Choosing a Quality Dance School for Your Child.
Dance is one of the most popular activities for children in Australia. So how do you choose the right school to start your child on their dancing journey?
As dance education in Australia is unregulated, it means that anyone can open and run a school regardless of experience and qualification. Research is imperative - so be sure before deciding to commit.
What should you consider?
Understanding the What and Why?
What style of dance is your child interested in learning? Does the school offer a range of styles? Why are you dancing - to become a professional, to keep active, to build discipline, or for the social aspect?
Understanding what style of dance your child is interested in and that their desired style may change over time, so it is good to know what the school offers in terms of range. Would you like your child to be involved in competitions and public performances?
What are the qualifications of the Principal and Teachers?
Be sure you trust the Principal and teachers who will be guiding your child's development. Find out about their industry knowledge and how many years’ experience they have. Does the school offer a personalised yet professional experience for the whole family? Does the teacher teach the class or tailor their approach to each individual?
What are the overall standards and environment of the school?
Consider your interactions and communications with the school during your inquiries. Get a clear understanding of the Vision, Mission, and Values of the school - are you aligned? Is the culture a good fit? Are you made to feel welcome when you walk in, is there a feeling of camaraderie? How does the schools' reputation rate amongst the community? Enquire about policies and procedures concerning safety, injury, bullying, their code of conduct, missed classes, and find out about the standards of teaching.
Cost – What’s involved?
Cost of dance schools may vary for multiple reasons - reputation, style, class numbers, and location being a few. Before you sign up for a trial, it's worth gauging the associated costs. Are performances compulsory? Consider the extra cost involved here; what are the options for costumes- purchase, hire, sew? What is your reason for dancing - this will also determine how much you're willing to invest. Is the fee structure affordable for you?
Insurance - Are they covered?
Is the school covered for Public Liability and all the associated teachers covered by Professional Indemnity?
Are the timetabling, music, and choreography all age-appropriate?
You may not want your 4-year-old inappropriately dancing to 'Brittany Spears - Toxic.' So, it's good to find out about the music and choreography used in the classes. Does the timetable suit your family schedule? Life can already be busy enough, let alone adding extracurricular activities that have you running in 3 different directions in the course of an hour!
Do they offer a trial class?
If the school offers a trial and you have the time to invest, it is a great way to get a feel for the type of school they are, the standards of teaching they offer, and whether or not you feel the fit will be right for your family.
If your child is pre-school age you may also want to take a look at my recent blog post - The Importance of a Good Pre-School Dance Teacher