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Mini Movers Summer Camp: An Educational Approach to Teaching Young Dancers

Last week we were blessed with twelve young dancers ages 3 - 5 years old...yup, TWELVE!!! They joined us at 4th Avenue Arts for a half day "dance" camp, but what they received in returned was actually a WHOLE lot more. When we designed our "Mini Movers" program back in 2006, what we found was that young children need a different approach to learning movement. They don't respond to straight lines, memorization of choreography, or a traditional dance class style set up in which there is a certain expectation set by instructors (and even worse the parent!) that these little ones have to meet. Their job at this stage in the process is to simply move, explore, learn, and gain the skills THEY need...not what anyone else places on them. This basic concept was the start of our Mini Movers program.

Last week, our "Bibbity Bobbity Boo" campers spent each day doing just that. We explored movement, music, Montessori inspired themed stations, theatrical storytelling, the stage, and more! Check out some details below about the week. We'd love to see you for classes if you have a little one...they will do WAY more than "dance".

Magical Morning Circle:

Every day is a time for's a time to awaken the senses, to welcome the body to move, to say hello to our neighbors, and to thank ourselves and those around us for being exactly who we are! That's what every Mini Movers class and camp is about, the present. We say hello to each other, the world around us, we learn anatomy through our "Hello Body" exercise...and most importantly, we GET MOVIN!

Skills Stations:

Cinderella is a great story for learning life skills! Check out some of our Montessori inspired "Skills Stations". These areas would change each day to reflect a new theme, or focus on a new task. The students were split into smaller groups to develop social skills and work closely with teaching faculty. These moments were a HUGE hit with the students...they were both enthralled and appalled that the wicked Stepmother had left so many "Tasks" to do!

Some featured favorites include:

- Baking French Baguettes from Cinderella's Kitchen

- Folding the Stepsisters Laundry

- Arranging Flowers for Cinderella's "Pumpkin Garden"

- Window Washing

- Feeding the Animals

- Character Play/Storytelling

- Setting the "house" for a proper cup of tea

- Cleaning the tables and chairs

Performing Arts/Dance/Music/Stage:

Of course after a yummy snack and potty breaks it's time to enjoy the love for performing arts! We start by making our way into our in house 500 seat main stage theatre to watch a short clip of the Cinderella film on the big screen...WHAT A TREAT! The students were thrilled each day to see the movie before getting to hop up on the very same stage!

Next the students get a quick lesson about the stage! One of the biggest benefits of having an in house theatre is getting the youngest artists comfortable on stage. We travel to the stage for dancing, singing, and "performance" practice...which really just means a culmination of daily activities that we will informally show the parents on Friday. We've found that it works best when we have no intentions about what the campers will be able to produce (mainly because we don't know their ability until day 1), so we take cues from them during the week about what type of "magic" they want and can create on stage! With this approach, we're not asking them to do anything they are uncomfortable with, which allows each child the ability to feel secure and confident in their ability! This process is ALWAYS a deep listening journey with the child...the trust and creative process which occurs in this space continues to amaze me, is never the same, and changes with each group of students.

Our Final Farewell:

The days end with a magical goodbye to each student, a moment to thank our minds and bodies. A sending of energy into the space, and a prep for parent pick up. Our goal is to ensure that each child realized how important they were in the creative and learning process that day. How much we look forward to seeing them again tomorrow, and how excited and ready we are to greet our caregivers. These days are TRULY a gift!

We hope you've enjoyed this behind the scenes peak at our "Mini Movers Summer Camp" program! If you are an interested parent who would like to enroll your child in one of our classes or camps we would love to see you! We have ongoing weekly classes in this curriculum, and some upcoming Mini Movers Camps.

July 17th - 21st:

Magical Mornings: Mommy & Me Camp/Mini Movers 1/6 months - 18 months/9:15 - 10:30am/$75

July 24-28th:

Rapunzel Camp : Mini Movers 2/3 - 6years old/9am-12pm/$165

July 31st - August 4th:

Beauty & The Beast: Mini Movers 2/3 - 5 years old/9am - 12pm/$165

Budding Ballerina: 5.5 - 9 years old/9am - 2pm/$165

August 7th - 11th:

Tutu Cute Camp: Mini Movers 2/3 - 5 years old/9am - 12pm/$165

Note: For older camps/classes check out our website!

Dance Educators:

If you are interested in learning more about this teaching style, stay tuned for details! Over the course of the next year we'll be making some exciting announcements on franchise opportunities and curriculum course training!

Thanks so much for reading our blog!

"Art in the Heart of Huntington" - 4th Avenue Arts

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