Each year, I have the privilege of directing a preschool musical at one of our local schools. I thought I would share a few tips about preparing preschoolers to sing or dance for their parents...
To help the children know where to stand during the presentation, I mark the floor with colorful painters tape. Painter's tape is easily removed but don't leave it up too long (I remove after three to four weeks) or it can become really stuck and leave a sticky residue. Masking tape is almost impossible to remove so use the painter's tape instead.
I place lines and "X's" on the floor so the children will know where to walk and where to stand during their dance. I have children as young as two years old that I teach to walk on the line and to find an "X". The children catch on quickly and I keep it fun by letting them march around the square and dance on an "X".
I keep all the "X's" the same color so the children do not worry about having to stand on a particular color. It helps remove some of the stress of not getting their favorite color and instead focus on dancing together!
The taped area is large enough for the entire group to stand on the line side-by-side without hitting or bumping into each other as they move their arms or turn around.
At this school, the children sit on a stage in their ready position and then follow the moves of the music director as she shows them how to move their arms, or in this case, their scarves in a rhythmical motion as they dance to a spider web ballet! The children are excellent at following the movements of the teacher.
The girls dance around the stage, following their lines, and then back up to front. Notice how we are learning to walk on our tiptoes!
There are several other tips I would recommend following for a successful experience...
1. Choose music the children can relate to or will enjoy listening and moving to.
2. Don't start practicing too soon before the show or the children will start to lose their enthusiasm and get bored - but do allow enough time for the children to feel confident about all the movements.
3. Don't force a child to participate but do encourage the child to participate every time you practice.
4. Keep the dances or songs you plan to sing fun and simple and teach the skills you would like the children to learn.
Skills we learn
The preschoolers practice motor skills such as marching, skipping, kicking, balancing on one foot, jumping, and more.
The preschoolers master such skills as listening, moving rhythmically, and working together to make and move in a group circle, march at the same time, and so forth.
My Number One priority is to make sure preschoolers are enjoying the experience:
It is extremely important to make sure the children are having fun and feeling confident. What I don't want in the end is to have robots on the stage doing all the same thing and wishing they didn't have to be there. What I do want is to highlight the skills and ability and natural expressions of the children as they dance together and have fun in the process!