Here are some simple tips for dance teachers to ensure that children who may be anxious can participate in dance classes.
Joining in may take time. A child might not be able to join in with the group right away. They may need to join the group in their own time. They might be able to join in for some of the activities and more and more over time as their confidence grows.
Let parents, siblings or a buddy help. They might be able to help get kids more involved and feel safe to join in. Partnering a child with a buddy in the class can help a child feel more secure. Buddies can help each other to learn the dance steps.
Encourage participation not perfection. Some kids might get upset if they feel like they haven’t done something perfectly. Matching kids of the same skill level may also help children feel more confident.
Have a “safe” backup activity that the child can do if things become too overwhelming. This could be helping the teacher to choose the music or by pressing ‘play’ on the sound system.
Let kids wear their own dance clothing. A child may be more comfortable wearing their own outfit rather than a dance uniform like a leotard and tights.
Remember, every child has the right to be involved in all aspects of life, especially dance. Including children with disabilities is not hard; it just requires understanding. You can make the world fit for all kids by including all kids in dance