of the class. Continue taking her brother since he enjoys his class. Put her back in dance when she's 4 or 5. Why fight her over this? Is it really worth it?
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S.S. answers from Chicago on February 16, 2011
Your daughter is not emotionally ready for this class. Now having said that. when the recital happens there is always one little girl who has hysterics and refuses to stay on the stage or refuses to stay on their mark. sounds like your little one is it lol. You can continue to force her to attend and she will hate dance class. or you can take her out and let your little boy continue as it sounds like he is having fun. let your daughter have the outfit and she can wear it for halloween next year. most teachers deal ok with the little ones wandering around the room and not paying attention but if they are disrupting the others then it is within the teachers rights to remove her. the teachers at our kids dance school always did a few minute break about halfway thru the half hour lesson. does yours give a break?
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M.L. answers from Houston on February 16, 2011
I teach 2 and 3 year olds dance. (I teach more, but the 'tots' are my absolute favorite age!)
The teacher is not suitable for teaching this age group. Period.
For MY two year old classes, this is what we do. Btw, my class is only 30 mins, they get bored and want M. pretty quick!
We start with a fun, 5 minute stretch. We are changing and moving during the entire stretch! We get moving for the next 5 minutes. Examples: marching, jumping jacks, reach to the sky and the floor.
The next 5 minutes we are moving across the floor with chasses, kicks, ballerina walks, etc.
The next 5 minutes we play a game.
The next 5 minutes we are 'practicing' something. Our positions, a dance, arabesques, etc.
The last 5 minutes is freeze dance and stamps. NEVER any candy at dance class. (It is not healthy.)
Anyway, you have to be ready to change things at the drop of a hat with this age group.
Our class is very structured, but, constantly changing and always moving. It has to be that way!
If you have any questions, feel free to PM me.
I never let a little one that chooses to sit down distract ME, because usually the other littles don't notice. It usually bothers mom watching though, so I keep reminding them to come join our class, but NEVER send them outside. One thing I notice, they are still learning, even when sitting down. They just don't 'feel' whatever I'm doing at that particular moment in time! :)
I would meet with the teacher, take my reply printed out if you want. Sounds like she needs some suggestions and guidance for the little classes. :)
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H.B. answers from Allentown on February 17, 2011
While I don't teach dance, I work with this age group on a daily basis. She is just not ready for a structured, adult-directed group yet. Some two and a half yr olds can handle it and some, not so much yet. Try again when she is 3-4. She will be happier and you will be happier.
The teacher has to make sure she can keep the other children engaged and following directions. If one child is disruptive then it is easy to lose others in the group. I can understand why she would feel the need to remove your daughter. As a parent, though, that is not easy to witness.
Is the window a one-way mirror so that you can see her but she can't see you? That would be the only way this would work. I work in speech therapy and we use mirrors like this. If I just had a window and the child knew that mom/dad was on the other side watching, then I know I would lose their attention. Some of my kiddos already figured out the mirror (if you get super close to it you can see the other side) and I have had to use a curtain to block it. Not ideal but otherwise sessions are not effective.
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P.M. answers from Tampa on February 16, 2011
My daughter did this too at that age. Mainly, it was a larger class and they should have had a teacher asst. Maybe you can bring that up? Keeping communication open is a big deal, so make sure you are calm and know what you want to say before you say it.
For her it was time out during class until she cooperated and listened to the teacher, but things really got better when they finally got a teacher asst.
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G.B. answers from Oklahoma City on February 17, 2011
Do you realize that almost NO dance teacher allow parents to even see the dance class? It's almost a carved in stone rule that parents do not get to watch class. It is very disruptive to the flow of teaching and almost always kids have a melt down when they catch sight of their parents.
If you think this problem is going to be ongoing and that you can't understand then talk to the owner of the dance studio. Perhaps the teacher has better things to do than try to teach a recital dance routine over a 2 year old having a temper tantrum, or whatever you'd like it called, meltdown, what ever, but she does not have to allow your child to cry and lay around and be disruptive if she is not participating. It often makes a better impression on the child if she is removed from the class and really wants to be in there so she acts differently when she gets to go back in.
I can honestly say our dance studio teachers would send her out too. But they would not wait that long, she would go out at the first sight of crying and not being able to calm down. The dance class is supposed to be fun but recital time is stressful for the little ones, they only have so many hours to learn their routines, even if it is simple. If one child starts crying then others are going to become upset too and all control is lost int he classroom.
Talk to the owner, if she is the teacher ask her how you can help your child to stay in class for the full time and participate better. She may have some good ideas. If she's not the teacher then perhaps she can give you insight on the policy or talk to the teacher about the actions.
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A.D. answers from Minneapolis on February 16, 2011
All I can say is if I put my girls in a serious dance school class at age 2, they would be a mess! Well, my older DD for sure would never make it through a class without being sent out. Age 2 is really, really young to expect compliance in a class, even when a parent is participating with the child! I would take her out, she is just too young, and the teacher doesn't sound very kind. She may be a great dance teacher, but she needs to really understand these kids are 2! Just gently explain she can do this when she is older, it will be easier then, and you can see she just isn't quite ready yet. I would ask the dance school director for as much of a refund as possible.
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V.M. answers from Erie on February 16, 2011
could you ask the teacher what you could do to help your daughter have a better experience? turn it back on them,
Then you would have an opportunity to say that you would like the blinds reaised.
how do the other parents feel about the teacher needing to spend so much time wtih your child?
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