Who ever heard of an impolite Teddy Bear? Nobody! Introducing Unit 4 of ABC English & Me, Hello Teddy

Is there such a thing as impolite Teddy Bear? No! This lovable toy provides a sense of comfort to every child — and every parent who was once a child. In this unit, Teddy Bear will help children learn polite greeting rituals, label different colors and clothes when he gets dressed for school, and he’ll help young children develop gross motor skills and learn to follow directions through simple games such as throwing and catching a ball. All while being huggably polite.

Additional movement activities help children develop an internal sense of control as they play instruments along to the music — stopping when the music stops, speeding up and slowing the tempo.

Target concepts

Following directions
Inhibitory control
Developing gross motor skills such as throwing and catching a ball
Polite rituals and greeting vocabulary

New and reinforced vocabulary words

bear, farm, horse, town, bus, car, bed, kitchen, tractor
teddy bear puts on…, t-shirt, jeans, shoes, socks, sweatshirt, green, blue, red, yellow, white, black, brown

New movement concepts

Turn around, touch the ground, show your shoe, dance on your toes
touch your nose, tap your head, go to bed, wake up now, take a bow
wave your hands, side-to-side, walk, tiptoe, skip, leap
sit down, tap your head, touch your nose, reach up high

Music activities

Playing with sandblocks: tap, up high, down low, fast, slowly, stop, “Let’s play with the music!”
The drum! Focused listening activities include counting and tapping the drum, as well as taking turns with the drum

Available now in the Digital Teacher’s Guides.
To learn more about digital teacher’s guides and Kindermusik, click here.

Why Music Supercharges Early Brain Development

Steady beat (by tapping a drum or your lap) is one of the many ways music supercharges early brain development.

Steady beat (by tapping a drum or your lap) is one of the many ways music supercharges early brain development.

Research shows that listening and playing along with music is one of the few activities that fully supports early brain development.

How?

It engages both hemispheres of your child’s brain.  Add the fine motor coordination it takes to hold an instrument and tap in time with the music, and your child is working on the hand-eye coordination and finger strength that’s necessary to hold a pencil, tie a shoe, use scissors, and dribble a basketball later on.

Early Brain Development Tips

For your baby – Gently tap the steady beat on your baby’s hand, foot, or knee with an instrument.

For your toddler – Invite your child to use the instrument to tap on his own toes, knees, or even a tummy!

For your preschooler or big kid – Preschoolers and older kids can march around the house in a musical parade.

Musical Brain Boosting Tools

Did you know Kindermusik has a free kid-friendly app? Download it today on Google Play or from the App Store, and choose from themed playlists (like colors, nap time, and food), tappable instrument play, and more!


Originally compiled by Kindermusik educator Theresa Case. Theresa’s program, Kindermusik at Piano Central Studios in Greenville, SC, USA, is proudly among the top 1% of Kindermusik programs worldwide. Search for a class with Theresa or find a virtual or in-person class wherever you are.

The “Process”

This post was shared from a mom enrolled in Kindermusik classes at Studio3Music, the world’s largest Kindermusik program.

As a mom of 2 very different boys, one with sensory processing issues and one with a severe bleeding disorder, I know things in my house can be far from considered normal.  I remember going to Kindermusik when the older one (with SPD) was little.  He was always so BUSY!

It seemed like all the other 6-9 month old babies were happy and content to sit in their mommies’ laps and smile and clap with the music.  They would wave as the shakers were put away and smile again when the next song would start.  Not my baby.  He would crawl around the room, looking under curtains, pulling himself up where ever he could.  He’d look for anything out of place to discover and get into.  I was practically chasing him around the room!

When shaker time was over, he’d fight to keep that thing in his hand and when the shakers disappeared, he’d scream and cry through the entire next song.  I’d quietly soothe him, whispering in his ear.  I could feel all the other moms looking at me.  Sometimes we’d leave the room until things got calm.

This is when I’d come back and Miss Allison would talk about “The Process.” My younger boy never had this issue, although his deal is to just lie like a log on the floor during the dancing music.  Everyone just dances over him like he’s a prop on the carpet.  Of course I’m used to being the family that stands out in a crowd.  Neither child really follows anything.

After years with Miss Allison and learning from Montessori school, I have become adjusted to knowing what “The Process” really means.  At 6-9 months old, the older child was processing everything in his environment.  Including the music and songs of Kindermusik.  A week or two after learning a new song or dance he’d try mimicking it at home.  Not often in class.  He was too busy there.  Too busy PROCESSING everything.

The little one does the same thing.  He may just lay and roll on the floor in class, but on the way home he sings every single word to every song.  I learned something else about The Process over these 5 years as well.  Letting go of the Perfectionist in myself.

After setting out all the supplies for our family gingerbread house, I had ideas of creating a masterpiece, but after several summers of Kindermusik crafts and home art projects I knew the house was going to be anything but that.  The boys jumped right in icing and decorating until every bit of candy was either on that house or had been eaten.

Throughout, I kept reminding myself that it’s all about THE PROCESS.  I’ve seen other moms do all the gluing and sticking and messy work for their art projects or have a separate “kid’s Christmas tree” so that the “real” tree can look like Martha Stewart’s, and that’s fine.  Those trees are beautiful and the projects look just like the originals.

What I’ve learned about The Process is that as much as I want that perfect looking tree and gingerbread house for my very own, I remember the original ones even more. I remember the hand turkey with 3 eyes and feathers on his head but none on the fingers part.  The gingerbread house with candy only on one side or only decorated with the blue candies.  I remember the Santa picture that I had to be in with my sweats on, hair a mess and no makeup because the little one would not go near the man in the red suit.  This is all part of The Process.

The Process, where not only the children are learning and growing and absorbing, but I am too! The perfectionist still wants to fight it but I remember all these things to keep her at bay, and until the children can hang outside Christmas lights on their own, I can still light up the neighborhood in my own Martha Stewart-ness.  So the next time you see us dancing to the beat of our own drum, you can stare, it’s okay. We are just processing and making memories while doing it.

Shared with permission from Studio 3 Music, the world’s largest Kindermusik program, from a Studio 3 Music blog post written by Kindermusik mommy Heidi Forrester… who still hopes her gingerbread house will one day look like the picture on the package.

The beauty around us

Aesthetic awareness has been described as one of the defining qualities of being human. Becoming aware of the beauty of sound – a part of aesthetic awareness – requires key listening skills.

Sometimes the most unusual sounds and beautiful sights can strike a chord within us, and even within a precocious young child!  Learning to search for beauty, listen for beauty, and discuss beautiful sounds – these are the building blocks to developing an aesthetic awareness that lasts a lifetime.

As adults, it’s up to us to model an appreciation for loveliness  around us and also create environments to help awaken a child’s aesthetic senses. In order for a child to become a truly creative, authentic learner and creator herself, this awareness must first be developed and fostered.

Even simple Kindermusik activities like taking a pretend windy walk, reading about Michael Finnigan’s antics with the wind, or making wind chimes, are part of helping a child seek out and understand the aesthetic beauty around us. A nature walk, singing, painting, drawing, playing an instrument – all these activities are effective.

Here are a few tips to help your child continue to build aesthetic awareness:

1.  Expose your child to experiences that heighten his sense of the aesthetically pleasing – museums, concerts, nature walks, etc.

2.  Point out the beauty already around your child – in nature, fine art, and music.  Talk about what he likes, or doesn’t like, and why.

3.  Play good quality music in the home and/or in the car, surrounding your child with a variety of musical genres and styles.  Discuss what she is hearing and how it makes her feel.

4.  Encourage your child to express himself musically and artistically.  Let your child pick the music he listens to while doing a little project.  Keep kid-friendly art supplies within reach for those moments when inspiration strikes.

5.  Keep your child enrolled in Kindermusik!  From newborn up, Kindermusik is seven musical and magical years of preparation for a lifetime of aesthetic awareness.

Posted by Theresa Case whose Kindermusik program at Piano Central Studios is proudly among the top 1% of Kindermusik programs worldwide.

Science in the shower

This post was generously shared from the Studio3Music blog.

I am a teacher by profession, and a home schooling mom by trade. (Or is it the other way around?) In any case, I spend most of my waking hours teaching somebody something. If you are a parent, your “other job” is being a teacher, too.

Your child’s job? (I’m talking about children newborn to 7 specifically, here.) Your child’s job is to play. Play IS work for a child’s brain. The brain is designed for the first seven years of life to simply organize things. And organizing play is how the brain does just that. I don’t mean organized play. Organized play is something that adults do to children. Telling them how and what to play.

So why are their rooms so messy? Well, it’s not THAT kind of organization either. The brain’s job is to organize all the sensory input it is receiving. Done well, and your child will be a happy and eager learner when they enter elementary school.

Way back in 1949, N.A. Alessandrini defined play as, “A child’s way of learning and an outlet for his innate need of activity. It is his business or career. In it he engages himself with the same attitude and energy that we engage ourselves in our regular work. For each child it is a serious undertaking not to be confused with diversion or idle use of time. Play is not folly. It is purposeful activity.”

This is still true today. The “occupation” of play for a child serves as a foundation for the development of future occupations (the kind they earn money for!) when your child grows up.

Now for your job… As teachers of our children, what can we do that allows them to organize their play? By providing them with open ended toys like blocks, cars, dress-up clothes, art supplies, dolls (for boys, too!) legos, a sand box or water table, kid-friendly pans, utensils and pretend food.

Do sit down and play alongside your child. As well, give them room to play as they wish. Remember, there really is no wrong way to play with a toy. (I don’t consider breaking toys or eating sand playing.) Your child will play with the toys the way the brain needs to in order to organize itself.

Case in point. Science in the shower. We have an accumulation of foamie shapes left over from various craft projects. Big and little animals, cars, etc. A couple of months ago, I took a big handful of them and gave them to my 4 year old Natalie in the shower. The only thing I had to do was demonstrate that they “stuck” to the wall when wet. And then I stepped back and observed her.

It’s been months now, and they are still in the shower. She doesn’t want to take a bath because she wants to still play with those foamie pieces. What have I observed? Natalie organized her own play. Literally – Everytime I go to take a shower, all those animals will be arranged in a different pattern. Sometimes by color, by habitat, by size.  That’s science in the shower.

And then I get to see the outward manifestation of the internal organization that is going on. Because sometimes, Natalie takes two of the animals, and one is “bad”, and one is “good”, or one won’t let the other play with it, so she practices making friends, and works through social situations that are typical at this age.

You see, her brain knows what it needs. Your child’s does, too. We just have to provide the “tools” and the space to allow that to happen.

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.

Again, again!!

Again, again!!  There’s a reason why those are two of your child’s favorite words – repetition is the way your child learns best.  Repetition also provides children with a sense of security and predictability, setting the stage for optimal learning.  Kindermusik takes full advantage of a learning environment that capitalizes on the comfort of repetition, both in class and at home – especially through the Home Materials.

Childhood is all about learning.  And while it’s tempting to indulge in all the latest learning trends, videos, or technology, for a child, the single best learning tool is repetition.  Each time a child is exposed to a new object or experience, new neural connections are made in his brain. Through repetition, these connections are strengthened. Add a little twist to the repetition, like when we add a new verse to a song or a new prop in class, and these neural pathways strengthen and become super-highways of learning.

Repetition is not only good for your child’s brain; it’s highly beneficial for your child’s overall development.  Repetition helps your child learn and remember new information, thus giving her a boost of joyful self-confidence because she can predict what comes next.  Then there’s also the immense satisfaction of mastering something.  Repetition is the way that your child reminds himself of a newfound skill, and the way he experiences a great deal of pleasure through a sense of completion and mastery.  Parents can use this love of repetition to their advantage by establishing predictable routines and rituals in the morning or evening, thus helping their child feel secure and in control – something that’s very important to a small child!

Each Kindermusik curriculum from Village to Young Child is deliberately designed to repeat certain activities, in part because of this important connection between repetition and learning, but also because repetition of activities promotes bonding and nurtures a sense of community and belonging. With the Kindermusik experience, ritual and repetition are key components of a predictable and nurturing environment in which learning, bonding, and a love for music naturally and beautifully unfold.

Benefits of repetition in a nutshell:

  • >Repetition fuels your child’s memory, confidence, and motor skills.
  • >Repetition expands your child’s understanding of the world around him.
  • >Repetition contributes to your child’s intellectual development by reinforcing her understanding of the way the world works.
  • >Repetition spurs motor development.
  • >Repetition helps your child feel good about himself because it reminds him of what he can do.
  • >Repetition builds a sense of trust, helping a child develop healthy relationships with others.
  • >Repetition is one way your child can exert some control over his environment, which is extremely gratifying for someone with such limited control over her world.

Posted by Theresa Case, whose Kindermusik program at Piano Central Studios is proudly among the top 1% of programs worldwide.

11 Ways to REALLY Listen to Your Child

The follow post was shared with Minds on Music from Kindermusik educator Vanessa Cabrera’s Language, Music & More blog.

A few days ago I read this: “We were given two ears but only one mouth, because listening is twice as hard and important as talking.”

Well, it’s true! It made me think about how much children have lot to say… a lot! Sometimes adults don’t think that children have anything important to say or that they can’t learn from children. So often times the adult does all the talking. They lecture, preach, or, worst of all, ignore the child. Listening to your children will help them grow up to be adults with increased self-esteem because you made them feel that what they have to say is important.

That said, children are not always sure how to communicate their feelings, so they might say something or act completely different from how they actually feel. Active listening can help you to help them figure it out! Here are some tips to REALLY listen to your child:

1.    Stop what you are doing. Don’t be distracted doing something else.

2.    Look at your child. Sit at his/her level.

3.    Pay attention to your child’s nonverbal language. Does the child look happy, sad, afraid?

4.    Be silent. It might be hard, but it is important that they have time to express themselves. It will also give you time to understand the situation before reacting.

5.    Use simple acknowledgement responses that show you are listening. “I see.” “Oh.” “Uh-Huh.” or “Hmmm.”

6.    Use “door-openers”: phrases that encourage further talking. “Tell me more.” “What else?” “Go on.” “How do you feel about that?” “Then what?”

7.    Listen for and name the feelings you think you hear from what your child is telling you. “That made you pretty mad, didn’t it?” “You seem really happy about that!”

8.    Use problem-solving phrases when needed. “What do you wish you could do?” “What do you want to happen?” “What do you think will happen if you do that?”

9. Don’t feel that you must advise or help your child come up with a solution all the time. The value of listening is in the listening itself.

10.    Let them know you are available.

11.  Don’t try to deny, discount, or distract the child from the feelings they are expressing.

Listening helps parents and children avoid the power struggle cycle. Instead of arguing or disagreeing, listen. Show your understanding while maintaining your position. Listening builds stronger relationships,  shows respect, and helps the child explore his/her own feelings and thoughts on a deeper level. It builds their sense of empathy.

So, are you ready to listen to your child?

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.