Dance Classes For Toddlers

Mommy/Daddy and Me classes for 2.5-4 year olds:

Parents join their children for fun with movement and music.

Of course grandparents, and nannies are always welcome and encouraged to take a class with their toddler too.

We've been conducting  toddler dance classes in greater Seattle for 34 years. Let us help your child foster connections, emotional security, social and physical growth.

Dancers should wear any clothing that they can easily move in.

Bare feet or socks with grip.

Mommy/Daddy and Me Dance Classes are aimed at developing social, emotional, intellectual and movement skills in children ages 2.5- 4 years old, these interactive dance sessions provide a safe, engaging, and enriching environment for children and their caregiver.   

Through carefully crafted dance exercises and playful activities, our classes provide the perfect platform for toddlers and preschoolers to interact with their peers, forge friendships, and develop critical social skills. Our classes are designed to help  young children learn valuable social and physical skills. 

Mommy, Daddy and Me Profound Impact On Toddler Development

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1. Enhancement of Communication Skills

Toddlers are at a crucial stage of language development. In a dance class setting, they are exposed to new words, phrases, and types of communication. Through songs and instructions, toddlers learn to understand and follow verbal cues. This exposure helps in enhancing both their receptive (understanding) and expressive (speaking) language skills. The repetitive nature of songs and rhythms in dance classes aids in language acquisition and memory development.

2. Promotion of Group Participation and Teamwork

Dance classes inherently require participation in a group setting. Toddlers learn to move in synchrony with others, wait for their turn, and participate in group activities. This teaches them the basics of teamwork and cooperation. Learning to dance together encourages a sense of unity and belonging, which is fundamental for social integration.

3. Development of Empathy and Emotional Understanding

Music and dance can be powerful tools for expressing emotion. Toddlers, who are still developing their emotional vocabulary, learn to recognize and respond to emotional cues in music and in their classmates. By observing and mimicking facial expressions and movements, they develop empathy and a better understanding of emotions.

4. Encouragement of Social Interaction and Making Friends

"Mommy and Me" classes provide a social setting different from family or daycare. Toddlers get the chance to meet and interact with new peers and adults, fostering social skills. These interactions play a crucial role in developing their ability to make and maintain friendships. The shared experience of dancing and playing together can form the basis of early friendships.

5. Boosting Confidence and Self-Esteem

Participating in dance and being able to master new moves can significantly boost a toddler's confidence. As they learn to move their bodies in new ways and receive positive reinforcement from instructors and parents, their self-esteem grows. This newfound confidence can carry over into other social settings, making them more outgoing and willing to engage with others.

6. Fostering Independence and Decision-Making

While "Mommy and Me" classes involve parent participation, they also offer opportunities for toddlers to make choices and assert their independence. Choosing between different dance moves or props empowers them to make decisions. This aspect of the class helps in developing their sense of autonomy, which is essential for healthy social development.

7. Enhancing Listening and Attention Skills

Dance classes require toddlers to listen carefully to instructions and music, helping to develop their attention span and listening skills. These skills are crucial not only in academic settings but also in daily social interactions. Being a good listener is a key component of effective communication.

8. Cultural Awareness and Diversity Appreciation

Music and dance are reflections of culture. Exposure to different types of music and dance styles in class can foster an appreciation for diversity from a young age. This exposure helps toddlers learn about and respect different cultures, an important aspect of socialization in our increasingly globalized world.

9. Development of Physical Coordination and Awareness

While this is more of a physical benefit, the development of coordination and bodily awareness has social implications. Toddlers who are more physically coordinated may feel more comfortable in their bodies, making them more likely to engage in social play and activities.

10. Role Modeling and Imitation Learning

In these classes, toddlers observe and imitate not only the instructor but also their peers and accompanying adults. This imitation is a powerful learning tool, helping them understand and integrate social norms, behaviors, and etiquette.

11. Normalization of Group Settings and Structures

Regular attendance of dance classes helps toddlers get accustomed to structured group settings. This can ease the transition into preschool and kindergarten, as they have already experienced a setting with group dynamics, listening to an instructor, and following a routine.

12. Stress Relief and Emotional Regulation

Dance is a form of physical activity that can also serve as an emotional outlet. Engaging in dance helps toddlers work through emotions and stress in a healthy way. This ability to regulate emotions is crucial for social interactions and building relationships.

13. Encouraging Creativity and Expression

Dance classes provide a safe space for creative expression. Toddlers learn to use their bodies to express ideas and feelings, which can foster creativity in other areas of their lives. Creative expression is an important aspect of personal and social identity.

14. Building a Sense of Community and Belonging

Participating in a shared activity like dance creates a sense of community among the toddlers and their parents. This feeling of belonging to a group is fundamental to human social life and contributes to a child's overall social well-being.

15. Positive Parent-Child Interaction

The involvement of parents or caregivers in these classes strengthens the parent-child bond. This positive interaction sets a foundation for the child's future social relationships. It demonstrates healthy social interaction and provides a model for positive relationships.

16. Exposure to Constructive Feedback

In a dance class, toddlers receive feedback on their performance. Learning to accept and learn from feedback is an important social skill. It teaches them resilience and the ability to adapt based on input from others.

Conclusion

"Mommy and Me" dance classes offer more than just an opportunity for physical activity; they are a rich environment for social learning and development. Through these classes, toddlers gain crucial social skills, ranging from communication and teamwork to empathy and cultural appreciation. The benefits of these classes lay a strong foundation for their future social interactions and relationships, making them an invaluable experience in early childhood development.

Class Schedules and Studio Locations

Winter Session

Mommy & Me Session #2: January 2, 2024- March 24, 2024

  • Greenwood

  • Shoreline

  • Wedgwood

  • Magnolia

Meet Your Toddler Dance Teachers

Dakota Crist is an assistant Director at The American Dance Institute and teaches ballet and more.teaches

Dakota Crist

Assistant Director & office manager

BALLET, MOMMY & ME & CREATIVE DANCE

Dakota Crist had her earlier, training in Ballet, Jazz, Contemporary, and Modern Dance at Diane’s Dance Works in Helena, Montana, then went on to study at Creative Arts Center in Helena, Ballet Montana Academy and Sacramento Ballet. Dakota relocated to Seattle in 2013 and holds a BFA in Dance from Cornish College of the Arts.

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As a young dancer, she attended Joffrey South, American Academy of Ballet, and Ballet West's summer intensives. Her love of dance drove her train pre-professionally with Ballet Montana and as a company trainee with Sacramento Ballet.  

After graduating from Cornish, Dakota shifted her focus to dance education. She has been teaching dance since 2009 and has taught for ADI since 2018. 

Ainsleigh Orwin Instructor The American Dance Institute

Ainsleigh Orwin

Office Manager,

Ballet, hip-hop, mommy & me & creative Dance

Ainsleigh Orwin began dancing at the age of 5 at Village Dance Arts in Claremont, CA where she was trained in RAD curriculum ballet, as well as modern, jazz, hip-hop, and tap. In 2017, Ainsleigh moved to Seattle to continue her education at the University of Washington. She currently holds a B.A. in Dance and B.S. in Biology (Physiology) from UW.

Ainsleigh has been teaching since she was 17, starting at her home studio and branching out to teach summer camps and outreach classes in elementary schools. Her passion for teaching and dance led her to American Dance Institute after graduating from UW in 2021.


Sharon Foweler 

Mommy & Me, Creative Dance, and Pre-Ballet

Sharon started dancing when she was five years old at a studio in her hometown of Omaha, NE, where she studied ballet, jazz, and tap. During college at the University of Kansas, she also began studying modern dance and performed with the University Dance Company and other local dance groups. 

She earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism with a minor in dance, and after graduation, she worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. She eventually attended law school and then moved in 1993 to Seattle, where she practiced law for more than 20 years. 


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Throughout her adult life, Sharon continued taking classes in modern, jazz, ballet, and - every now and then, just for fun - tap, Irish, African, shuffle, hip-hop, swing, salsa, or whatever other dance style might be available. 

Sharon recently retired from her law practice and decided to participate in the American Dance Institute’s dance teacher training program. Sharon has started teaching Mommy & Me, Creative Dance, and Pre-Ballet classes for us and is thrilled to share her love of dance and movement with young children. Sharon is married and has two adult children. She and her husband, Jim, love to travel, hike, and cross-country ski.

Testimonial

Ebba Lucander

"

"Enroll your children in the American Dance Institute and relax. "


"It was here, at the American Dance Institute, that we, as parents, realized that we could relax and enjoy watching the growth of my daughter's dance skills. She was never made to feel that she wasn't good enough. She was always excited to come, every time. I think it is partially due to the culture here which is welcoming, comfortable and has an inviting atmosphere for children of all ages, genders, for adults and parents, everybody. It is like a neighborhood community school."


Ebba Lucander-  Entrepreneur, Activist, ADI Parent for 5 years

What Parents Think About The American Dance Institute?

Where Do Children Learn Confidence, Self Expression, Discipline & Passion?

Frequently Asked Questions

What can I expect in a Mommy and Me class?

Parents often wonder what to expect from these classes. Generally, they are weekly gatherings where moms with babies of similar ages come together. These classes aim to reduce isolation and increase social interaction among new moms and their babies.

Are these classes just for moms and their children?

While traditionally termed "Mommy and Me," these classes are inclusive and often welcome all caregivers, including fathers, grandparents, or other family members. The focus is on the child's interaction with a loving and familiar adult.

What are the benefits of Mommy and me classes?

These classes offer numerous benefits, including enhancing social awareness, providing sensory stimulation, increasing confidence, fostering language development, and encouraging a healthy lifestyle. They also offer benefits for parents, such as forming friendships and creating a support system.

At what age can my child start attending classes?

In my experience children under 2 1/2 are not ready to appreciate the classroom experience, nor do they understand the subtle signals of classroom structure.

 

How do Mommy and Me classes help with a child’s development?

Participating in these classes helps in various aspects of a child’s development, such as increasing mobility and independence, improving muscle strength and motor development, and strengthening the parent-child bond.

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