Tiny tots’ toes are tapping in time

Parents, babies and toddlers at the Hopscotch dance classes
Parents, babies and toddlers at the Hopscotch dance classes

DANCE and music teacher Emily Bond is hoping to get tiny tots’ toes tapping at her new dance classes in Brighouse.

Emily started the Hopscotch learning programme at Brighouse Arts Centre to introduce babies and toddlers to the wonderful world of dance.

Now parents, babies and young children can join in with fun activities designed to encourage movement and burn energy in a fun way.

Emily, who teaches dance and cheerleading to children and teenagers up to the age of 18 at the centre, spotted a gap in the market when she became pregnant. Her baby son is due in six weeks - and once he arrives he too will be signed up for Hopscotch classes.

“Even from a young age, children can benefit from taking part in music, dance and creative play.

“It teaches them about co-ordination and balance, social skills and communication - and, of course, having fun with others,” said 27-year-old Emily who is orginally from Mirfield and started dancing when she was 12.

Classes last 45 minutes on Monday afternoons in term time and involve the use of musical props, toys, baby signing and singing.

“The classes are a great way for toddlers to let off a bit of steam and enjoy themselves and for parents to meet up and make new friends,” said Emily.

“You can see the children growing in confidence and getting more enthusiastic the more times they come along. Initially they can be quite shy and hesitant but it doesn’t take long before they’re joining in and having a good time.”

Emily uses props such as ribbons and balls to encourage the children to share and communicate with each other.

“It’s good for parents to have somewhere to go with their children especially on gloomy winter afternoons.

“I’m hoping to build the classes up as I go along - the maximum number would probably be about 15,” she said.

Mum Emma Bridgeman was at the class with her 20-month-old son Reece.

“He loves coming along and his confidence has really grown,” she said. “It’s good to get out to something like this where he can use up some of his energy and make friends.”

lHopscotch classes are held on Monday afternoons (term time only) from 1.30pm to 2.15pm. It costs £3.50 per week.

lEmily has two free places at Hopscotch to offer to Echo readers for the January to Easter term. Just write your name, address and telephone number on a postcard and drop it off at the Echo office by Friday, December 1 at 5pm and Emily will pick the two winners.