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How to start a pre-school martial arts program, Steps 1 – 5

young martial arts students kicking

You are ready to start a pre-school martial arts program in your school, studio or dojo. Great – now what? Let us help you get started. We offer our 20+ years experience starting with steps 1 – 5. Of course we sprinkle in a few links to our merchandise and video tutorials, but the choice is yours to click. 

1) Your student’s younger siblings are your first students

You don’t have to look far to get your first students signed up! In fact, that is exactly how our Little Eagles Martial Arts program got started. Three younger siblings of our elementary school-age students were our first ever “Little Eagles”!

You won’t have to spend anything on advertising to start your pre-school program. Another benefit is that the parents of these new students already know you and your school.  The relationship has already been formed. This makes parents more comfortable as well as the instructor, or teacher.  That familiarity means your skills can be tweaked and sharpened before you add more students to your new program.

2) Make sure you have the “right” instructor

toddler martial arts studentsOh yes. Definitely an essential for teaching toddler martial arts classes. One big reason for either a) a failing toddler program or b) not having a toddler program at all is having the wrong instructor!  The owner or master instructor may not be the best choice for teaching this age group. A responsible teenaged or adult student could be a better choice.  

If you are of the mindset that the owner or master instructor “must teach all classes”, let me tell you, we were too. When we started teaching our toddlers classes in 1999, we failed miserably.  When we tried again in 2000 we asked an adult black belt if she would like to begin teaching the toddler classes. Best Idea Ever. 

3) Limit toddler classes to 1/2-hour

Limiting your toddler classes to one-half hour is the best option. Remember – the instructor has to switch things up often. Five different activities within that 1/2-hour can sometimes be a challenge. At the end of thirty minutes, everyone has given their all!   You can always use the last 3 to 4 minutes of class to let the students give you a review! Ask them what they liked best about today’s class, what they learned in the class and what they look forward to doing again. ( Hint: don’t ask about negatives. An example would be asking what they didn’t like about the class. Keep it all positive – that’s the feeling they will go home with!)

4) Offer classes twice a week

Offering classes twice a week is ideal for this age group. We let parents know that once a week is fine; twice a week is better.  Pre-schoolers really won’t benefit from more than three classes a week.  Space the classes out with at least one day in between. (Tuesday’s and Thursday’s have worked for us!) 

5) Know what you’re going to teach beforehand

Many seasoned martial artists do not have a “lesson plan” for their classes. We teach according to what our student’s needs are at the time.  And when you’ve been teaching for a long while you also know that the best plans can go drastically off course! Flexibility is key.

However, teaching or instructing toddler or pre-school classes does require some planning. What specific drills and games will you cover that will keep them focused, alert and interested? Your focus is not on their proper foot placement or cadence. It should focus on taking turns, sharing, sportsmanship and respect for their fellow students and teacher!

Little Eagles® Martial Arts offers has compiled countless quick  ( average 2 minutes )streaming and downloadable video clips of actual classes.  In less than 10 minutes you will essentially have your lesson plan DONE!  Easily accessible by your staff, too. Your style; our supprt! 

**Be among the first to request FREE stuff! Follow this link to submit your request.**

 

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Can pre-schoolers really learn martial arts?

preschool kids in martial arts uniforms

Pre-schoolers are capable of learning a lot, but most are not ready for any formal martial arts training. However, there are many reasons to enroll a 3, 4 or 5 year old child in a “martial arts based” program.

Martial arts for pre-schoolers can be great for social interaction 

The reason this blog exists is to help other martial artists learn from our mistakes! Our first attempt at instructing 3 to 5 year olds was a disaster. We simply used the same curriculum we were teaching the older kids. That was a big mistake and actually cost us students that we could have potentially kept for years. Do not attempt to teach formal martial arts to pre-schoolers!

Instead we realized that we could introduce tiny aspects of our particluar style while providing structured social interaction. That is what this young age group is capable of accomplishing and is what they need to flourish among future school-mates and friends.

Be true to your art while helping youngsters feel a sense of achievement

We know that years of training to become a master instructor and school owner involved an appreciation of  culture and tradition.  While older children understand the importance of training the mind through a pre-class meditation; pre-schoolers are having none of that! An instructor can, however, teach focus through what we like to call a 30-second ninja drill.  Youngsters are challenged to stay perfectly still and quiet for 30 seconds so he or she becomes invisible like a ninja. Does your style of martial art incorporate any type of meditation? Or demand focus from students? Do you expect students to listen while you are instructing? Well that 30-second ninja drill just did the same thing – only at a pre-school level!

Pre-schoolers can learn what is expected in a martial arts class

Think of a martial arts class for pre-schoolers as preparation for your beginner level kid’s classes. This younger age group is not developed enough to be on the mat with the big 6 years olds; they end up feeling overwhelmed. Teaching a pre-schooler how to take turns, share with others, and have respect for teachers and classmates is a great way to prepare them for the next step! Quick and fast paced drills, like 30-second ninja, will keep youngsters interested and excited about his or her martial arts classes.

 Little Eagles® Martial Arts can help you teach pre-school classes

We have learned through 20 years of experience how to run a succesful martial arts program for 3, 4 and 5 year olds.  Instructors should make their classes engaging for this age group while teaching valuable social skills all at the same time! We know what games and drills work to instill these characteristics in our youngest of students! Little Eagles® Martial Arts offers quick streaming and downloadable video clips of actual classes for instructors to use in their own pre-school martial arts classes! Your style and our support can mean new students and successful  classes for you.  

**Request FREE samples of Little Eagles® Martial Arts marketing items! Follow this link to submit your request.**

 

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5 Essentials for Teaching Toddler’s Martial Arts Classes

toddler hits a pad

Instructors need to keep kids moving in toddler martial arts classes. These classes should not involve meditation, breathing exercises or technical techniques. Toddlers need to be entertained while they are learning. These 5 essentials will ensure a successful toddler martial arts program for you!

1) Toddlers should wear their own uniform, or gi

While a full gi, or uniform, is not absolutely necessary, toddlers should know that it is only worn for their martial arts classes. Our toddler classes have always included a full gi for these youngsters with our logo on the back and a Little Eagles® Martial Arts patch sewn onto the front chest.   Wearing a uniform means toddler’s feel a sense of community. This age group can also begin to understand the significance of equality which is one reason martial artists wear gis.

2) Make sure you have the “right” instructor

Oh yes. Definitely an essential for teaching toddler martial arts classes. One big reason for either a) a failing toddler program or b) not having a toddler program at all is having the wrong instructor!  The owner or master instructor may not be the best choice for teaching this age group. A responsible teenaged or adult student could be a better choice.  

If you are of the mindset that the owner or master instructor “must teach all classes”, let me tell you, we were too. When we started teaching our toddlers classes in 1999, we failed miserably.  When we tried again in 2000 we asked an adult black belt if she would like to begin teaching the toddler classes. Best Idea Ever. 

3) Limit your class size

Depending on the size of your mat you may have anywhere from under 10 to over 30 students training at one time in your evening classes. This is definitely a time when size does matter! If you are instructing alone, toddler classes should have no more than 6 students on the mat at one time.  Having an assistant, or helper, is always a good idea. However, more than one instructor does not mean you should double your class size.  A maximum of 8 students, and a  maximum of 2 instructors ( don’t have too many distractions!) is a good rule of thumb for this age group.

4) Know the best time to run your toddler class

This is when talking to the parents of your students is priceless. We changed the time of our toddler classes a few times until we found the sweet spot that we have stuck with for many years.  We have been offering our Little Eagles® Martial Arts classes every week on Tuesday and Thursday from 4:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. . The students have taken their nap after lunch and had a snack on the way to their class to keep their tummy’s full and brains sharp. Our older kids classes begin at 5:00 p.m. which gives plenty of time for the toddlers to end their class without interruption or distraction.

5) Your style and our support!

Toddler martial arts classes should be about students learning to interact with each other, taking turns and earning respect. Instructors should make their classes engaging for toddlers while teaching valuable social skills all at the same time! After 2 decades of teaching toddler martial arts classes we know what games and drills work to instill these characteristics in our youngest of students! Little Eagles® Martial Arts offers quick streaming and downloadable video clips of actual classes for instructors to use in their own toddler martial arts classes! Your style and our support can mean new students and successful toddler classes for you.  

**Be among the first to request FREE stuff! Follow this link to submit your request.**

 

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3 Reasons to Teach Martial Arts to Toddlers

toddler karate kids

Should the master instructor teach toddlers?

The quick answer is : maybe. The next questions should be: is there an adult student that would be better than the master instructor?  There are certainly occasions when a reliable, trustworthy, mature adult student would be a better choice.  That’s a  decision for the owner(s) or manager to make. The title of this post is “3 Reasons to Teach Martial Arts to Toddlers”.  It’s not “3 Reasons Master Instructors Should Teach Martial Arts to Toddlers”!

Reason 1: Increase student numbers now and later

If you are waiting to enroll kids until they reach 4-1/2, 5 or even 6 years old, then you are losing between 6 months and 3 years worth of income. If you have already begun trembling at the thought of teaching a 3-year old, I refer you back to the first paragraph!  In over 20 years of running continuous Little Eagles® Martial Arts classes at our traditional karate school, our master instructor has never taught these classes.  He has, however, become these youngster’s instructor when they graduated out of Little Eagles® Martial Arts. Toddler program students now, kid’s program students later!

Reason 2:  New programs spark new interest

If you are just beginning a toddler martial arts program you have a great reason for new prospects to walk through your door.  Most likely you will generate students for your new toddler program from within your own current database! Parents of toddlers know other parents of toddlers, and so on and so on. 

It’s easy enough to start a program, any program. It’s another thing to turn it into a succesful program.  None of us were self-taught the techniques that propelled each of us into a career in the martial arts.  Each of us learned from someone, or from many, whom were experienced and qualified. That’s where Reason #3 comes in…

Reason 3: Your style + our support = One great toddler program!

You know best how to market and advertise for your business.  And we know how to offer you specialized  support to make your toddler program worth talking about! Your style and our support are the perfect combo for succesful toddler martial arts classes!

Little Eagles® Martial Arts offers invaluable support to keep your toddler classes full , without pages of curriculum or expensive monthly subscription costs. Weekly posts and suggestions will help instructors of any style of martial arts bring new and fresh ideas to your  toddler classes. We’ll provide links to video packages, marketing items, and informative articles. Plus links to online stores where you can purchase affordable products for your awesome toddler class! Nothing to sign-up for, use what you want when you want.

**Be among the first to request FREE stuff! Follow this link to submit your request.**

 

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Help for Teaching Martial Arts to Toddlers

Little Eagles logo on blue background

Welcome to Little Eagles Martial Arts Blog

This is our first of many posts centered around teaching martial arts to toddlers. I’ve been co-owner of a traditional karate studio since 1998. We started our “Little Eagles for Toddlers” program in 1999 . For two decades it has always been a part of our teaching schedule. We have promoted students from those classes through the rank of Black Belt.

Our purpose in publishing this blog

Our toddler program has developed into what is now Little Eagles® Martial Arts . It has become more than a toddler class at one specific location. It has become a brand with two decades of experience behind it. Our purpose is to share this information with the martial arts community. We know there is little time in a day available to gain insight and receive suggestions on how to improve as an instructor.  When you decide to improve – or even begin – a toddler program, even more decisions follow!

We know because we’ve been there

It was 1999 when we first decided to introduce a class for 3 and 4 year olds. The internet was not where it is today ( remember dial-up? ) and so information was scarce. We did find a few possibilities we considered, but were turned off by a) the cost, usually a monthly fee  b) the curriculum and/or suggestions that we were expected to read and follow and c) the fact that we could not instill aspects of our own style of martial art.  These three reasons motivated us to develop first “Little Eagles for Toddlers” and ultimately Little Eagles ® Martial Arts.

Your style, our support

Let’s be real. Toddler classes have a different purpose than martial arts classes for older kids. A class for older kids will be heavily based in teaching your particular style of martial art. Classes for toddlers should be heavily based on skills like taking turns and sharing, and developing a healthy respect for teachers, fellow students and parents. Infusing particular aspects of your style, such as an attention stance, will help accomplish these goals. And it will also prepare each child to advance to your kid’s program! But what do you do for the remaining 95% of a toddler class? Little Eagles® Martial Arts offers that kind of invaluable support to keep your toddler classes full without pages of curriculum or expensive monthly subscription costs.toddler hits a pad Weekly posts and suggestions will help instructors of any style of martial arts bring new and fresh ideas to your  toddler classes. We’ll provide links to video packages, marketing items, and informative articles. Plus links to online stores where you can purchase affordable products for your awesome toddler class!

**Be among the first to request FREE stuff! Follow this link to submit your request.**