Values are not taught in the traditional sense. Children who learn strong values do so from the words, thoughts and actions of the people closest to them. This is why it’s so important to choose a dance school or performance studio that resonates with your family’s values.
In the grand scheme of things, we don’t get much time with our children and in the short time we do have, there’s a lot to achieve.
One of the most important jobs any parent will have is to instil worthwhile values in their kids. Values that will go a long way towards shaping our young ones into happy, healthy, motivated adults who make a valuable contribution to the world around them.
So much of this happens in the home, with children modelling the values they see reflected in the conversations, thoughts, and actions of their parents.
But what about the time children spend out of the home?
A lot of families turn to activities like Dance, Gymnastics, Acrobatics, Cheerleading, Circus or Tumble as a fun way to build confidence and fitness and establish lasting friendships for their kids.
With some young ones spending as many as three to four afternoons a week in one dance or performance studio, the time spent in these classes is going to play a huge role in shaping their values outside of the home.
This is why it’s so important as a parent to choose a studio that embodies similar values to those you embrace at home – values that will set your child up for success later in life.
So, what are these core values?
FIVE CORE VALUES TO INSTIL IN YOUR CHILD TO HELP THEM THRIVE
After years spent working with children and young people, watching them thrive and blossom within positive learning environments, we have come to learn that these five values have been among the most meaningful in shaping their outlook.
Here we break down why these values are so important, how you can promote these values at home and what you should look for in a studio – regardless of discipline – to help promote these core values.
A positive outlook is linked to so many wonderful things in life: health, wellbeing, longevity, happiness and success in career, sports, relationships, and finances.
Not only can a positive outlook help safeguard against increasingly common conditions such as depression in young people and adults, but it can mean the difference between someone who makes an ongoing valuable contribution to their world and one who sits on the periphery and lets life “happen” to them.
In terms of how we “teach” positivity, it’s more of a way of life. Strategies for improving positivity can be taught, but the most successful way of instilling a strong sense of positivity in a young person is to model it.
Positivity can be demonstrated in how we respond to everyday situations – both big and small – such as when we’re running late for school. Swap phrases like “We’re late again, we’ll never get there” with statements like “Ok, we’ve left our run a little late this time, but if we work together we can still make it before the bell.”
We can inspire positive thinking in our children in various ways, such as:
- Encouraging our children to talk about their feelings
- Surrounding them with positive role models
- Giving them some freedom, including the freedom to make mistakes
In class, teachers can focus on growth mindset practices like swapping “I can’t do it” for “I can’t do it yet”. Rather than scolding a child or young person for not having the ability to achieve something or doing it incorrectly, a positive teacher will encourage them to continue to try and give them hope for achieving in the future.
A sense of Community is to have a sense of belonging, to feel that members of a community matter to one another and to the group. It’s a belief that the needs of members and the group will be met through working together.
Community can be modelled in everything from how we treat our neighbours to how involved we are in local clubs, sports, hobbies, and other organisations. The best way to instil a sense of community spirit in our children is to live it. Volunteer at a local shelter, participate in nearby tree planting or join your local rubbish collection committee.
In a studio situation, a sense of community is created when students feel they have a contribution to make and are part of the bigger picture. An instructor who promotes a sense of community will encourage students to take on a meaningful role, regardless of whether they are the best, the most confident or the most experienced.
Inclusiveness is an important one to be mindful of and a little self-evaluation goes a long way. When you look at your own social circle and who you interact with, can you say that you associate with people of different religions, race, backgrounds or with different abilities and interests?
In teaching our children the valuable lesson that everyone has something to offer, it’s important that our own conversations and actions reflect this way of thinking.
A studio that promotes a sense of inclusiveness recognises the diversity of students and their individual talents, creating situations and environments where all students have an opportunity to feel like they can shine. Inclusive teachers will:
- Create a warm, welcoming, and respectful learning environment
- Clearly communicate expectations
- Provide constructive feedback
- Offer natural supports for learning to enhance opportunities for all students
- Use a variety of teaching methods that consider diverse learning styles and abilities
- Allow multiple ways for students to demonstrate their skills and knowledge
Leadership comes in many different forms. If you are confident enough in your abilities to coach the local soccer team that’s great, but it’s not the only way. Taking an active role can look different for everyone.
Join your school’s Parent Committee or offer to do hair and make-up for the dance school concert. Better yet, show leadership in the way you conduct yourself at home by:
- Vocalising how you go about making good decisions
- Admitting when you’re wrong
- Teaching the art of negotiation
- Letting your children have some choices in their day-to-day lives
In a studio where students are participating in physically and mentally challenging activities like dance, cheerleading, aerial and acrobatics, it’s important to have instructors who are trained in leadership practices. These instructors will be accountable for their actions, model positive body language and behaviours and they will give the children opportunities to be independent and make choices.
Want more Leadership Opportunities? Dance 2XS mentors students who are interested in becoming student teachers through its DanceStep Student Teacher Education Program. Find out more here (PUT LINK IN)
Fun – not a traditional moral value, but one that underpins the philosophy of a studio that models and promotes the values of Positivity, Community, Inclusiveness and Leadership.
Children respond to positive learning environments, especially those that leave them feeling happy, self-assured, and accepted.
Young people are more likely to be open to learning – be it new skills or new values – if they are in a relaxed, safe environment. One that they enjoy returning to, day after day. One of the best ways to achieve this is by creating a sense of fun!
CHOOSING A STUDIO
When choosing a new activity for your child, it’s helpful to get to know a little about the studio before you sign up.
Ask for a walk-through or to observe a class or training.
Be mindful of how the instructors interact with the children. Do they demonstrate Positivity, Community, Inclusiveness and Leadership?
The best way to know how a studio achieves these values is to ask them…
FIVE QUESTIONS TO ASK ANY STUDIO BEFORE SIGNING UP
- How do you nurture self-efficacy in your students?
- How do you model positive life values?
- How do you build confidence and leadership skills?
- How do you create a sense of inclusiveness?
- How do you encourage community mindedness?
EIGHT TOP TIPS FOR CHOOSING THE RIGHT STUDIO
Look for instructors who:
- Consider the diverse needs of their students to create an environment where all students feel valued
- Set expectations where students do not criticise, bully or intimidate other students
- Teach with enthusiasm and passion
- Provide structure with constant positive reinforcement
- Display a positive attitude and make learning fun
- Treat students with respect and receive respect in return
- Encourage students to try, even when it seems impossible
- Convey a ‘Do as I Do as’ NOT a ‘Do as I Say’ mentality
Children who are surrounded by opportunities to openly discuss and actively partake in the living out of values such as Positivity, Community, Inclusiveness and Leadership during childhood will have more of the tools necessary to enjoy an active, engaged and fulfilling life as an adult.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kath Newton is a life-long dancer, acrobat and cheerleader who runs a highly successful studio in Far North Queensland, Australia. Dance 2XS was founded on the basis that nurturing self-esteem, instilling good life values, and developing strong leadership skills is just as important as the core skills that any discipline can teach. Kath has dedicated more than 20 years to exploring and perfecting the strategies, teaching methods and environments that are most effective in shaping young community leaders with strong values through fun-based learning.
FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE Dance 2XS PHILOSOPHY HERE