PERFECT PRE-SCHOOL – ENGAGING EXERCISES

disco duck training (6) - CopyA Child’s attention span can be very short! In order to keep their interest, preparatory exercises need to be upbeat, lively and  last approximately up to 2 minutes.

When planning exercises for this age group, list the learning outcomes that are achievable and then think how to make them as engaging and fun as possible. So what are these important learning outcomes that will send our very little tiny stars onto a lifelong love of dance?

Rhythm and timing; co-ordination;developing locomotive and non-locomotive actions;basic dance technique; watching; listening to name a few….

Repetition is essential to develop this understanding; the learning outcome needs to stay the same but the delivery needs to be varied to reinforce the development of the exercises.

Music needs to be well phrased and with a steady accented beat that makes it easy to follow, plus have a funky uplifting feel.

Coming soon – dance and performance perfection.

The Disco Duck syllabus provides the teacher with a sound basis to develop the very beginnings of dance – take a look www.disco-duck.co.uk

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PERFECT PRE-SCHOOL – FUN AND FUNKY FOUNDATIONS

disco duck training (6) - CopyMy investigations into discovering the perfect pre-school session ,  was ultimately; any music that intimated actions was a hit – look at songs like “The Birdie Song” (way too fast for little ones by the way) “The Hokey Cokey” and even more recently “Gangnam style”.  However, there aren`t enough of theses tunes to create an effective  class, neither do they produce any form of dance technique or foundation.

So, what are the ultimate foundations for dance and how do we incorporate these into a lively session for both boys and girls?

The most important foundation to be taught is timing – To be able to move in time to the music is the ultimate first step! Young children of this age group are naturally rhythmical and seem able to use their bodies freely to express themselves, (this is also an expectation of the EYFS).

Choosing music that is well phrased and well timed is key here. Finding funky rhythms that have good accented beats is important and then creating a preparatory exercise to develop timing, starting with clapping and then moving onto developing simple steps and movements that they can dance in time to the music, will indeed be the start to creating fun and funky foundations.

Coming soon, chapter 3 – engaging exercises

Take a look at our website to find out more about our fantastic Pre-School teaching licence or classes www. disco-duck.co.uk

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PERFECT PRE-SCHOOL – IN THE BEGINNING…..

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I remember my very first Pre-School dance class (15 years ago) – “Well, this is going to be easy”, I thought, “piece of cake compared to the other classes that I instruct”

Really? I am sure that the children could sense my panic and my realisation that a 3 minute song in Toddler land is like 3 hours!! All of a sudden, there was chaos!  Children were running, parents were talking and I was helplessly waving a ribbon around calling hysterically for the children to copy me. In the end, I was the only one pretending to be the “sunshine”.  To this day, I am convinced that all 15 of those 2 year olds were all laughing at me!

No matter how much I planned, how many songs I sourced (it was a real challenge before the internet), I was never happy with my structure and if I am perfectly honest, it wasn’t a dance class, it was a test to see how many nursery rhymes and props I could use to get to the end of the session alive!

These things aside, I loved the children; this age group are so wonderfully refreshing; like enthusiastic sponges so willing to learn without inhibition, so, my task was to set about creating the perfect pre-school dance session that both boys and girls could enjoy.

So, in the beginning, there was music…….Whilst on holiday, I watched a baby happily bouncing (yes, in time!) to a band, playing a funky euro pop tune.  The baby’s response and the way it used its body to express the music was fascinating; children hear music and they automatically want to move and express themselves to it.

Music is an important part of our lives, it evokes memories and more importantly, can be uplifting creating a happy atmosphere, add some movement and you are on the first step to creating a happy healthy lifestyle.

Chapter 2 coming soon –Fun and funky foundations……

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The Changing Faces of Valentine’s Day

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Although Valentine’s Day is always about showing people that you love them, the feelings associated with it seem to change over the years. When I was little, I used to love making cards for my family – the colours red and pink seemed to feature a lot, as did hearts and flowers. As I moved towards my teenage years, it became a day that I looked forward to and yet dreaded in equal measure. Would I get a card from a mystery boy, did I have a date for the evening, would I be the only one of my friends to have been forgotten? Then, once I met my husband it became a day to look forward to and celebrate, but as life gets busier with children (unless we make a real effort!), the day seems to evolve again and now it encompasses not just us, but it becomes a family celebration. This current version is my favourite of all!

Valentine’s Day is now celebrated with heart shaped cookies that are iced and covered in sprinkles, multiple cards being exchanged (I hope the newsagent understood why I bought multiple cards all swearing devotion and undying love!) and other heart shaped craft activities. I’d like to share a couple of really simple ones with you today.

Folded Heart Painting

  • Fold a piece of paper in half on the long side (minimum A4, larger if you have it)
  • Cut out half a heart shape, so that when you unfold it you have a heart.
  • Get your little one to paint on one side only, and then fold the other side over the top and press down.
  • When you open it you have a beautiful symmetrical painting.

Marble Heart Painting

  • Draw a picture of a heart on an A4 piece of paper
  • Place it in a high sided tray or box
  • Dip some marbles in paint and put them on your paper. Move the tray so the marbles go from side to side leaving a trail of paint.
  • When your little one has finished their masterpiece, leave it to dry and then cut out your heart shape that you drew earlier.

I hope you have fun! Come and post some pictures of your masterpieces on our Facebook Page  or tweet us

Find out more about Disco Duck on our website

 

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The Disco Duck Story Part 10

Continued…

Disco Duck was really scared now. He could hear the footsteps getting closer and his wing was still in the cupboard, reaching for those biscuits! He slowly dared to turn his head towards the kitchen door, hoping that he wouldn’t see human eyes staring back at him.

He could still hear those sneaky footsteps, and as he slowly, slowly pulled the Custard Creams out of the cupboard, the wrapper rustled. “SSShhhh” he thought. He’d got them! BUT…

…as Disco Duck turned around to make his way back outside to the pond…”OUCH!” He had bumped right into something…or someone! As he stumbled back up off of the floor, he found himself looking at his friend from the pond, Gordon Goose.

“Disco Duck, what ever are you doing in here?” asked Gordon, looking very surprised indeed. He was very confused to see Disco Duck.

“Gordon”, whispered Disco Duck, “you can’t tell anyone, but I was sooo so hungry, and I came in to get some biscuits”. Disco Duck smiled his cheeky, beaky smile.

“Oh, me too!” said Gordon. They both laughed at how very cheeky and sneaky they were.

“Don’t worry Gordon” said Disco Duck, we can share the Custard Creams with all of our friends at the pond. Sharing is so very important and it’s great to share with our friends.

“I agree!” shouted Gordon, so excited and happy to have such a nice friend. Gordon shouted a bit TOO loud though. Disco Duck and Gordon Goose heard Farmer Fred waking up upstairs, and slowly making his way down to the kitchen! OH NO!!

Very quickly, they made their way out of the door running as fast as they could, across the farmyard, back past the smelly pigs…

back past the sheep…

back past the cows…

And eventually arrived back safely at the pond at last.

SPLASH into the pond Disco Duck went! He shared the biscuits out to the rest of his friends and they were all so hungry that morning that they were very, very grateful.

Farmer Fred watched out of the farmhouse window. He laughed, shaking his head. He knew what Disco Duck was up to all along, but he didn’t really mind, because Disco Duck was so kind to share the biscuits with his friends! And off Farmer Fred went to start another day on the farm.

Disco Duck and Gordon Goose on their mission!

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The Disco Duck Story Part 9

It was a rainy day on the farm, as it was Autumn time in the Land of Disco Duck. The air was feeling chilly, the animals were feeling cold, and the pond water was absolutely freeeeezing!

Disco Duck awoke one morning feeling extremely hungry and extremely cold, and decided that he needed to find a way to warm up. Being the Disco Duck that he is, he knew that a bit of a dance and jumping around would help. So he stretched his wings to touch the sky, clapped them together, and turned around to touch the ground! He wiggled his hips back and forth, and shook his webbed feet one at a time to make sure his whooooole body was warm. Now he needed to find some food. It was very early in the morning, so Farmer Fred was still in bed, probably snoring really loudly as always.

Disco Duck had a very cheeky idea. He was going to sneak over to the farmhouse, into the kitchen, and into Mrs Fred’s special biscuit cupboard! He had to be very quiet, and should probably wear some kind of camouflage! Disco Duck knew that the kitchen was brown and wooden, so he put on his big brown coat and a brown hat. He looked at his reflection in the pond, and thought he would make a rather good secret agent!

So off he went, tiptoeing to the farmhouse, past the cows…

past the sheep…

past the smelly pigs…

And slowly, very slowly, he opened the back door, which led into the farmhouse kitchen.

CREEEEAAAK! went the door, very loudly. Disco Duck jumped backwards, shocked. Oh no! he thought. He closed his eyes and hoped that Farmer and Mrs Fred hadn’t woken up. He waited a few seconds and decided the coast was clear. He continued to sneak into the kitchen, past the big sleeping farm dog, who was dribbling everywhere – disgusting!

Finally, he got to the cupboard. The special biscuit cupboard.

Disco Duck’s stomach was rumbling so loud he thought it might wake the dog! So he reached out slowly, grabbed the door handle and opened the cupboard door. Just then, Disco Duck heard a huge BANG! and he jumped so much he thought his feathers might come off!

Who was that? What was that sound? Oh it was so dark in the kitchen, Disco Duck couldn’t see anything. If he could just reach into the cupboard and get those Custard Creams…

He heard footsteps. Were they human footsteps? He couldn’t tell…who could it possibly be?

To be continued…


Find out if Disco Duck managed to get the biscuits and escape in the next installment of the Disco Duck Story!

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The Disco Duck Story Part 8

After the party in the barn that morning, Disco Duck was very tired and by lunchtime, decided it would be a good idea to have a little swim and a little nap. So he did a very BIG jump into the pond and splashed all of his Ducky friends!

After lots of swimming to cool down, and a bit of lunch for some more energy, Disco Duck fell into a deep sleep. While he was asleep he had a very exciting dream. He dreamed that he took a very long ride to the seaside. To get there, he had to get on two trains, one car, and one very very big bus. It was called a double decker. It was very shiny and very red, just like the ones he saw in London!

Disco Duck started singing a song  and doing dance! It went something like this: “Choochoochoo we’re riding on our train, choochoochoo we’re riding on our train” and “Beepbeepbeep we’re driving in our car, beepbeepbeep we’re driving in our car”! Disco Duck sang this all the way to the seaside, and even got a few people to join in the song with him!

When Disco Duck arrived at the seaside, he couldn’t believe his eyes. The sparkly sea was so beautiful, and the golden sand was so soft beneath his webbed feet! The sun was shining so brightly that he had to wear his groovy sunglasses. There were kind people selling ice creams and a big room full of electric machines that you could play games on! It was like heaven on Earth!

Suddenly, one of the machines started bleeping very loudly and Disco Duck woke from his sleep with a start!

“OH!” he said, jumping out of his yellow feathers.

There was a tractor reversing and making a very loud beep, which startled Disco Duck!

“What a wonderful dream!”, he said as he stretched his arms and shook his little legs to wake himself up.

It gave him a wonderful idea. He would go and teach the boys and girls the cars and trains song he sang in his dream! He really hoped they would join in with him and sing along and do the dance!

So off he went to find them, singing along to himself about cars, and trains, and remembering that he needs to get some petrol!

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