==== ====For helpful tips on pointe work, please take a look at this:http://tinyurl.com/prepointe==== ====1. Most teachers believe the appropriate age is 11, when the growth spaces between the bonesclose sufficiently to allow the extraordinary effort required of the feet. As bones grow closertogether, there is less opportunity for injury or actual distortion. 11 also loosely correspond to anage when the physical frame gets stronger. Believers of this school of thought will tell you "neverbefore 11." Exceptionally they will train a 10 year old but require a foot Xray and an orthopedistsO.K.What troubles me here is that too many teachers rely on age and do not necessarily take intoaccount all other factors such as number of years in ballet ( 3 minimum ), how many times perweek during those 3 years and regularity of attendance. Example: a child taking one hour perweek for 3 years is not a candidate for Pointe work.2. Other teachers do not consider the age factor as that important, the issue being one ofpreparation as opposed to actual age. Some highly reputable schools put girls as young as nineon Pointe but these girls have been in ballet exclusively, almost every day for 1 ½ hours, forseveral years. These girls do not take Tap because it is counter-indicated for Pointe (Tap requiresloose ankles).Also, these teachers are extremely careful and do not allow the child away from thebarre for one full year. The theory here is that the foot should be shaped and strengthened forPointe while it is still malleable but this is handled with extreme care.One cannot argue with the results obtained by these schools; they are impressive. If option 2 isyour choice, please make absolutely certain your child is in the hands of an expert. By the way,they usually do not allow the girls to take the Pointe shoes home. Shoes have to be kept at theschool so the child is not tempted to put them on and try inappropriate steps without professionalsupervision. That, in itself, is a starting indication of the teachers qualifications.The single most important factor in the decision is the child herself. There are a number ofphysical things which must be present, no matter what the age.oDoes the child have a good natural arch to her foot?oDoes she rise to the half toe correctly, straight up and not crooked?oDoes she totally straighten her knees on "relevé"? This is crucial.oAre her knees and ankles still wobbly, in general? They should not be.oAre her abdominal muscles strong enough to support her back?