Jac's Story

 

Jaclyn began dancing at age 4 and began her teaching career at just 14 years of age. Jaclyn has over 16 years of experience as a teacher, dancer and choreographer. Studying dance for the HSC saw her achieve an incredible mark of 96% and was invited to perform at ‘Call Back’ the best of HSC performances.

Jaclyn continued her training at Brent Street Studio. Her love for teaching and choreography inspired her to open her own dance studio Ministry Of Dance™ in early 2006.

From humble beginnings, with only a few students in a tiny church hall in Orchard Hills, the studio quickly gained momentum and moved into a purpose built dance studio in June 2006.

Ministry of Dance™ went on to be highly regarded and recognised throughout Sydney and the Australian dance industry achieving winning results at prestigious competitions such as McDonalds Challenge and Showcase.

In 2007 Jaclyn’s love for movement and the development of children inspired her to create her very own Baby Boppers© dance and movement program. This program was the first of its kind focusing on the importance of movement for aiding brain development and encouraged children as young as 12 months old.

In 2008 Jaclyn travelled to Seattle where she continued her studies in early childhood development and creative dance. Upon returning from Seattle Jaclyn wrote her other programs.

Ministry Of Dance™ continued its success to become one of the largest studios in Sydney, with in excess of 500 students. The Ministry Of Dance™ Baby and Toddler program also continued to grow, becoming bigger than most studios entirety, with over 250 children aged 12 months – 5 years attending weekly classes.

In 2011 Jaclyn founded Munchie Movers™ Baby and Toddler Dance and Movement Program©. Her classes have also been instrumental in assisting parents and helping many children with additional needs such as Autism, Aspergers and many children who are uncomfortably shy and suffering anxiety. In some cases Jaclyn’s classes have assisted, and even replaced, some occupational therapy sessions some students were attending.

Munchie Movers™ continues to grow and deliver developmentally appropriate movement & dance classes for children, promoting personal development, health and wellbeing.

 

More from Jac...

After many years of teaching all styles of dance to teenagers and adults in an industry where dance studios focus on winning competitions and driving for results I started to turn my hand to younger students, toddlers.

Even the few studios taking students from 3 years old focused on “being the best.” I sensed these young students were missing stages of development when they were falling short of their frustrated teacher’s expectations visibly affecting their self-esteem. Shouldn’t dancing at this age be fun?

At the other end of the scale I noticed dance schools with a focus on story time, dress ups with no real movement content....essentially child minding. I thought, “what about fun and educational classes for babies & toddlers?”

I was always drawn to how much babies and toddlers loved music. I would often walk through the waiting area of my dance studio and see parents with their babies in prams waiting for their older siblings in my classes. The babies and toddlers were always bopping along to the music they could hear coming from my dance classes. Often I would see parents chasing their little ones away from the studio door for fear of disturbing the dance class. The children just wanted to be where the music was!

I began researching gross motor skills and the developmental stages of 1 – 5 year olds. It became apparent very quickly that these ‘little people’ are really quite clever and that music and movement is just so important in the first 5 years of their lives.

Armed with a few children’s CD’s I was using in my 4 year old class, one evening I sat and listened. There were lots of songs about animals and expression through using different sounds and shapes with your body. It became very obvious that repetition was a key theme. I continued to listen and realised that just maybe all those 14 month olds sitting in the prams waiting at the dance studio were capable of stomping along, jumping like a kangaroo, and making all the animal sounds, if they just copied me doing it!

So I put together a small playlist and asked a few of the parents to bring their little ones along just to see if it would work as a class. I had no idea what would happen, or if they would even do anything. But I had nothing to lose and a gut feeling that although they were only little, these children too could enjoy dance & movement.

The children loved it! The parents were thrilled & surprised at how involved the children became. In early 2007 the Baby Boppers© program was born, and little did I know would be one of many successful programs in the yet to be created Munchie MoversTM.

I continued to research and travelled to Seattle USA to further my studies. I created new classes for all my students aged 3 – 5 years. I was so captivated by the impact that movement had on a child’s development that I wanted to continue it throughout all my programs. I continued teaching these classes each morning before the older students arrived at my studio, Ministry Of DanceTM.

With my programs became increasingly popular and with class sizes growing I made the shift to teaching babies and toddlers full time. In 2011 Munchie MoversTM was established. It was at this time I decided I wanted to establish a quality and professional teaching program built around the Early Years Learning Framework. This Government-developed framework is utilized in childcare centers across NSW and is highly focused on the developmental stages of children and the process of learning through play.

The Early Years Learning Framework is a quality document that promotes fun and educational learning opportunities for children age 0-8 years. Whilst developing the Munchie Movers program, I have consulted with educators and child care workers in order to align the teaching practices of my studio closely with the framework to ensure quality learning experiences for my students.