I love teaching the performing arts to children. I have been a dance teacher full time for the last 15 years after graduating from college with a Dance Education degree. Even though Dance is my chosen vehicle, that's not REALLY what I teach.
I teach kids how to be confident in themselves and their decisions.
I teach kids how to have a strong work ethic.
I teach kids how to work both as a team and an individual.
I teach kids how to be kind to one another.
I teach kids how to love themselves and their accomplishments.
I teach kids that they can be anything they set their mind to.
I teach kids how to set and reach goals.
I teach kids to love themselves.
I teach kids how to focus.
I teach kids how to learn.
That is REALLY what I teach. My students may think they are learning how to be a dancer, but that's not what I'm really teaching them. I'm teaching them lifelong skills that will last a long time, way after the dance lessons may end.
One day, I had a sit down with several students to ask them how we can make studio life better and more long lasting. They asked for 2 things:
- A Homework Club- so they could gather, do homework together and get support.
- A Book Club- so they could explore learning, discovery, and focus through reading as a group.
So, we started both programs. Even though a book club may not be a traditional route for a dance and music studio to help educate kids, it makes perfect sense when I look at what we are REALLY teaching our students. I truly believe that reading is one key factor in building self confidence in kids. Kids who develop a passion for reading know that they can learn anything just by picking up a book. They typically excel in school. Many develop creative reasoning skills early in life. So when I look at my objectives of what I want my studio to REALLY be teaching, starting a book club became an exciting, and very much needed, addition to our programming.
I didn't want this to be any old book club. I wanted this to be a book club that also gives back. As I also believe that service to others is a huge part of building self worth. So, we partnered with a local book store, The Red Balloon Bookshop. If you haven't been there, it is a must see. It's nestled in the heart of St. Paul, MN among other local eclectic and quant shops in historic old houses on Grand Ave. They have very graciously offered to donate 20% of all sales of the books to our scholarship fund for dancers and musicians in need of tuition assistance. I'm so excited for this to be a win for our students to gain knowledge and confidence, and for us to be able to extend our outreach.
Although this is our first year with the book club. I really hope our students love it and it can continue to be an important part of what we REALLY teach.