Meet a Kindermusik educator: Aimee Carter

Name:
Aimee Carter

Location:
Brandon, Florida

Studio name and link:
Delightful Sounds
www.delightfulsounds.com

Number of years you’ve taught Kindermusik:
7

Describe yourself in five words or less:
Creative, fun, energetic, and silly

Favorite Kindermusik song:
The Morning Song, because I like coming up with crazy animal sounds for the unexpected, animal choices like manatees or hippos.

Favorite Kindermusik activity, and why:
Anything with bilibos. I love all the ways we can play with them!

A proud moment in a Kindermusik classroom:
I love getting to see all the first steps and first words along with the parents. I get pretty excited about seeing the children grow and learn.

Something your Kindermusik children or families have taught you (could be inspirational, humorous, practical, etc.):
The children have really helped me become even more creative. They can really get outside of the box sometimes, and I LOVE that!

Something funny a child has said or done in your classroom:
The preschoolers crack me up. I never know what they will say or do next. Last week, one of the children stopped me in the middle of a song to ask “if I ever had fire come out of my butt?” LOL I never could figure out what it had to do with the train song???

The reason you teach:
I am passionate about music and the development of children. Kindermusik allows me to combine both of these as I work side by side with such wonderful families each week!

Sometimes ACTIONS are louder than WORDS

Have you ever sat in a movie theater, and several people in the row behind you are all talking? I bet you found it difficult to concentrate on the movie.

What does this have to do with your child in a Kindermusik class? Just imagine this scenario: your Kindermusik teacher brings out a basket of rhythm sticks and sings “two for you and two for your grownup”. Most of the grownups in the room start encouraging their child to go get the sticks. They encourage them with their voices and now we hear 10 adults telling their child to go get sticks. At this point, some of the children will start to “tune you out”. I like to call this “selective hearing loss”. (I have teens at home and I am very familiar with this temporary, albeit sometimes annoying ailment.)

Although we highly encourage you to talk to your child throughout the day and label movements, sounds, and objects to help with language acquisition, there are times when we have to allow them to figure out what to do without being told. Allow them to problem solve.

I want to share with you an experiment we did in a few of my classes. I asked the adults not to give directions to their child during this class – just sing when it was appropriate in the lesson. The toughest part was the “no talking”. But they all agreed and were curious to witness their child in this somewhat altered environment. I encouraged them to guide their little one by being a model and using non-verbal cues.

Here is what some of the adults said at the end of class:
* They showed more patience
* They were more “in the moment” with their children
* Their children were more attentive and focused
* Their children felt freer to create, explore, and express themselves

Try a version of this experiment at home. Take time to explore with your child without giving them opinions or directions. Be a model for them through your actions and not your words. It’s not easy, but it may allow you to be “in the moment” with your child in a way you have not been before.

Special thanks to Kindermusik educator Cathy Huser for sharing this insightful post from her blog.  Cathy’s program, Kindermusik of Cleveland, has been a top ten Kindermusik Maestro program for 10 years running.

Meet a Kindermusik educator: Pam Carmagnola

Name:
Pam Carmagnola

Location:
Crozet, VA (outside of Charlottesville, in the foothills of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains)

Studio name and link:
Kindermusik with Pam
www.kmusikwithpam.kindermusik.net

Number of years you’ve taught Kindermusik:
Eight

Describe yourself in five words or less:
Dedicated, child-centered, professional, enthusiastic

Favorite Kindermusik song:
“Giraffe and Zebra Move-Along,” from Zoo Train

Favorite Kindermusik activity, and why:
My current favorite activity is the circle dance from Zoo Train, to “Drover’s Dream.”  It’s got a great beat and is very adaptable to different movements.  Everyone loves to hear the unique sound of the didgeridoo!

A proud moment in a Kindermusik classroom:
After several years of classes, including Village and Our Time, a sweet preschooler now enrolled in ABC Music & Me is demonstrating his solid understanding of the concepts he has learned in Kindermusik.  Steady beat, pitch, tempo – you name it!  His good beginning truly will never end!

Something your Kindermusik children or families have taught you (could be inspirational, humorous, practical, etc.):
“Shiny stickers are special!”  “Hand sanitizer is cold!”  “An opened/flattened castanet makes a great pretend phone!”  And finally, “Kindermusik is a place where I am accepted and loved for who I am, just the way I am right now!”

Something funny a child has said or done in your classroom:
One of my favorite, most memorable moments occurred during vocal play when we were making doorbell ringing sounds.  “Ding, dong” said Abigail’s mom.  “Pizza’s here!” said two-year old Abigail!

The reason you teach:
I teach Kindermusik for many reasons.  The one closest to my heart is creating those special moments when parent and child really connect in class.  These days, precious time to focus solely on our children is rare.  It is a blessing to provide these opportunities for families in my community.

Your child rocks!

When your baby cries, you instinctively scoop him up and rock him.  His need to move and his ability to be soothed by movement are vital in the first 15 months of life when the vestibular system – the area that gives him a sense of balance and distance – is developing.

Aside from the physical benefits of movement, your child also recieves an emotional benefit from rocking and bonding with you.  This quiet, rocking ritual can provide him with a sense of security, allowing him to grow into an assured, confident learner with a healthy self-esteem.

Rocking is still important as your young child grows and will often become a favorite – and memorable – activity for both child and parent.  Even older children benefit from the stimulation of the vestibular system.  Urges to run and tear around the house can be mellowed by taking a few minutes for quiet or even more active rocking.

Kindermusik Tips for your Baby, Toddler, and Preschooler

  • > Rocking your baby: Place a blanket on the floor and lay your baby in the middle.  With an adult caregiver on either side, pick up a corner of the blanket and gently “hammock” your child.  If your baby doesn’t like rocking this way, simple lay him on his back and gently rock him side-to-side to the rhythm of the music.
  • > Rocking with your toddler:  Toddlers can rock a favorite stuffed animal, or while you sit on the floor, your toddler can hug you from behind as you rock back and forth to the music.
  • > Rocking with your preschooler: Preschoolers will love to curl their bodies into little balls, and rock and roll around the room. Want to let your inhibitions go? Do this with them! Fits of giggles are sure to follow.

The family that laughs together…

Overtone Singing Crazy Sounds

Giving your child a simple smile can improve his or her self image and brain development. When your child sees you smile, it not only makes her feel good, it strengthens connections in the brain as well.

Studies have shown that smiling and laughter can strengthen the immune system, lower blood pressure, and reduce stress levels. And a healthy sense of humor can help a child handle problems as they grow into adults, as well as enhance the social skills they need to make friends.

Along with smiling, laughter is a sound that’s naturally interesting to your toddler. As he’s getting ready to learn to talk, he needs help learning how to listen so he can distinguish one sound from another to form his first words. Play active listening games like “One ha-ha-happy family”, described below. As you listen, exaggerate your body posture, lean into the sound, brighten your eyes, and model the body expressions of a good, active listener for a happy, talking toddler.

One ha-ha-happy family
Laugh out loud. Ask your toddler to make the sound back. Laugh lots of different ways to your toddler. Wait for her to copy you, and vice versa. Record the sound of your toddler laughing. (Family idea: Make a “Laughter Scrapbook”! Record your family laughing together and all the different ways you can laugh. Keep adding to the recording as the years go and by and hear how the sound of your laughter changes.)

As well as listening games, why not combine physical games with music? This will give your toddler something to laugh about, learn more words about, and develop better coordination.

When you’re a toddler, running is usually accompanied by fits of laughter. This new found physical control makes games like “Ring around the Rosy” a huge hit. Rosy can fall down or do the silly walk – have fun by exploring lots of ways Rosy can “all fall down” by doing other movements that your toddler finds funny, like playing chase or running. Explore sound with your baby before bedtime. Put on your favorite lullaby (or sing it yourself) and play along gently with a musical instrument.

Say “Cheese!”
Smiling and laughing play a large part in the bonding and attachment process that help your child feel secure and safe. Children primarily use their parents’ facial expressions as a guide for behavior. The emotional experiences a child has (especially during the first years) help shape emotional responses throughout life. It’s worth remembering that a simple smile is one building block for your relationship with your child. Your face is where your child looks for reassurement, comfort, and  attention. So don’t be afraid to show your child those pearly whites!

 

Meet a Kindermusik educator: Amy James

Name:
Amy James

Location:
Bend OR

Studio name and link:
DevelopMusic
www.developmusic.com

Number of years you’ve taught Kindermusik:
5 years

Describe yourself in five words or less:
Loves music, loves to dance

Favorite Kindermusik song:
Our Time Hello since it’s the one my daughter sings when she “plays” Kindermusik with her dolls

Favorite Kindermusik activity, and why:
I love any of the circle songs because I love the sense of community we create as we all come together in a circle and dance.

A proud moment in a Kindermusik classroom:
When there is a connection made between a parent and child, parent and parent, or teacher and child

Something your Kindermusik children or families have taught you (could be inspirational, humorous, practical, etc.):
Be uninhibited, just go for it when singing, dancing or moving.  Throw off the outside pressures of parenthood and just have fun with your little one because they do not stay little for very long!

Something funny a child has said or done in your classroom:
There was a little boy who never crawled, he would just scoot on his bottom around the room and he was fast!

The reason you teach:
I teach because what we teach can make a difference.  It makes a difference for the families in the present by allowing them a special time together.  It also makes a difference in the future because of the foundation being laid for future learning.  I’ve seen the tremendous difference it has made, especially for those kids with other special needs.  Kindermusik is a place where they can have fun and be successful.

Kids can get stressed too

Relaxation is something we all search for, yet we don’t always find time for it. Life can be stressful and fast-paced, and it’s often difficult to find time to let our bodies and minds relax. Sometimes even when we’re “relaxing” we’re thinking about what’s next on the to-do list!

Adults stress tend to stress about grown-up things like the responsibilities of maintaining a family, paying the bills, and so on. But children experience stress too. They may not be able to express it, but here are some behaviors that could be signs of stress:

  • > mood changes
  • > changes in sleep patterns or nightmares
  • > exhibiting behaviors of a younger age (thumb sucking, bedwetting, clinging, etc.)
  • > no appetite or wanting to eat all the time
  • > needing to go to the bathroom frequently
  • > nail biting
  • > engaging in disruptive behavior

If you notice some sudden changes in your child’s behavior,  stress could be a factor.

You may ask what on earth could they be stressed about? After all, they don’t have any bills to pay! Children tend to experience stress in new situations, when changes happen, or when they are confronted with challenges that require new skills. These might include learning to play with a new toy, learning to share with a sibling, making new friends, completing a project, and so on.

But don’t get stress yourself! Parents and caregivers can model and teach children ways to manage stress. Here are a few suggestions:

  • > keep a consistent routine
  • > make sure the child is getting enough sleep
  • > if the source of stress can be removed, simply remove it
  • > laugh, joke, sing, dance
  • > set aside some quiet time
  • > do something active to relieve stress, like jumping, running, or playing
  • > do a creative, calming activity like coloring

These activities will help your child learn to manage stress and deal with challenging situations. (Of course, if a behavior persists or becomes a serious issue, you may need to consult your physician.)

The goal is simple: make your kids feel good. When they feel good, you feel good!

What other activities can we do with our children to help them manage stress? Post an idea in the comments area below.

Special thanks to Kindermusik educator Vanessa Cabrera for sharing this post from her Language, Music & More blog. Information about Vanessa’s Maryland Kindermusik program can be found at her blog.

Children are ready to learn long before schools are ready to teach

Music is a magic little key to your child’s heart and mind. It’s a dynamic sensory experience that evokes a powerful response in children. Early exposure to music is a vehicle for profound learning.

We’ve found that music and movement that involves interaction, demonstration, and exploration is the perfect way to introduce a child to the learning environment.  That’s why Kindermusik provides a unique opportunity to begin your child’s preparation for school – and, for that matter, for life.

Our program is carefully structured and developmentally appropriate. That means the music and activities reflect the age of your child. The Kindermusik classroom is set up in a manner that is most similar to what your child will experience in preschool and/or kindergarten.

This can give your child a great head start.

That said, don’t confuse Kindermusik with the potentially stressful environment you might find in a “toddler prep school”. Our program is not design to push children. In fact, quite the opposite. Instead you’ll find that our curricula nurtures and mirrors your child’s development with a fun, engaging, and stimulating environment. We encourage all children to learn and participate at their own pace. You’ll hear our Kindermusik educators say this all the time.

We know that these days parents have dozens of activities to choose for their children. Our goal is to stand out above the rest as the best option for you and your child. We feel that our research-based, research-proven program will not only prepare your child for school and the future, but you’ll get to have a lot of fun along the way!

Want to preview a Kindermusik class for free? Fill out this online form and an educator near you will contact you with more information. We hope to see you in Kindermusik soon!

The importance of steady beat

Note, this article was originally titled: “Running with scissors (a bit more safely)”.

If you’ve ever come to a Kindermusik class, you’ll notice that we will have a steady beat activity every week, in every age group. It might involve shakers, streamers, or drums. Or singing, chanting or lap bouncing. Or maybe moving our bodies or dancing. Or even stomping, gliding or tiptoeing.

A baby hears a constant steady beat (mom’s heartbeat!) by 22 weeks after conception. And every infant is born with the ability to keep a steady beat – his own internal beat. Sometimes in a Village class, a piece of music will match a baby’s own beat, and you’ll see him or her banging away in perfect rhythm!

Steady beat for babies:
Exposure to steady beat (hearing it, feeling it, “seeing it”, being moved to it) is important for a baby’s developing sense of steady beat. An internalized awareness of beat will help him to coordinate his movements.

A baby who is beginning to internalize a steady beat will show it through rocking, nodding, patting and kicking. Later she’ll be able to demonstrate steady beat through clapping and playing a drum to a steady beat. Steady beat will be a key factor in his learning to walk.

Steady beat for toddlers:
Children 18 months through 3 years old are learning to control and coordinate their body’s movements. The ability to keep a steady beat helps in walking with a smooth gait, leading to running and jumping with confidence.

It is at this age that feeling and moving to a steady beat develops the ability to organize and coordinate movements with proper timing – like bouncing a ball and catching it.

Steady beat for preschoolers:
Steady beat competency is central to the development of movement organization, such a marching in time, dribbling and shooting a basketball, using scissors and writing smoothly. Being able to move their entire body to a steady beat leads to the ability to speak and read with a smooth cadence, thereby enhancing communication abilities.

Interesting steady beat facts:
A sample study was done of first and second string NFL players. 100% of the first string players could maintain a steady beat without any external stimulus for 45 seconds. Only 50% of the second string players could accomplish the same.

Tests show that children with steady beat internalization are better readers and more successful in math. Children with better abilities in steady beat are reported to be better behaved in class and have less aggressive physical contact with other students.

It is well-known that a stutter does not stutter when singing or using a steady beat while speaking. A stuttering student figured out her own solution: when she wanted to answer a question, she tapped a steady beat on her leg before speaking. This allowed her to answer without stuttering.

As the result of a study done in 2002 by University College in London, scientists believe that a poor sense of rhythm could be the cause of dyslexia. “Researchers concluded that an awareness of beats can influence the way young children assimilate speech patterns, which may in turn affect their reading and writing abilities.”

Steady beat helps children to understand and organize their world. So if you are going to run with scissors, make sure you’ve got a good sense of steady beat. You’ll run more coordinated and smoothly, and thereby be a little bit safer.
– by Miss Analiisa, whose mother reported that at 2 weeks old, Analiisa consistently rocked in time to a piece of classical music that had been often played while she was in utero. But sadly, she was a horrible basketball player.

Special thanks to Studio 3 Music for allowing us to share this great post from the Studio 3 Music blog. Studio 3 Music in Seattle, Washington, the world’s largest Kindermusik program.