Many people ask me what the difference is between our Level 1 Kindermusik Class for Young Toddlers (1-2 year olds) and our Level 2 Kindermusik Class for Toddlers (2-3 year olds). The two classes have a similar feel, pace and energy, but there are many differences.

Social/Emotional: In our Level 2 Class we work on sharing and taking turns. We may pass an instrument or prop around the singing circle for each child to explore. After their turn, they pass the instrument to the next child. This can be challenging for a 2 year olds, but through our supportive environment, most do well! We do not attempt this in our Level 1 Class. The children are not yet able to comprehend the idea of sharing. It would just end in tears or upset little ones!

Large and Small Motor Skills: In our Level 2 Class we add in additional movements into our dances and fingerplays. Children at 2 can often jump, shuffle feet, gallop, and side step so these are now incorporated in our movement activities. They can also do more complex dances with movements at specific times in the song, they can hold hands in a circle dance (teamwork!) and use some imaginative play to move like animals, etc. The 2 year olds can also do more involved fingerplays and remember longer sequences of finger motions.

Instruments: We use baby-safe instruments in our Level 1 class. Moving up to Level 2, we now add in Rhythm Sticks, Ankle Bells and Single Bell Jingles. We also incorporate Streamers (these are too long for the 1 year olds and they get under their feet) and Pom Poms (not ideal for 1 year olds who may still want to explore them with their mouths). Read more

When parents of toddlers get together and the subject of schools comes up, the question of whether or not your child will be prepared for school inevitably comes up. It’s easy to start worrying if they will be able to read and write in time. But what I know from my experience as an elementary school teacher is that children need to learn how to be ready to learn. We teachers want children in our classes that know how to get along with other children, listen to the teacher, and take turns. We look for these signs of school readiness: self-regulation, listening, social-emotional skills, plus pre-literacy and pre-math skills.

One of the best ways to gain these skills is through group music classes. Why? Well, firstly, kids learn these school readiness skills best in an environment with other children. Secondly, they also learn pre-math and pre-literacy through music. Third reason? The learning is all through play – it’s fun!  

Music class helps self-regulation

Depending on where your child goes to school, there could be up to 30 children in a classroom – that’s 30 possible distractions! So, if your child can control their own behavior, emotions, thoughts and impulses, they are better at being able to focus. In our Kindermusik classes, children are given lots of practice moving to music, stopping and then starting again – all in a safe space with other children. By taking turns, they learn how to control their behavior and emotions. They learn about personal space and controlling their bodies while dancing with their friends. So what may look like kids rocking out to their favorite songs, is really them learning what is considered safe and appropriate behavior through example and positive reinforcement. Read more

Babies learn so much when we sing to them!

  • Bonding – When you sing to your baby, they bond with your voice and then with YOU! Singing makes your voice the first and most important voice in her life. Your baby learns that you LOVE her!
  • Transitions – Babies thrive on predictability! It makes them feel safe and nurtured. Adding songs to their transition times (waking up, sleeping, bathing, eating, etc) helps them know what comes next. Your baby will grow in confidence.
  • Language – Language is inherently musical. When you sing, your baby learns about language and communication. Through your singing, baby gains a greater comprehension of our beautiful language.
  • Vocabulary – Songs are full of rich vocabulary. Not only are common, everyday words used, but often songs contain more unexpected words. Songs are full of interesting lyrics, helping to build your little one’s vocabulary. When you hold up a stuffed bear and sing about it, baby learns to associate the name of that toy with the words you sing.
  • Math Skills – The rhythm and steady beat of our songs helps build early math skills. The patterns found in music along with the beat represents the most basic expression of math.
  • Singing names – A baby learns her name by hearing it in songs. If you substitute your little one’s name for other words in songs, they hear their name sung over and over again.
  • Listening skills – Like reading stories, singing is an activity that requires listening. Everyone wants a child that is a good listener! Hearing is something we are born with, but listening is a skill that needs developing.
  • LOVE – Using your singing voice is a way to express love. Your little one doesn’t  care if you are a great singer. To them, you have the most beautiful voice in the world.

 

Early intervention matters in all areas of child development…from speech and language, motor skills, early literacy skills, positive behavior, and more. The sooner a child receives help the greater the impact. As educators, therapists, doctors, and researchers learn more and more how to identify early markers for intervention needs, children at risk for delays receive early intervention strategies, well, earlier. Some of the indicators may seem unrelated at first. For example, new research gives guidance in identifying young children who may need extra mathematical help…all by looking at their motor skills!

Motor Skills as Early Predictor of Math Skills
A Norwegian study shows that two-year-olds with poor motor skills also exhibit poor mathematical skills. Teachers can use this information to identify children who may need extra help.

“It is important that teachers of small children are aware of these findings. It will be easier for them to identify children who may be at risk of having difficulties in understanding mathematics. This knowledge can ensure that teachers and staff are quicker to help and support such children with mathematics,” said Associate Professor Elin Reikerås of the Norwegian Reading Centre in a University of Stavanger press release.

In the study, the research team evaluated the motor skills of two-year-old children by assessing their abilities to complete jigsaw puzzles, eat with utensils, use scissors, walk around a room without bumping into things, playing on the playground, and throwing and catching balls. Based on their motor skills abilities, the team divided the children into three groups: poor, average, and strong.

Then, the team examined various mathematical abilities of the children, such as if the children were able to use their fingers to show how old they were, if they could use the shape sorter box, play picture lotto, sort toys or objects by color or size, demonstrate the difference between big and small through the use of body language or words, and use numerals.

Contributed by Lisa Camino Rowell, a freelance writer in the Atlanta area.

Have you ever wondered: Why do we have a movement component in our music classes? What types of movement experiences should I expect?

Young children experience the world through movement. Movement plays an important role in how and what children learn. It is a crucial component to ALL learning at this age. This is why it seems to us adults that the child is constantly moving.

Our classes use circle dances, finger plays, free/expressive dances, imitative movements (ie: moving like a car, train or animal), and much more in every single class.

There are several important movement concepts that are used in our Kindermusik classes:

Body Awareness: Labeling, moving, focusing on and controlling specific and isolated body parts as well as the whole body.

Spatial Awareness: Fostering an understanding of how our body’s move in space and understanding our personal space. We use important directional words like: around, through, over, under, up, down, inside, outside, behind, next to, to the side, etc.

Fine Motor Experiences: The movements made by coordinating small muscles such as fingers, hands, toes and feet. These experiences greatly help children develop writing skills! Read more

Listening to and identifying sounds is the earliest phonological awareness skill and one of the most important pre-literacy competencies. Without this skill, there will be no progress toward phonics, spelling, or text comprehension.

How Children Become Phonologically Aware

Children become phonologically aware in a specific developmental sequence, beginning with the larger sound units (e.g., tapping each word in a sentence), then focusing on parts of individual words (e.g., blending two words to make a compound word, such as cup-cake), and finally focusing on smaller sound units (/b/-/ig/) within words.

This developmental sequence is universal…meaning that children who are English language learners are able to transfer phonological awareness skills from their first language, even when the two languages are very different! And children who speak other alphabetic languages also progress through the same sound-awareness sequence, from larger to smaller units.

Kindermusik@Home Activity that Supports Phonological Awareness

There is such a thing as training an ear. Parents can extend the application of a listening activity like this one from Kindermusik@Home to pre-literacy by gathering a variety of sound-making materials and playing with different pitches, paces, and lengths of sound. The more experience children gain in learning to identify the subtle nuances between musical timbres and pitches, the more prepared they will be to recognize and identify the distinct sounds within words.

Kindermusik@Home activity: “Which Woodwind?” Give young children’s listening skills a workout with this fun, musical game. Kids will learn to identify a piccolo, flute, oboe, bassoon, and bagpipe.

This post was written by Minds on Music (the Kindermusik official blog).

We like to tell parents that they are their child’s first and best teacher because it’s true! Sure, parents may not always know all the answers—like that initial night home from the hospital (now what?!) or when a baby experiences a growth spurt and wakes up every two hours (why?!).

But, thankfully parenting is not about personally knowing all of the answers all of the time. It doesn’t change the fact that parents ARE the early childhood experts when it comes to their own children.

Of course, everyone needs a little help and affirmation now and again…even the experts. Music can be the go-to resource to help make parenting just a little bit easier and support a parents’ unique role in a young child’s life. In fact, we think music gives parents super powers! Music can provide moments throughout the day (or night) to pause and celebrate the parent-child bond and reinforce a young baby’s development. Here are a few ways babies benefit when parents add music to their parenting toolkit. Read more

How early music instruction impacts early literacy development

Still wondering if you should sign your little one up for a music class?? Check out all of these wonderful benefits: Read more

 

Come check out a free demo class!! During the last week of August we are offering numerous demo classes! Wondering what a baby class is like? Come and see for yourself! Wondering if your child is ready for Wiggle & Grow? Come see. This 30 minute class will give you a taste of some of the fun that Kindermusik offers. You’ll see a class in action. Have fun singing, dancing, playing instruments, giggling, and learning while you see just what makes Kindermusik soooo special. Come play with us!

Register for fall before the end of the month and receive a free set of rhythm sticks!!!

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Kindermusik isn’t just for kids – it’s for parents too!
You’ll love the support and friendship you find amongst the other adults in the class.  The class activities are just as much fun for you as they are for your child – and no one cares how well you sing or dance.  It’s all about the kids!  Plus you’ll take home what you learn so that along with your Home Materials, you’ll have the tools and resources at your fingertips to extend the fun, music, and learning at home.

Kindermusik classes will become the highlight of your week.
Kindermusik isn’t just one more thing for your busy schedule, it’s the one thing that allows you time to slow down and savor those precious, fleeting years from newborn to age 7 years. Kindermusik classes give you uninterrupted quality time with your child and unique insights into your child’s development.  And there’s nothing more rewarding than knowing that you (and Kindermusik!) just put that big smile on your child’s face and a happy song in his/her heart. Read more