Teacher and primary school dance student in a primary steps on demand class

‘This is the beginning of your path’ – dance for primary schools

For the past 15 months, Mr Smit, PE Lead at Holy Trinity CE Primary School Gravesend, has been immersing his students in the magic of creative dance and movement.

Thanks to Primary Steps on Demand – The Royal Ballet School’s online dance programme for primary school students – KS2 students have been developing their strength, coordination and balance alongside creative and critical thinking skills.

Despite dance being a curriculum requirement for all primary schools, many have little or no provision due to funding, resourcing, and curriculum capacity-related challenges. In response to this, Primary Steps on Demand was designed to enable all schools to teach dance with confidence, with no previous dance teaching experience needed.

‘The national curriculum for Key Stage 2 is quite small with the target of what’s expected for dance. So, we used several schemes with different themes and different topics, but we decided to go through this one [Primary Steps on Demand],’ says Mr Smit.

Primary school dance students practicing their pliés in a primary steps on demand class

A broad PE curriculum

To complement Holy Trinity’s PE curriculum, Mr Smit has been delivering Primary Steps on Demand in his PE classes. From art and geometry to tendus and tournés, Mr Smit has made the most of the programme’s video library, movement guides, and lesson plans to help his pupils learn through movement.

‘Primary Steps on Demand gives so much in terms of resources. The thing for teachers is that it’s very vocabulary-rich; it tells you the exact words, but the key thing is it’s specialised teaching. You have a specialised teacher on your screen who is taking the lessons, so the children get an enriched and enhanced experience,’ says Mr Smit.

‘What I really appreciate as well are the links to nature, and the examples are put on the screen so children can clearly link their dancing with being a part of the world.’

Primary school dance students clapping after their primary steps on demand class

Opening up the world of dance

The introduction of dance via Primary Steps on Demand has sparked a newfound love for dance and movement among the students at Holy Trinity, many of whom had never danced before.

One student shared, ‘Well, it’s important to dance firstly as it is a good form of exercise. You can also share your feelings and feel like you are in a different world,’ says a Holy Trinity Primary School student.’

While teaching dance in primary schools seems daunting for many teachers, Mr Smit revealed his students have experienced many benefits through the programme’s uniquely creative, cross-curricular approach.

‘The students get a specialised teacher who tells them to a good standard about the quality of movement. The lessons are clearly structured, but what really helps our students is it’s a way to express themselves,’ says Mr Smit.

‘Also, having The Royal Ballet School as part of it is very aspirational. So, we say to our children, you can actually be part of The Royal Ballet School if you want to go on that journey; this is the beginning of your path for it.’

Learn more about how you can bring Primary Steps on Demand to your primary school.