Early childhood summer programs are an excellent way to not only keep existing students but also to bring new students in. It gives them a chance to become familiar with your studio and what you have to offer, so that when it comes time to start in the fall, they are eager to do so. Everyone is more relaxed in the summer and the children are not tired from their usual activities and therefore often much more open to getting involved.

Early childhood summer programs are an excellent way to not only keep existing students but also to bring new students in. It gives them a chance to become familiar with your studio and what you have to offer, so that when it comes time to start in the fall, they are eager to do so. Everyone is more relaxed in the summer and the children are not tired from their usual activities and therefore often much more open to getting involved.

For ages 3 to 4 we offer a two hour program, five days a week. Each program only goes for one week so that parents have the option of signing up for one week or four. In our experience, we have found that very often if they do sign their child up for one week they will end up doing additional weeks because the children enjoy it. The parents are thrilled that they have that two hour period to themselves. The weekly activities include creative warm ups and exercises, use of nursery rhymes, fairy tale dances, arts and crafts, costume and set decoration, story creation, tea party with snacks and an end of week performance!

As always, with this age group, the key is to keep their interest by not spending too long on any one activity. Children of this age have a short attention span so they need constant change not only of pace but also of levels. By this I mean that they cannot sit for too long or for that matter stay on their feet too long before they start to become unfocussed. If you spend too much time on the story portion their attention will wander. We start them right away with a warm up. Getting them to skip or run on their toes using their arms as fairy wings or if you have boys, perhaps bluebird wings, raises their heart rate and also loosens them up if they are slightly shy. They are then ready to sit on the floor and do some stretches and basic ballet floor exercises. Some I would recommend are, pointing and flexing the feet, curling into a ball and then stretching the legs in front and soft and sharp hand movements. Stretches with the legs in 2nd position walking forward with the fingers on the floor and then going to the right and left feet or with their legs straight in front walking down to the toes with the fingers on the legs and tickling the feet are fun ways to get them limber.

Children of this age also like to sing nursery rhymes so it is a good idea to incorporate that into your session and perhaps your end of week performance. Using fairy tales is a wonderful way to make some of the Ballets familiar to them and they absolutely love doing a dance that demonstrates some of the movements suitable to the Ballet and their ages. Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Coppelia and of course the Nutcracker are always appealing. We keep in stock some costume items that can be used for these Ballets as they will do one of them in the presentation.

Arts and crafts are always fun and can also be helpful. Items such as hearts that are cut out of paper or fabric and decorated with colorful sparkles and magic markers are always a hit. If you can find inexpensive T-shirts that they can decorate those will also be fun for them to do and a great reminder of their summer program.We like to get the children involved with painting a small backdrop for their performance. Using whichever theme that they have been working on during the week they can become very creative with the help of their teacher, of course!! Just buy a roll of art paper and spread a section on a plastic drop cloth and away you go. Afterwards you can attach it to your studio wall for the performance.

The Tea Party is a highlight of the week and we usually do that on the Thursday. We set up little chairs and tables depending on how many dancers we have and cover the tables with pretty little tablecloths. Setting the tables with little tea cups and teapots and offering dainty sandwiches and cookies and juice instead of tea. Of course anytime you plan to have food it is always important to check for allergies and we typically use brands that are not made with peanuts as it seems that more and more children have allergies to peanuts in particular.Parents are invited to come in for the last half hour and take pictures and enjoy the tea time with their children. A great time is had by all.

On the last day it is all about getting ready for the show. Hanging the backdrop, rehearsing the dances they have learned, singing the nursery rhyme and finally when the parents arrive the dancers can show off all that they have learned. We usually prepare small, inexpensive goody bags for the children which are handed out to them after the show.Each week can be produced with a small budget and the most important thing is that you have provided the children with a fun experience while promoting your studio to their parents and almost ensuring that they will sign up for your Fall programs. In fact it is a good idea to have them sign up before they finish their summer program and then you have them locked in to their classes for the new session .