22 October 2012

Bye bye ballerina

During the last school term, MissyMoo1's (5) attendance at ballet lessons came to an end.

Last time I posted about MissyMoo1's ballet classes, I felt that it was something she might carry on with for quite some time.

Unfortunately, a number of little things came together to make it extremely difficult for us to carry on.

  • The play gym where the lessons were being held was no longer available to the dance school for lessons. This had been a huge factor in choosing the dance school because it meant that MissyMoo2 (3) and MissyMoo3 (12 months) also had something to do while ballet was on.
  • During the flux time in trying to find temporary places for the classes, not once did the dance school contact me directly to tell me where the class would be held. Classes I had already paid for. I had to hear it through the grapevine. Luckily, the ballet mums are a helpful bunch so the ones who were notified passed on the message to the rest of us.
  • The little kids' classes were separated. So the girls who were MissyMoo1's age but had been dancing longer than her (her schoolfriends) had their lessons moved to a much later time. Although they had mostly danced in separate classes previously, MissyMoo1 didn't even see them any more because they weren't arriving until about half an hour after we had left.
  • The dance teacher suggested to MissyMoo1 that she do jazz classes too (everyone else in her class stayed on for jazz). I'm sorry, but she's 5. If you think she should do the classes, talk to me about it. Don't try to get my child to guilt me into signing her up for more stuff. (My reaction might seem severe, but this teacher has put pressure on parents I know to sign their kids up for more, always more, so that's the background to my reaction). I was so proud of MissyMoo1. She told me that she told her teacher that she already does lots of activities and she isn't allowed to do any more. She shouldn't have had to do that though - she shouldn't have been put in that position in the first place.
  • The Christmas concert was scheduled to start at 7pm on a school night at a town centre 45 minutes drive away. Um? No, not happening for so many ridiculously obvious reasons.
  • We figured that if she wasn't attending the Christmas concert, there would not be much point doing lessons in term 4 because she would just feel left out. And given the jazz experience, I didn't think the teacher would make a huge effort to help MissyMoo1 not feel left out.
I felt terrible about telling MissyMoo1 that she wouldn't be doing ballet any more. After the demonstration, I thought she would be really upset about it. We decided to replace v\ballet with something else to soften the blow and to keep her active: little athletics. A good outdoors summer sport, one where the other MissyMoos could just run around instead of me having to amuse and control them. It is also something that Hubby can be involved in, as it's on a Friday evening.

I needn't have worried. When we told MissyMoo1, she was so excited. "Mum I love sport, more than dancing!". Bless her.

There was some overlap with Little Athletics starting and Term 3 ballet ending. Going to both and dragging the other MissyMoos around to everything just seemed to make the week too full. I was at extra-curricular activity saturation point. I thought about whether missing the last three weeks of ballet was sending MissyMoo1 the wrong message. I want her to learn to see things through, to persevere. But I think there's also a great lesson in making an assessment of the stressors in your life and changing things to make everyone happier. There's also a great lesson in creating opportunities for quality time together, in non-structured sibling play-time. I opted for the latter messages. I can teach her about perseverance when she's older.


  1. the dance school doesn't sound very helpful or interested in giving the kids a love of dance! I hope she has a fab time at little athletics!

    1. I was torn, but it was the right decision. She loves little athletics!

  2. An interesting post Francesca. I agree with Sarah about the school not being helpful or business savvy for sure. Little A's sounds fun.

    My Sophie didn't want to continue with gymnastics this term. She is in a development squad and is only 7. she said she wanted to stay home with us on Saturdays. I was pretty upset. The gym coaches were excellent and said not to push her and hopefully when the new years comes she might miss it and her friends.

    The thing about kids activities is the stress it puts on the parents. I feel a bit like a mean mum, but if it stresses me out and puts too much on my plate, I don't tend to go with it. I have three kids and that is a stress enough for me. They are well supported, but they can't do every activity they want to do. The middle and last child miss out on a bit, but they get to do other cool things instead.

    Non structured play is beautiful anyway, particularly with daylight savings.

    1. Wow, Sophie's coaches sound great. Maybe time away is what she needs to get excited about it again.

      It can be so stressful doing the running around with activities. Especially as Miss E is my eldest and I have two others with all that ahead of them. But you're right, daylight saving is fantastic for a bit of extra free play :-)

  3. Despite being madly in love with that picture (aren't ballet shoes just the most beautiful thing?), I can see how much better you'd be without that ballet school. Sounds like they were far more trouble than they were worth.

    Little Athletics sounds great.


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