I was told by another local martial arts teacher a while back that I could have as many children in my classes as I wanted - that is, the only limit to the number of kids is time and space and my desire to teach them.
But for a long time I had a prejudice against teaching kids. I wanted serious, adult learners. I always figured that I would teach my own kids when they got the right age, but hesitated teaching other folks' kids. I don't think that I was alone in my distaste for kids martial arts. They seemed less authentic. More like a P.E. class or a babysitting service. I wanted to teach real, serious martial artists.
But, as I said in my previous post, I learned a lot from starting kids' classes. Martial arts instructors stand to benefit greatly from adding childrens' classes to their dojo schedules. So, Why should you start some kids classes? What kids classes can do for your dojo?
- You will be doing a service for your community – giving children something wholesome to do that will benefit them in many ways throughout life. This is not only just a good thing to be doing, but it is seen by the community as a good thing, leading to greater respect for the instructor and the dojo throughout the community.
- Children's classes are an additional income stream, and kids can easily become your most profitable customer base due to volume. It is harder to make a dojo go on just adults.
- Children can fill unused class slots in your dojo schedule, leading to better utilization of your physical space investment.
- Children add potential for longevity to your club/dojo. Simply put, younger students can participate for longer periods of time, taking your dojo into the future. Today's children can become tomorrow's adult martial artists.
- Teaching children attracts potential adult students to the dojo. Parents are often looking for activities they can do with their children.
- Teaching childrens' classes provides more personal practice/workout time for the instructor. The instructor can get some more workout for himself.
- Childrens' classes provide great opportunities to increase your media exposure. Newspapers love to print pictures of local clubs' promotions, tournament trophies, etc…
- Childrens' classes make your dojo more attractive to the general public because people like doing business where they see other people are doing business. If you only teach 2-3 adults, then it is very hard to attract any more adult students, but adding children's classes gives the dojo a busy appearance, which attracts more business.
- Teaching a children's class can help an instructor improve his teaching ability. An ability that is particularly improved with children's classes is skill in modifying your curriculum and way of teaching to fit individuals with special needs or varying physical and cognitive abilities.
- Teaching children can offer an instructor an opportunity to validate the art on smaller people with different physical/cognitive abilities.