My little one is quite the drama queen. And I’m not just talking with her over the top tantrums sometimes. She absolutely loves to act and perform. I noticed her flare for drama when she was 2. She would watch or listen to something over and over again to memorize each word, action or emotion. Not unlike most little ones who love repetition. Over the past 2 years, her love for acting only increased. So I decided to look for acting classes for the younger set.
Today, my 4 year old began theater camp. For 2 and a half hours, children 3-5 would be exploring musical theater, singing and acting. Needless to say, my daughter loved it!
When I told another mom about the camp, she laughed and said “Wow, anything to make some money off of our kids! It’s not like they will really get anything out of it!”. She believed that at that age, children were too young and should just be playing. Now I’m a big advocate of learning through play, but I definitely disagree with her regarding starting these types of group classes at a young age.
Will all the children who attend dance or karate or theater or whatever activity retain every single detail of what they learned at these young ages? No, not necessarily. However, there are larger, more important take-aways from these classes. My daughter began dance classes when she was 2 and a half. While she may not have done all the steps correctly or remembered the name of each dance move, she learned to attend something without mommy in the room for the first time. This helped her more easily adjust to going to preschool. During her 2nd year of dance, she retained more learnings and was more focused, but most importantly gained some amazing friendships that extended past the dance studio.
Of course there were things she tried that didn’t exactly end in a love affair. But even those activities weren’t a waste. She got to try things out and decide what she liked and what she didn’t.
So, no, I do not agree that our children don’t get much out of these activities at a young age. They actually learn so much more than the actual activities we sign them up for. During her theater camp, I’m sure my daughter will learn the difference between up stage and down stage. But I’m sure she will also learn how to be confident in speaking in front of people, how to make friends in an environment where she doesn’t know anyone and to follow instructions. So while some parents may think it’s a waste of money, I think it’s worth every hard-earned penny.