(To the parents, caregivers, and families of our students)
My name is Anna Houston and I have been a preschool dance teacher at The School of Dance for 2 years now, though I’ve been teaching dance for a total of 5 years. I adore children of all ages, but your preschoolers hold a special place in my heart for their sweetness, their imagination, and the magic that comes from being 3 and believing that a real-life princess, dinosaur, or unicorn could enter their lives at any moment.
While being a dance teacher feeds my artistic passions, I am also passionate about improving the quality of life of individuals who are experiencing injury, illness, or disability. As a 2nd-year occupational therapy student at the University of Utah with a special interest in neurology, pediatrics, and mental health, I strive to look at people holistically. For children, this entails not only the child themselves but their home, school, and play environments, their abilities to process sensory input from the world around them, the muscle strength needed to climb monkey bars, the skills required to pay attention in class, the skills needed to have successful social interactions and more. But almost as important as the child themselves is their support system. You! Client and family-centered treatment is what we are all about in occupational therapy. Our profession is based on the knowledge that treating a client without considering the context of who they are is simply not as effective as seeing the individual as an ever-growing, ever-changing part of their whole.
This draws me to The School of Dance. We acknowledge “how challenging it is to satisfy the physical, intellectual and social needs of your child”, yet how essential it is to help them thrive. We know that every child is an individual, with unique family background, constellation, values, and interests. We know that this child has strengths and weaknesses that are entirely different from the peer dancing right next to them.
I enjoy greeting the parents, nannies, siblings, and friends of my students after each class. I am overjoyed to hear about what each child did for valentine’s day at school, or what friend they are excited to play with this weekend. Ms.Courtney and Ms.Kylie constantly astound me with their ability to recall the names of each family member of our students, and I am impressed to hear how they think about each of you before they make any studio decisions, reflecting carefully on how it may impact you and your families. Because you matter. You are a part of our team.
Similar to the holistic view of occupational therapy, we know that it is simply not effective to isolatedly teach children to dance without embracing each child with the context of what and who makes them who they are. And that includes you. The mission statement of the studio states that it is a place “for children of all ages and abilities to learn life skills through dance.” With you as a primary member of our team, you help us to facilitate this learning of life skills and we are so grateful to you, for all you do. Thank you, and please don’t forget how much you matter.