Example Pre-Ballet Class Syllabus
This class is an example of steps that a child from the age of 3-5 should be doing in their pre-ballet class. If you want to take a more creative approach, I have provided example images for you to act out. If you want more of a disciplined approach, still do the steps and leave the images out.
• Start out having them form a circle, while holding hands. Then while in the circle have them all sit down.
• Each movement is designed for them to stretch appropriately, however, they need to have fun. Remember, keeping the same order is very important. Little Children need consistent structure!
A. Point and flex to warm up the feet. To do this you need to have them sit with their legs straight in front of them. When you flex your feet back have them say “flex your feet and say hello toes” and when they point their feet forward, have them say “Point your feet and say good-bye toes”. This way they understand the motion that their feet need to be doing.
B. Next we want them still sitting with their legs straight out infront, but now we are going to stretch our arms. For this, our image is reaching for stars. Having your arms come up and down, you will stretch tall and grab your stars. Once they have all the starts they will curl their backs with their “bunches of stars” then throw them up in the air becoming very tall.
C. We are now going to transition our legs to where are feet are stuck together and our knees are turned out to the side. To do this you are going to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with your feet. You will want to put your jelly on one foot and peanut butter on the other foot and sick them together. Once you have made your sandwich you will bend over and eat your sandwich. This will stretch out their hips so they will have better range of motion.
D. This next stretch is only for creative style. This isn't really for stretching as much as it is for interaction. Still staying in that position you will then become beautiful butterflies. To do so just flap your knees up and down. Then go around the circle to and ask them what color butterfly they are. This will give them a chance to express themselves as well as learn to take turns.
E. For our next stretch, you will want to have them all lay on their stomachs. We are now going to become bananas. We will be doing 2 stretches with our bananas. First we will be pushing up with are arms (our legs and hips remain on the ground) and have them all say “banana” then have them go down and say “Squish banana”. After doing that a couple times go back to your stomach and have them “peal” their banana. Take your right arm and reach back to grab their right foot, and then repeat on the other side. Then try doing both sides.
F. For the final stretch they will need to go to their knees and sit. They will go into a small ball, where they will become seeds. You are going to create the story. “Its spring time” so you will grow and grow, then blooms into a beautiful flower. They will be stretching their entire body very tall. Then once all the way up say, “OH NO what’s coming??? SNOW!!!” This is when they will go back down to their crouched position. You will want to repeat this several times!
Small steps in the center:
• At this time you will want them to grab hands again and then as two people drop hands, have them make a straight line. Depending on how well they understand, you may want to have some kind of spot holder (draw a flower or a heart) for them to stand on.
A. For positions, you will want to only teach position 1st and 2nd with their feet. In first position you can give the image that their heels are "kissing". For their arms do positions 1-5
B. After the position you will want them to learn a Plié. They will stand back in first position. While keeping their heels on the ground, they will bend their knees and make a “Diamond shape”. For second position plie's, your heels will still remain on the ground, you will bend your knee's you can "make a house". While learning, it may be best to have them but their hands on their hips.
C. Next you will want to teach them a posse. This is where one foot goes up the leg to where you connect your toe to your knee. Make sure their knee is facing out (to their friend beside them). For an illustration, you can say the squirrel goes up the tree and into its nest.
D. Another good step for them to learn is an echape sote. You start in first position (both arms and feet) and jump out to second (both arms and feet). For an illustration you may say you are throwing a beach ball as you go to second, then you are catching a beach ball as you come back to first.
Down the floor:
• Going down the floor is a good way to get them moving! Have them all sit down on one side of the room, this way they stay in one spot. Randomly tap the ones who are sitting still to go across the floor. This will teach not just taking turns, but good ballet educate.
A. It’s always good to start off with “Princess Walks”. Their arms will be in high fifth, and they walk on their toes all the way across the floor. Make sure they have their “princess crown on”. This will teach them to look up, not down. They will not want their crown to fall off! They will walk across the floor on there tippy toes and their arms in high 5th.
B. Next you should have them skip. This sounds easy, but to those under five, it is very difficult. Work on picking up one foot while hopping.
C. Next you can try “bunny hops”. This will get them to jump up with 2 feet and also come down with 2 feet.
D. The next step you can use is a chasse. We call these “silly horse runs”. They will face the front and slide up as one foot chases another.
E. Finally you can try leaping. I would suggest you get a stuffed animal that they know (Minnie Mouse or Cinderella) and with their hands on their hips (we don’t run like football players) and have them run and leap over the object. This is fun and will remind them to jump in the air in an up and over motion. Make sure the object isn’t too large. Sometime they don’t get very high, you don’t want them to trip and fall.
Wrap up the Class
• A good way to end is with a good game of freeze dance. Put on a fun song and let them dance however they want. Frequently stop the music and have them freeze. This is a good exercise to have them learn to listen to what the music is doing.
• Finally reward them for being good. Stickers or stamps seem to work well. Also during class, if they seem to act out, remind them that if they listen and do well in class, they will get their sticker or stamp at the end of class.