strathspey Archive: Teaching SCD to young children

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Teaching SCD to young children

Message 29748 · EvaDreyer · 27 Feb 2002 12:31:59 · Top

I have been asked to teach a Scottish Country Dance to a group of children
aged 3 to 6 years as part of their regular phys. ed. class in their
day-care-centre. As I have no experience in teaching SCD to children of any
age (let alone children this young), I would appreciate any advice or
suggestions.
I know that my son (aged 4) has no problems in picking up a basic skip change
of step; and you see young children doing slip step anyway, even my little
daughter (who is not yet 2) copies me whenever I happen to do slip step in
preparation of my SCD class. So I am not worried about steps at all.
Considering figures I know that children of this age are often not sure about
which is the right and which is the left hand/side. If they are aware of
sides at all it takes them a while to figure out which is which each time.
Thus it is probably unwise to do a dance involving lots of giving right or
left hands? Or is there an easy way of solving this problem? I know that the
kids love doing circles and I imagine that they would enjoy dancing figures
which include arches. What else would be suitable and fun to do? Any hints
would be much appreciated.
Eva Dreyer in Essen, Germany

Teaching SCD to young children

Message 29756 · Marian Stroh · 27 Feb 2002 17:03:13 · Top

I have taught SCD patterns (but not asked for the correct step) to 5 and 6
year olds, but not to younger children. Those who cannot do skip change can
walk or skip and do just fine, although the coordination required for
skipping is often considered appropriate for slightly older children. The
books "Let's All Dance" and Let's All Dance, Too" have several good, easy
dances for audience participation and for children. They are available
through the San Francisco branch. Good luck! The children will have a good
time just moving to the music.

Marian Stroh, Reno, NV

Teaching SCD to young children

Message 29768 · Dianna Shipman · 27 Feb 2002 22:37:25 · Top

I've found children don't like dances in which ANYONE has to stand around
much (the attention span isn't that long yet) and they'll cover the
distances faster than adults so anything that requires "phrasing" isn't for
them - The Flying Scotsman works well with children.
Dianna
Houston, TX, USA
----- Original Message -----
From: <EvaDreyer@aol.com>
To: <strathspey@strathspey.org>
Sent: Wednesday, February 27, 2002 5:31 AM
Subject: Teaching SCD to young children

| I have been asked to teach a Scottish Country Dance to a group of children
| aged 3 to 6 years as part of their regular phys. ed. class in their
| day-care-centre. As I have no experience in teaching SCD to children of
any
| age (let alone children this young), I would appreciate any advice or
| suggestions.
| I know that my son (aged 4) has no problems in picking up a basic skip
change
| of step; and you see young children doing slip step anyway, even my little
| daughter (who is not yet 2) copies me whenever I happen to do slip step in
| preparation of my SCD class. So I am not worried about steps at all.
| Considering figures I know that children of this age are often not sure
about
| which is the right and which is the left hand/side. If they are aware of
| sides at all it takes them a while to figure out which is which each time.
| Thus it is probably unwise to do a dance involving lots of giving right or
| left hands? Or is there an easy way of solving this problem? I know that
the
| kids love doing circles and I imagine that they would enjoy dancing
figures
| which include arches. What else would be suitable and fun to do? Any hints
| would be much appreciated.
| Eva Dreyer in Essen, Germany

Teaching SCD to young children

Message 29844 · EvaDreyer · 7 Mar 2002 08:45:10 · Top

I got lots of replies (privately and via Strathspey) to my recent request for
advice with regard to teaching SCD to young children. They were all
tremendously helpful and gave me lots of aspects to think about as well as a
number of dance instructions for dances which are suitable especially for
this age group. So, again to all of you: Thank you so much, I really
appreciate your support.
Eva Dreyer in Essen, Germany

Teaching SCD to young children

Message 29848 · Anselm Lingnau · 7 Mar 2002 15:54:41 · Top

Eva Dreyer <EvaDreyer@aol.com> writes:

> I got lots of replies (privately and via Strathspey) to my recent request for
> advice with regard to teaching SCD to young children. They were all
> tremendously helpful and gave me lots of aspects to think about as well as a
> number of dance instructions for dances which are suitable especially for
> this age group.

You wouldn't by any chance have the time to write up a brief summary of
these responses for publication on Strathspey? I imagine that many
people might be interested to look at it.

Anselm
--
Anselm Lingnau (Frankfurt, Germany) Strathspey SCD mailing list maintainer
Send mail to <strathspey-help@strathspey.org> for information about the list
Check out http://www.strathspey.org for lots of interesting stuff about SCD!

Teaching SCD to young children

Message 29857 · Patricia Ruggiero · 8 Mar 2002 03:41:53 · Top

(I'm back)

I would definitely appreciate such a summary if you could find time to
prepare one.

Thanks in advance.

Pat
Charlottesville, Virginia USA

Eva Dreyer wrote:

> I got lots of replies (privately and via Strathspey) to my recent request
for advice with regard to teaching SCD to young children.

To which Anselm responded:

>You wouldn't by any chance have the time to write up a brief summary of
these responses for publication on Strathspey? I imagine that many people
might be interested to look at it.

Teaching SCD to young children

Message 29865 · Marian Stroh · 9 Mar 2002 00:23:18 · Top

I, also, would appreciate a summary of what Eve received on teaching
children Scottish dancing. Although the children we are interested in
wouldn't be quite as young, I'm sure much of what she received would apply.

Thanks in advance, Marian Stroh, Reno, NV mstrohinreno@charter.net

Teaching SCD to young children

Message 29866 · Don MacQueen · 9 Mar 2002 03:40:23 · Top

Marian,
Here's a copy of what I sent to Eve.
-Don
-------------------------------------------------

My wife has been teaching a children's SCD class for about 10 years.
She generally considers ages 7 and up to be appropriate for SCD.
Professionally, she is a elementary school teacher, teaching 5 to 7
year old children (what we call Kindergarten, 1st grade, and 2nd
grade). We also are in our third year of a SCD class for families, in
which the adults and children are taught separately for about 1 hour,
and then dance together socially for about 1/2 hour. Here are some
comments from her (and a few from me).

In our family class, many children feel ready to join in with their
older siblings between ages of of 5 and 6. Because we have so many
"big kid" helpers we can help the young ones--however, it is a long
time before they can manage on their own.

My wife feels that SCD is too structured and advanced for 3 and 4
year olds, and many 5 year olds. Be prepared for the possibility that
your children are the exception, when it comes to steps. As children
of a dancer, they likely have had much more exposure to dancing than
many of the other children. Many children between 3 and 6 do not yet
know how to skip. Children who can already skip, and are 5 or 6, can
usually learn to do skip change of step. Not all 3 and 4 year olds
can do slip step. [But don't worry about it! Getting the steps
"right" does not have the same importance it does with adults.]

Children are quick--but learning to move their bodies (precisely) in
time to the music, and to use patterns to interact with others--and
remembering those patterns--is very challenging. My own feeling is
that you should not expect accurate phrasing--keeping track of
bars--because older children often don't.

Yes, it's probably unwise to try a dance that depends on successfully
and consistently choosing between left and right hands. The solution
is to not try!

You will have to go slowly, lots of repetition. Unlike adults, young
children are not at all dismayed when it takes 6 weeks to learn a
dance.

A dance could be, for example, slip down the middle and back, cast
off to 4th place, turn right hands (or left, or both), and clap 8
bars until the next couple starts.

Children have to be taught SCD manners (by which I think she means
the manners we look for in SCD, forming sets, paying attention,
thanking each other, staying in the set when they're not actively
doing part of the dance..)

Don't expect reliable spatial orientation. For example, circling is
easy, but finishing the circle in straight lines on the set lines
might be very difficult. Finishing approximately on the set line, in
a rather ragged formation, might be about what to expect.

If they were slightly older, say 7 and up, we would recommend boys
dance with boys, girls with girls.

Teaching a singing game such as "Have you ever seen a Lassie, a
Laddie.." would be a good place to start.

I hope this all doesn't seem discouraging; it's not meant to be. Keep
it simple, don't expect _anything_ to be polished, and it should be
lots of fun.

We hope this is helpful, and please feel free to respond with further
questions or thoughts.

-Don

At 3:29 PM -0800 3/8/02, Marian Stroh wrote:
>I, also, would appreciate a summary of what Eve received on teaching
>children Scottish dancing. Although the children we are interested in
>wouldn't be quite as young, I'm sure much of what she received would apply.
>
>Thanks in advance, Marian Stroh, Reno, NV mstrohinreno@charter.net

--
Don MacQueen
dmacq@mac.com

Teaching SCD to young children

Message 29870 · Miriam L. Mueller · 9 Mar 2002 16:51:53 · Top

For what it's worth from a non-teacher -

I remember going to "Dalcroze"[?] when I was about 5: we walked, ran,
galloped, etc. to different rhythms and at different speeds. In the
1940s, a version of this was used in the NYC public schools in the lower
grades ("Everyone gallop like a horse to the music. . . walk like an
elephant . . . Now, what kind of animal does the music make you think of,
and how would you go if you were that animal.") I remember it as being
fun, and one of the better-liked activities in school, and was probably
aimed at improving coordination and rhythmic awareness. At one point the
SF public schools used exercises and walking low beams for similar
coordination aims.
(Yes, my mother was a dancer, but not Scottish.)
Miriam Mueller - SF

Teaching SCD to young children

Message 29871 · Pia Walker · 9 Mar 2002 17:46:32 · Top

I would like to add, that it has to be made fun - we want them to keep
dancing and dancing and dancing.

One of the things which has struck me when dealing with a childrens' class
is that they do like to move - when do you see an adult class running round
prior to class playing catch me? I haven't found that bit in the manual
yet.

You can make up little games for warming up. (you can do that with adults
as well) - To learn positions and co-ordination and reaction skills, I have
used the first, second, third and fourth position but jumbled up, i.e.
jumped from first to fourth to third to second to third etc etc etc and have
the kids do this at the same time - without telling them what is next - it
is great fun, noisy, and they keep their eyes peeled on you constantly - to
see what you are doing next. In fact the difference between child and adult
dancer is that kids will look at their teacher constantly, rather than at
each other.

Just my little bit in addition.

Pia
----- Original Message -----
From: Don MacQueen <dmacq@mac.com>
To: Marian Stroh <mstrohinreno@charter.net>; <strathspey@strathspey.org>
Sent: Saturday, March 09, 2002 2:40 AM
Subject: Re: Teaching SCD to young children

> Marian,
> Here's a copy of what I sent to Eve.
> -Don
> -------------------------------------------------
>
> My wife has been teaching a children's SCD class for about 10 years.
> She generally considers ages 7 and up to be appropriate for SCD.
> Professionally, she is a elementary school teacher, teaching 5 to 7
> year old children (what we call Kindergarten, 1st grade, and 2nd
> grade). We also are in our third year of a SCD class for families, in
> which the adults and children are taught separately for about 1 hour,
> and then dance together socially for about 1/2 hour. Here are some
> comments from her (and a few from me).
>
> In our family class, many children feel ready to join in with their
> older siblings between ages of of 5 and 6. Because we have so many
> "big kid" helpers we can help the young ones--however, it is a long
> time before they can manage on their own.
>
> My wife feels that SCD is too structured and advanced for 3 and 4
> year olds, and many 5 year olds. Be prepared for the possibility that
> your children are the exception, when it comes to steps. As children
> of a dancer, they likely have had much more exposure to dancing than
> many of the other children. Many children between 3 and 6 do not yet
> know how to skip. Children who can already skip, and are 5 or 6, can
> usually learn to do skip change of step. Not all 3 and 4 year olds
> can do slip step. [But don't worry about it! Getting the steps
> "right" does not have the same importance it does with adults.]
>
> Children are quick--but learning to move their bodies (precisely) in
> time to the music, and to use patterns to interact with others--and
> remembering those patterns--is very challenging. My own feeling is
> that you should not expect accurate phrasing--keeping track of
> bars--because older children often don't.
>
> Yes, it's probably unwise to try a dance that depends on successfully
> and consistently choosing between left and right hands. The solution
> is to not try!
>
> You will have to go slowly, lots of repetition. Unlike adults, young
> children are not at all dismayed when it takes 6 weeks to learn a
> dance.
>
> A dance could be, for example, slip down the middle and back, cast
> off to 4th place, turn right hands (or left, or both), and clap 8
> bars until the next couple starts.
>
> Children have to be taught SCD manners (by which I think she means
> the manners we look for in SCD, forming sets, paying attention,
> thanking each other, staying in the set when they're not actively
> doing part of the dance..)
>
> Don't expect reliable spatial orientation. For example, circling is
> easy, but finishing the circle in straight lines on the set lines
> might be very difficult. Finishing approximately on the set line, in
> a rather ragged formation, might be about what to expect.
>
> If they were slightly older, say 7 and up, we would recommend boys
> dance with boys, girls with girls.
>
> Teaching a singing game such as "Have you ever seen a Lassie, a
> Laddie.." would be a good place to start.
>
> I hope this all doesn't seem discouraging; it's not meant to be. Keep
> it simple, don't expect _anything_ to be polished, and it should be
> lots of fun.
>
> We hope this is helpful, and please feel free to respond with further
> questions or thoughts.
>
> -Don
>
>
>
> At 3:29 PM -0800 3/8/02, Marian Stroh wrote:
> >I, also, would appreciate a summary of what Eve received on teaching
> >children Scottish dancing. Although the children we are interested in
> >wouldn't be quite as young, I'm sure much of what she received would
apply.
> >
> >Thanks in advance, Marian Stroh, Reno, NV mstrohinreno@charter.net
>
>
> --
> Don MacQueen
> dmacq@mac.com

Teaching SCD to young children

Message 29872 · SallenNic · 10 Mar 2002 01:14:34 · Top

In a message dated 9/3/02 3:52:17 pm, mimimueller@juno.com writes:

>I remember going to "Dalcroze"[?] when I was about 5
That would be "Dalcroze Eurythmics", as opposed to "Eurythmy" which is taught
in the Rudolf Steiner (Waldorf) Schools.

Nicolas B., Lanark, Scotland.

Teaching SCD to young children

Message 29884 · Ian Brockbank · 11 Mar 2002 15:30:24 · Top

Hi Marian, and everyone,

> I, also, would appreciate a summary of what Eve received on teaching
> children Scottish dancing. Although the children we are interested in
> wouldn't be quite as young, I'm sure much of what she
> received would apply.

I thought I had some notes at http://www.scottishdance.net/scd/tips/ ,
but I find that although I have notes on being beginner-friendly, and
hints and tips on teaching, these are both directed at adults. Would
people mind me adding their comments in a new page about teaching
children? (If someone prepares a summary, I would be delighted to
add it to these pages if you are willing).

Cheers,

Ian
--
IndigoVision Ltd http://www.indigovision.com/
The Edinburgh Technopole, Bush Loan, Edinburgh, EH26 0PJ
Tel: [+44] (0)131 475 7234 Fax: [+44] (0)131 475 7201
Personal: ian@scottishdance.net http://www.scottishdance.net
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