Teacher Diary: Miss Lauren on what to expect from a Virtual Class for toddlers
Today, we’re giving you an insight into what’s involved in Virtual Classes for toddlers. Find out what goes on in a virtual lesson for young students, as Miss Lauren sheds some light on what goes into planning, preparing and teaching an exciting programme for 2-4 year olds online.
What a whirlwind couple of weeks it has been! As soon as the government announced that businesses were to close, the WAPS virtual classroom system was already up and running online thanks to the quick work of our teaching and administrative staff. Wondering what virtual classes look like for our very youngest students? Miss Lauren has exciting activities, exercises and information planned that she would like to share with you, the parents:
So you might be wondering “how do online classes work for younger children?” I have created a new class structure with some similarities and some differences to our usual in-studio classes. There are definitely some extra benefits to the online system, and from experience I can confirm it is really fun!
Toddlers connect with and are stimulated by fun and exciting characters on television and YouTube videos online. Especially videos that require movement with very descriptive language! The benefit of me teaching my younger students live online is that I know their little personalities and can really tailor the class to make the experience a lot more personal and relevant to them as individuals. They have my full attention and involvement, unlike a pre-recorded educational or entertainment video produced for mass consumption. Because I’m viewing the students live, I can also give them immediate feedback and corrections, which is important not just for their skill progression, but for their safety!
Speaking of involvement, this is a really good chance to enter your child’s “dance mind”, as I ask the parents to join in as much as possible! Having parents join in helps monitor behaviour, keep dancers focused, and ensure instructions are understood. When we learn in the studio, I can model correct behaviours, techniques and skills, whereas virtual learning means I communicate a lot more verbally – having parents help out at home not only improves learning and safety but it’s a great chance to bond. It’s fun as a parent to let loose and enjoy dancing like your child – I have so much fun doing the same and it’s a really positive and light moment in my day, especially during these difficult times.
You may notice that in some activities, our class structure has been adjusted a bit. This is to ensure that learning can progress well and safely despite differences in resources, props and space. I really maximise the full 30 minutes in our sessions, but of course you can continue your favourite songs, elements or games throughout the day if you want to! Our general class structure for youngsters is as follows:
- Just like in the studio, we say hello, share our fun news, and get some social time, face-to-face
- We participate in a stretching warm up, much like how we would do sitting in a circle in the studio
- We then stand up and move around our space with different motifs such as fairies, butterflies, kangaroos etc. Each week the theme of the lesson (and warm up) may change, and we will use different characters and concrete examples to help children isolate and use different parts of their body, developing our gross and fine motor control as well as our imagination
- We will usually play two or more movement games depending on time and student focus. These activities will vary each lesson so that students are always learning something different, and each online lesson is unique and exciting. The fun part about dancing at home is that your child is surrounded by their favourite toys! Many of the activities at the studio that use our equipment such as ribbons or pompoms are just as fun and beneficial at home using a student’s favourite toys instead. Not only is it fun for them to show me their toys, but it’s often comforting for them too – plus, they’ll get to see my favourite toys too, what a connection!
- DANCE! As per usual, learning fun and fresh choreography is always included in the lesson. I will teach the choreography slowly first and then we can all follow along together. Students learn brand new dances, plus they continue working towards their term choreography. The end of year concert is a great way to remind students of their exciting upcoming performance and maintain motivation.
- Story time! Reading a different picture book each lesson that require students to interpret and perform characterised movements or sounds. Last week my Little Groovers read an exciting story about a dog going into space – we practised our doggy woofs, and learned about moving in zero gravity too, which is trickier than it sounds!
- At the end of the lesson we may play another game, perform a short dance, or learn a new skill depending on the style of the class. Not a minute goes to waste! Finally, I’ll wrap up the class with some friendly goodbyes, and virtual high fives and praise. This way students can still continue to improve their socialisation skills and get that precious face-time with other children and their teacher.
Transferring my teaching and lesson plans from in-studio classes to online has been a unique challenge, and I am having so much fun getting creative and coming up with new at-home activities! I’m enjoying them so much that I think all of these will be extended so that we can continue to do them together when we come back to the studio. Teaching your toddlers is such a nice time of the week for me, it is so fun to still see their little faces on my screen! During times like these, seeing my students (and their parents) happy and having fun is really rewarding.
Any questions or enquires about using Zoom?
Checkout the other blogs and emails for all the information. If you need help we will be here to help you.