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My daughter just finished her first year of mini recreational ballet. She just turned 4 in june 2019. Her teacher has advanced her to primary ballet for next year but i'm worried that she will feel out of place with older kids. I'm thinking it's usually 6 & 7 year olds? Should I be concerned or trust the teacher and her recommendation?

I know she wouldn't even be eligible to take her first exam until fall of 2020, so I'm not sure how to feel about everything..

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Hi mbcroft, to my knowledge, pre-ballet/primary classes are for 3-6 year olds & the “real”/leveled ballet training starts at age 7 or 8. I don’t think there’s any reason to be concerned at all since she will most likely be in primary for a few years either way. If there’s something specific that concerns you, such as the examination, it may be helpful to discuss it with your child’s teacher. She/He may be able to provide clarity as to why they want to move your child up & what that will entail.

When moving a younger child ahead, my biggest concern is the increased risk for injuries due to the growing body and increased classes. But, in our experience, all primary classes are about 1 hour once/week & there’s no harm in that. You can ask the teacher if there will be added classes/hours if your child moves ahead.

Another thing to consider is the developmental level & maturity of children. Generally speaking, 4 year olds and 6-7 year old children who attend school are very different. Will your daughter be the only 4 year old in this class? Has she been around kids 1-3 years older than her before? I believe she will be okay in a ballet setting, but only you know your child. 

These are just some things to consider, but again, generally speaking, I don’t think there will be any harm in promoting her. My daughter was moved ahead as she skipped a primary level & went right into pre-prof ballet training 2x/week. She was 7 and the other kids were 8-9, but it wasn’t a problem at all. They wouldn’t have known her age if they didn’t ask. It was more time-consuming since she went from one 1-hour class/week to two 1.5-hour classes per week & there was sometimes a 3rd class added for rehearsal. Training-wise, it was incredible! She worked hard to keep up with the girls 1-2 years older than her, but it was definitely possible. I will always credit that experience for sparking her interest in dance as she became serious about it after working so hard & so many doors opened for her from there. 

I wish you & your daughter all the best as you begin this journey!

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