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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! 

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