© Beverley Paine
As a kid I watched every Shirley Temple movie at least once! I loved musicals and longed to dance like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, especially the tap dancing. Why this passion didn't translate into dance lessons is a mystery. Perhaps my parents didn't take me seriously, or perhaps I danced in head and kept my love for its energy and exuberance a secret.
Laurel Schmidt, the author of Seven Times Smarter, 50 Activities, Games, and Projects to Develop the Seven Intelligences of Your Child believes the attraction of children to tap dancing is the noise: "Tapping is supremely kinaesthetic. Intense sensations arrive through the joints and muscles, amplified with a range of sharp, scratchy sounds." (page 43)
She suggests a simple way to encourage children to have a go at tap dancing - "happy feet" - is to hand them a pair of old boots or shoes, a few coins, a tube of heavy duty glue and let them work out how to arrange the coins to get the get the best sound. All they need then is a nice hard surface to tap against; the garage floor, playground, old wooden or lino floor that has seen it's best days.
Let them work out their own rhythms or find some suitable music. If the noise is all a bit too much for you, rather than discourage the children, find something to do a long way from those tapping feet! Dancing is probably the easiest and most enjoyable way to stay fit. According to Laurel , the physical gains include "strength, endurance, flexibility, balance, dexterity, coordination, expressiveness, and good reflexes." For children with a tendency to gain weight, dancing is a great way to burn excess calories.
Australia 's Tap Dogs popularised tap dancing, especially for guys, about a decade ago. Riverdance glamorised another form of tap. Both are extremely energetic and a lot of fun.
Theater Review: Tapdogs
Riverdance - The Tenth Anniversary
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Together with the support of my family, my aim is to help parents educate their children in stress-free, nurturing environments. In addition to building and maintaing this website, I continue to create and manage local and national home educating networks, help to organise conferences and camps, as well as write for, edit and produce newsletters, resource directories and magazines. I am an active support of national, state, regional and local home education groups.
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We began educating our three children in 1985, when our eldest was aged five years. In truth, we had helped them learn what they need to learn as they grew and explored and discovered this amazing world since the moment they were born. I am a passionate advocate of allowing children to learn unhindered by unnecessary stress and competition, meeting developmental needs in ways that suit their individual learning styles and preferences. Ours was a homeschooling, unschooling and natural learning family! There are hundreds of articles on this site to help you build confidence as a home educating family. I hope that your home educating adventure is as satisfying as ours was!
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