In the past I’ve had a lot of requests to teach children – currently ranging from 8 upwards. So far they’ve all wanted to learn pole specifically. Sometimes the parents want to learn with them, other times it’s just the child wanting to participate.
My main hesitation was that I had no idea how to teach children. My experience goes as far as being the fun cousin aka the person who gives piggy back rides for a full day. I know how to interact with my family, and I’d feel happy teaching them, but when it comes to other people’s children… I just wasn’t sure.
I decided to book onto XPert’s new Children’s Pole and Aerial Fitness training. I was surprised to learn how much of a difference there was between teaching children and teaching adults.
Before I go any further, the point of this article is not to discuss whether children should or shouldn’t do pole / aerial fitness – it’s just pointing out what I’ve learnt so far.
I’ve already got a few children interested in coming along to 1:1 classes and have now already taught some children, woo hoo!
So my first thought when they came in was (oddly) that I didn’t know if they would be tall enough to turn on the light switch in the bathroom! Luckily it wasn’t an issue, but it’s never something I’ve had to think about before.
One of the main things that I would say is different to teaching adults, is spotting. The course went over different spotting techniques as well as where and how you can spot. When spotting an adult I wouldn’t think twice about spotting by the hips, shoulders or just grabbing them when they need it. I always ask every student when they start to pole with me if they are happy for me to spot them – no one has said no yet!
I haven’t had an under 18 year old come along for long enough to be spotted yet but usually, I tend to poke people on their arm or leg, or help them figure out how to use they bodies properly by helping them move. Again, I aways ask when they join me if it’s okay. My first children’s class made me realise quite how hands on I’ve become over time without realising, simply because I couldn’t help them move as I usually would. I did find it hard not being able to help move the children around like I would an adult but that’s something I got used to pretty quickly.
Oh, The Fun
Okay so when you have an adult walk through the door, you have an idea of what you’re going to talk about, or how the conversation is going to go. When a child comes through the door, it’s game on!
So far I’ve only seen the fun side of teaching children – the speaking without thinking or choice phrases that they’ve picked up from school. It’s so nice to see the lack or pressure they put on themselves. Who cares if they can’t get a particular spin when swinging around is just so much fun?!
I would say that so far, the lesson plans have been the same. I definitely describe moves in a different way, but as it’s only the early stages of teaching, the lesson plan has been the same as teaching an adult.
I suppose I was thinking that teaching children vs adults would be vastly different, and in some ways it is, and others you almost forget that you’re not teaching an adult.
That said, I have yet to teach a group of children – so I’ll let you know if my opinion changes if that happens!
So far I’m enjoying the new challenge of teaching children. I don’t yet have enough space in the timetable to be able to fit in a weekly class, but so far 1:1 sessions with parents present are keeping me busy. I’m super glad I did the training course as it made me realise that there are just so many things to think about and to get in order before teaching children, and welcoming them into the studio.
Image Credit: The Image Cella
Outfit: Fi Bourke Design