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The Schlachte Method was developed to assist all children regardless of their abilities or disabilities, strengths or weakness, to learn and reap the benefits of a classical ballet education. This method believes that every child has abilities that can be used as a springboard to learn new skills and enhance each child’s personal accomplishments. Therefore, the methodology uses a wide variety of teaching styles to accommodate all modes of learning and to strengthen each skill set area in all children. 

Visual Learning

The Schlachte Method employs various visual teaching methods to assist the visual learner and teach visual learning skills. Each class utilizes a visual schedule to assist the child with sequencing and moving from exercise to exercise. All personal work areas are clearly designated and color-coded so that children can focus on the exercises and know their personal-space boundaries. All exercises are done in front of mirrors to allow children the opportunity to see themselves and to correct their movement when necessary. Each class has an accompanying DVD that the students are expected to watch twice a week between classes. The DVD displays all the visual images used in class to assist with proper ballet technique (i.e. your foot needs to brush the floor with your leg straight in a tendu so the children see a broom taped to a leg with the foot “sweeping” away ash), and shows children doing each exercise. 

Auditory Learning

The Schlachte Method utilizes classical ballet music that was specifically composed for each class. All music was composed to assist the auditory learner and to teach the auditory skill of timing (when to move) and what emotion is being expressed. Likewise, all music was composed to correlate with the images and the story being told in the DVD. As part of the auditory learning process, the teacher sings (instead of speaking or counting out) each exercise to assist the children in learning the
proper combinations. 

Vestibular Learning

The Schlachte Method is primarily based on full body movement. It focuses on every part of the body from facial expressions to the tips of the fingers and toes. There are specific exercises in every class designed to assist the children in learning to express emotions through facial expressions, learning to feel movement through the tips of their fingers and toes, and learning to work with the spine (how to curve and straighten it). This method also assists each child in learning body awareness and physical coordination. Also, each class requires various energy levels (depending on the exercise) teaching the children how to regulate their energy levels depending upon the exercise requirements. Likewise, these exercises teach spatial awareness through the designated spaces on the floor and through combinations completed with other students. 

Emotional Intelligence

The Schlachte Method teaches emotional intelligence through various means. The first step in emotional intelligence is the ability to identify emotions. This method teaches children to identify anger, happiness, sadness, surprise, etc. through body movements, musicality, and facial expressions. This method also utilizes story to express emotions. Each exercise has a story that corresponds with the movement and emotions. Children will be told the story and then be taught to express it through movement and facial expression. As part of this method the children will be taught in a safe and structured environment so that they can focus on expressing themselves emotionally without any anxiety or fear. The DVD works to prime the child so that the child knows exactly what is expected in class to alleviate any surprises. The visual schedule assists with reducing anxiety helping the child know what exercise is next and when class will be ending. Any changes to the class structure are told to the child beforehand to prepare them for that which is different. Likewise, any sensory distractions in the studio will be minimized to help the child focus more easily on the ballet instruction.

Summary

In summary, The Schlachte Method believes that every child is an individual and, as such, will work with each child individually to assist them in reaching their goals. Individual goals will be designed
with the student, family, and teacher to help students get the most out of each class. Believing that children learn not only from their teacher but also from individual mentors, the method utilizes volunteer mentors to work with each student in class to help them stay focused and achieve their individual goals.


© 2008 Bonnie Schlachte. For more information on volunteering or learning the method, please contact us at 805-524-5503 or e-mail us at bonnie@balletforallkids.com.