Earlier this month we were thrilled to be listed along side Joe Wicks in the John Lewis article ‘Things To Do With Kids At Home’ on the John Lewis website. CLICK HERE to read more about what they say.
It was great to be recognised for providing ‘imaginative and fun filled’ classes to help keep little ones active. Of course, we believe every little one should dance! Why? Have you ever watched a toddler instinctively move to whatever music happens to be being played? It’s often surprisingly rhythmical! Bouncing, swaying, moving hips side to side, maybe a clap or a stamp of foot if you’re lucky. The sheer joy of instinctive dance can be mind blowing! No-one has told them to move like that or has shown them, they just do because that is what they feel like doing in that moment! And the joy it brings them is palpable.
When I first took my son swimming he was 12 weeks old. I had serious reservations taking my precious firstborn into the water for the first time. What if the water frightened him? What if I slipped in the pool and he went under? The whole of the first lesson was focused on the method of what that particular swim school were trying to achieve with the babies … tapping into their instinct to engage their gag reflex to hold their breath underwater. This in turn would build confidence and ability in the water. Two things struck me; firstly, we mustn’t put our own perceptions of a situation onto our children. Secondly, how amazing to build a skill based on instinct.
At Tot Bop we aim to do just that … tap into every child’s instinctive urge to move to music every lesson. This gives them confidence and bit by bit, little by little, learning is drip fed into each exercise and eventually skills begin to develop. These skills and confidence can go on to help children in many different ways; improvement can be seen in co-ordination and dexterity of both gross and fine motor skills, musicality and rhythmical awareness is improved, as is spacial and body awareness, and of course, imagination. Indeed, in designing the Tot Bop syllabus, we have ensured it is underpinned by the fundamentals of early years learning, outlined in the EYFS (Early Years Foundation Stages) guidelines. Learning often goes beyond the dance class too. For example, through a focus on ‘school readiness’ in the Funky Monkeys class, learning examples such as shapes, numbers, rights and lefts, cognitive awareness gained from storytime settings, all go towards preparing the children for what lies ahead in their reception year at school and beyond.
At Tot Bop, our classes are split into four developmental age groups; Tiny Tots (age 1-2.5), Baby Boppers (age 2.5-3.5), Funky Monkeys (age 3.5-5; pre-school and reception year) and Groovy Movers (age 5-9; school years 1-4). When creating the syllabus, as a modern and jazz dance specialist, I used my experience of teaching all ages to think of the end result and work backwards. If by a certain age we want children to be achieving certain landmarks, what do we need to introduce early on to get them there? The reason for mentioning this is to emphasise that every exercise, whether it is an action song in the Tiny Tots class or a technical travelling step in the Groovy Movers class, has been designed to teach the children something, in line with their developmental stage. Disguised in the ‘fun’ of the class, children soak up the learning every lesson, aiding their development at every stage.
Dance is an incredible thing, as it works both the body and the brain. All children need to be active in some way, that’s a given! Children need activity in their lives … and childhood obesity needs to be fought! But in my mind, it goes way beyond the benefits of physical activity. Dance is phenomenal for child development as every step of the way, little ones are using their brains to engage in the movement; whether it’s simply copying a movement, being creative and imaginative or transferring an instruction into a movement themselves. They are forced to think all the time. And if you couple this with a sheer enjoyment of what they are doing through the instinct of moving to music, you are onto a winner! This is why we believe every little one should dance!
At Tot Bop, we run both live classes (when not in lockdown!) in Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire and online classes that can be accessed 24/7 from wherever you happen to be with an internet connection! Both versions, suitable for ages 1-9 are a fantastic way of providing a fun, engaging and educational dance class that will enhance your child’s development through tapping into their instinctive love of dance!
For more information about Tot Bop Live classes: CLICK HERE
For more information about Tot Bop Online classes: CLICK HERE
Founder of Tot Bop Ltd