There’s Something in the Water in South Dakota . . .

Posted October 26, 2009

Kindermusik educator and mentor Sonya Kempf has three sets of twins in a single Our Time class!

from left to right: Nicole Kempf (mom, and Sonya's daughter-in-law) with Raegan and Zoe; Stacy Hanson (mom) with Kennedy and Brooklyn; and Abbey Bauer (mom) with Briggs and Bennett.

Itsy Bitsy Spider your way to stardom! Win a free semester of Kindermusik!

Posted October 23, 2009

Want to win a free semester of Kindermusik, including tuition and home materials?

Find all the details and a free mp3 download of Kindermusik's latest recording of The Itsy Bitsy Spider here:

How do I enter the contest?
It's so easy! Just make a short homemade video of any kid, adult, pet, group—whoever!—doing the itsy bitsy spider finger play.

What do I do with the video?
Post your video on YouTube. If you don't have a YouTube account already, it's super-easy to sign up. Once your video is posted, share it with us on our Itsy Bitsy Spider Contest group page, found here: That's it! You're automatically entered in the raffle for a free semester of Kindermusik.

How many times can I enter?
Enter up to five times (with five different videos) to increase your chances of winning. The winner will be announced in early December.

Is there anything else?
Of course! We're going to take clips from select Itsy Bitsy videos and edit them into an Itsy Bitsy Spider music video! Need more details? Find them here:

Goppy’s Kindergarten Chimes

Posted October 20, 2009

We called our maternal grandmother Goppy. She grew up in San Francisco and lived through the great earthquake of 1906. She credited her longevity of 101 years to her favorite breakfast: vanilla ice cream and brandy! She was a lover of music all her life and was so proud of the work Kindermusik educators do. She would frequently remind me, usually a bit sternly, "Take care of those ladies, Michael." When your 98 year-old grandmother tells you that, you listen!

So I was particularly moved when I opened a package on my desk one day a few years ago, from Goppy. At her age, I knew she didn’t make it to the Post Office very often. Inside was Kindergarten Chimes, A Collection of Songs and Games Composed and Arranged for Kindergartens and Primary Schools. Written by Kate Douglas Wiggin, it was published in 1885. Yes, that’s not a typo, 1885. It was Goppy’s own Kindergarten music book. I am struck by the timeless advice and counsel of this text. The musical loving kindness of Ms. Wiggin is as current today as it was visionary when published.

Ms. Wiggin, at just 29-years old, penned this collection a few years after founding her Silver Street Kindergarten, in the slums of San Francisco, as the first free public kindergarten in the United States. If her name sounds familiar, it’s because she went on to write the beloved children’s classic, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, in 1903. Throughout her life, she was a tireless advocate of early childhood education and the rights of children, both topics nearly heretical at the time.

This precious gift sits each day, patiently, in my office. When the rush of life slows and I remember to sit down with it, a sense of awe and a tear greet me with every turn of page. For the strength of two women, one known and loved, the other fatefully embodied in my life’s calling, lie quietly within. In tribute to all our past, present and future Kindermusik licensed educators, who devote their own lives to the great benefit of children and families, I share with you Ms. Wiggin’s dedication of her book which captures what Kindermusik is at our very core:

"To the hundreds of little children who have clustered round my knee,
this book is lovingly dedicated, to the hope that
when the yellow hair shall have changed to silver,
and the dimples given place to wrinkles,
there will still be an echo in their hearts
of these rhymes and songs of their childhood days."

San Francisco, June, 1885.

-by CEO of Kindermusik International, Michael Dougherty.

Sweetest Day

Posted October 16, 2009

Sweetest Day is Saturday, October 17.

What IS Sweetest Day, any way? It’s actually a really wonderful holiday that sadly, is often overlooked these days. Like many holidays, it was started for all of the best possible reasons. Back in 1922, Ohio philanthropist Herbert Birch Kingston established the holiday as a way to make sure that orphans, shut-ins, and the under-privileged were not forgotten. Kingston gave them candy and other small gifts in an effort to bring a little extra joy into their lives – not just because of the gifts, but mostly by being remembered.

Here in the Kindermusik educator community, certain of our peers are recognized for the way they celebrate "Sweetest Day" every class day of the year. These special educators are called "Maestros in Outreach." This is the official citation for this award:

Kindermusik International recognizes that many Educators make considerable efforts each year to reach underserved populations of children—those with physical, emotional, or economic challenges in their lives. These Kindermusik Educators silently, tirelessly, and often without payment or recognition share their gifts and talents for the benefit of the children and families in their communities. With Maestros in Outreach, Kindermusik seeks to recognize and give thanks to these Educators.

As we encourage you to find your own unique way to celebrate "Sweetest Day" on October 17, it is our honor and privilege to pay special tribute to these 2009-10 "Maestros in Outreach":

Aimee Carter
Helen Peterson
Shawna Gordon
Sherry Grimsby
Anne Clark
Robin Millar
Catherine Mullins
Vicki Harris
Julie Stewart
Brenda Haynes
Nancy Hehemann
Shanna DeCola
Rina Barnard
Elmarli Saayman
Elrika van der Merwe
Belinda Potgieter
Desiree Wiggill

Source of history of this article:

Leave it

Posted October 15, 2009

Since seven-month-old Louie shined so brightly in puppy class, we figured he was ready for an advanced degree, and we signed him up for a novice-level obedience class at our local high school. So on Tuesday evenings my husband and I take him to learn good canine manners: sitting, coming, and lying down when asked; walking nicely on a leash; and the skill Louie finds most challenging, a canine skill that’s all about not doing something you really want to do: “leaving it.” Louie is learning to “leave it” by sitting back when there’s a doggie treat beckoning right in front of him. Eventually he’ll be able to “leave it” when he spies a tempting piece of garbage on the sidewalk or a smelly sneaker just waiting to be chewed.

“Leaving it” is all about self control and resisting temptation. It’s the canine equivalent of not sneaking one more cookie when your mother isn’t looking—which is related to not blurting out the answer before you’re called on in school, and resisting the urge to shoot just one more basket after your dad has called you in to dinner. I love watching Louie achieve good canine manners and gain control of himself—and of course it reminds me of when my boys were young and learning similar early lessons.

It seems that self control, discipline, good manners—all those traditional “virtues” that folks like Ben Franklin espoused—have gotten kind of lost in the last decade or so.  Everyone has been worrying a lot about school readiness—making sure preschoolers learn their ABCs and how to count to 100 and all the colors and shapes and other important academic stuff. But I think the tide is turning again. There’s significant talk amongst researchers and education experts these days about the importance of achieving solid social-emotional skills in the early years—not just because these are an essential part of the glue that holds any social group together, but also because they turn out to be critical for children’s academic success.

So much to learn these days before kindergarten, but fortunately, lots and lots of opportunities for learning. Two cookies: one for you and one for me. That’s both one-to-one correspondence and sharing; math and manners all in one bite.

-by Deborah L. Pool, PhD in Human Development. Debby is VP of Product Development at Kindermusik International. Milou, or "Louie", is Debby's wonderful seven-month-old labradoodle puppy.

World’s Biggest Playgroup – Nov 10 in Minneapolis

Posted October 14, 2009

At Kindermusik, we always say, "The More, The Merrier!" It’s part of our mission to change the world through music, one child – and one family – at a time. Plus, children love being around children. You've seen how their eyes light up when another child is in the room.

In November, we are once again adding a little music, a few dance steps, some jingles and shakers, happy giggles, and lots of memories to our familiar mantra. How and when will this all be happening, you ask? At the World’s Biggest Playgroup in Minneapolis!

KI is again participating in the World’s Biggest Playgroup event sponsored by Babytalk. This event is being held on November 10th at the Mall of America in Minneapolis, MN. Kindermusik International is one of the featured partners at the event, and Maestro educator Helen Peterson (along with a few other Kindermusik educators) will be leading the four 20 minute Kindermusik segments during this half day event. If you live in the area, you just have to witness this. It is really something.

For more information, visit

Relax to Music

Posted October 8, 2009

Just as your child needs stimulation and engagement in age-appropriate activities, she also needs periods of relaxation. This is one of the reasons why Kindermusik Village and Our Time classes include Quiet Time in every class. But a “quiet time” isn’t only for young children; it’s also beneficial for older children as well. And times set aside for relaxation are just as important at home as they are in the Kindermusik classroom.

Creating regular quiet times at home gives your child practice in learning to calm herself, slow her pace, and relax. Plus it helps her develop a valuable lifelong skill – the skill of learned relaxation. Slow, gentle music can best provide an environment most conducive to relaxation.

So take a few moments to relax and listen to some beautiful music. You’ll love how good it makes you – and your child – feel!

Here are a few ideas for quiet time music to get you started:

The Younger, the Better

Posted October 6, 2009

Some people are quite surprised to find out that Kindermusik is for children as young as newborns. Really, what can such a young child gain from starting in a music and movement program like Kindermusik as an infant or toddler?

The following statement, jointly issued by The National Association for Music Education (MENC), the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), and the US Department of Education, helps explain just how important music education can be for even the youngest musicians…

The Value of Music for the Very Young
The idea that very early education provides great long-term benefits has been rendered incontestable by studies in cognition and early learning. Research in developmental psychology and commonsense observation underscore both the importance and the wisdom of making music an integral and overt part of the earliest education of young children:

  • [M]usic is among the first and most important modes of communication experienced by infants.
  • As young children grow and develop, music continues as a basic medium not only of communication, but of self-expression as well.
  • As preschool children not only listen to and respond to music, but also learn to make music by singing and playing instruments together, they create important contexts for the early learning of vital life skills.
  • Guided music experiences also begin to teach young children to make judgments about what constitutes “good” music, thereby developing in them the rudiments of an aesthetic sense.
  • Music contributes strongly to “school readiness…”

– excerpted from a report issued by the Early Childhood Music Summit, June 2000.  Read the article in its entirety HERE

United Nations of Kindermusik

Posted October 5, 2009

This past weekend, I had the most amazing experience. I hosted a “European” seminar in Basel, Switzerland for Kindermusik educators. I quickly discovered the only “European” aspect about it was its location!

Educators had come to the seminar from 7 different countries: Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Lithuania, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland . . . and we even had a special guest from Bahrain, in the Middle East. (Ask her where she teaches. “In a palace” is the answer!)

But the most incredible exercise was to ask from where each of these educators had come originally and how they had learned about Kindermusik. Countries represented in the room quickly doubled to include Brazil, New Zealand, Canada, United States, South Africa, China, England and Scotland. And every educator had his or her own unique story about how Kindermusik had found them (me included!).

This weekend, I was reminded of the fact that Kindermusik is so much more than just music: it’s a lifestyle, a vocation, a philosophy, and a community . . . and it’s universal! It doesn’t matter what corner of the earth you are from. If you are born with the “Kindermusik gene”, eventually Kindermusik will somehow find you. (Think about it: how did Kindermusik find you?)

I’m in the very fortunately position of connecting Kindermusik people – parents, children, and educators – together. And you are too! Each one of us is a Kindermusik Ambassador and we all have the same opportunity of connecting people through Kindermusik. Next time someone asks you where you’re from, you can tell them: “Kindermusik”. After all, that’s what’s brought us altogether!
– Angelica Manca, Kindermusik International
Director, Kindermusik Europe