MY vision of day one will always be the plump little boy, red-faced and screaming, bear-hugging a power pole outside the school gate as a teacher tried to prise him free and carry him back to the classroom. As pupil management theories have advanced and society generally has thought a lot about the importance of a good start to education, such scenes have become rare among the happy, smiling faces. Some schools, however, have always been virtually tear free. They are places where the learning is fun, even when that scary word 'discipline' is etched into the background. Take, for instance, a ballet school such as the one Nicole Ashfield set up in the Redlands more than three decades ago. The 'first day' for the littlies there means lots of fun, jumping, skipping, hopping to music and nursery rhymes as well as having an introduction to basic positions in dance training, Nicole says.
ASHFIELD Ballet School's youngest students are just three years old, and Nicole has gained much satisfaction from seeing them grow up. She says the discipline of dance training boosts self confidence and can be a lifetime benefit. Nicole first developed her love of dance under the tuition of her mother, Avril Binzer, and has a long list of performance and education credits. Nicole's daughter, Hayley Ashfield-Predl, who also has many career credits, is her partner in Ashfield Ballet School. They employ other teachers and run junior classes in Cleveland, Alexandra Hills, Capalaba, Wellington Point, Ormiston and Thornlands, with Ashfield Ballet Studio in Moreton Bay Road, Capalaba, as the headquarters.
This column has appeared in The Redland Times.