Parents who seek information about what is best to do for their child—parents like you!—are relieved when an idea can be described as definitively true. It’s even better when that idea involves something that is easy and fun for children and caregivers to do together.
[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Theresa Case provides research based reasons why early childhood, group musical activity is beneficial for each age – from birth to age 7. Get out there and get those little ones making music and moving![/vc_column_text][vc_video link=”https://vimeo.com/181921295″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row el_class=”search-inline”][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Find a Class Near You!” font_container=”tag:h3|text_align:left”][vc_column_text]Select your country and enter your address or postal code to find a Kindermusik class.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row bgcolor=”ki_secondary_orange” el_class=”search-inline form-inline”][vc_column][class_finder_form layout=”inline” button_label=”Search” hide_radius=”true” css=”” country_label=”Country” radius_label=”Search Radius”][/vc_column][/vc_row]
“Conjunction Junction wants your function? Hooking up words and phrases and clauses.” Do you know the rest of the lyrics to that old School House Rock favorite? Take a listen and sing along!
You might be surprised to learn that the song provided more than a Saturday morning distraction. It also actually taught children about grammar. In fact, a first-of-its-kind research study from Vanderbilt University shows an association between musical rhythm and grammar.
Exploring the links between grammar and musical rhythm
In the study, Reyna Gordon, Ph.D. measured the grammar skills and music skills of 25 typically developing 6 year olds. While the two tests were different, Gordon found that children who performed well on one of the tests also did well on the second test. Musical experience, socio-economic backgrounds, or IQ did not matter. Gordon suggests that the similarities between the rhythms in music and the rhythms of language explain how children who did well on one test also did well on the other.
According to the study, in grammar children’s minds sort the sounds they hear into words, phrases, and sentences. The rhythm of language helps them to properly sort those sounds. In music, rhythmic sequences give structure to musical phrases and help listeners move to a steady beat.
“I’ve been thinking a lot about this idea… is music necessary?” confesses Gordon in a press release. “Those of us in the field of music cognition, we know—it does have a unique role in brain development.”
Yes! Yes, it does!
Don’t Do Try this at Home or in Class
Parents and early childhood educators can support young children’s grammar skills by actively engaging in musical activities together. Try putting on some music or singing a song and inviting children to tap along to the steady beat. Children can clap hands or knees, gently bang a wooden spoon on a plastic bowl, or shake a homemade instrument. This Kindermusik class in the Ukraine tapped to the beat using rhythm sticks:
Find out more about Kindermusik at www.Kindermusik.com.Contributed by Lisa Camino Rowell, a freelance writer living in the Atlanta area.
Do you ever wonder what newborns would say if they could talk? Where am I? What just happened? Who turned on the lights? Whew, that was a lot of work! I’m exhausted. Why is everyone staring at me? Do I have something on my face? Mom! Dad! It’s me! Truth is—most newborns all say the same thing: WaaaaWaaaa!
Of course, children aren’t born talking. However, even at birth, a child can usually respond to a mother’s voice, an early sign of communication, Speech and early language development involves both receptive language (what a child hears and understands) and expressive language (what a child says to others through sounds and gestures). Receptive language skills show up first as babies learn to turn towards interesting sounds or respond to tones and even their own names.
New Research: Improving Babies’ Language Skills Before They Can Talk
A new study from Rutgers University indicates that babies can be taught to better recognize sounds that “might” be language. This would increase brain development in the areas responsible for language acquisition and processing.
In the study led by Emily Benasich who directs the Infancy Studies Laboratory at Rutgers University’s Center for Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience, the team found that when 4-month-old babies learned to pay attention to increasingly complex non-language audio patterns, their brain scans at 7 months old showed they were faster and more accurate at detecting other sounds important to language than babies who had not been exposed to the sound patterns.
“Young babies are constantly scanning the environment to identify sounds that might be language,” explained Benasich in a press release. “This is one of their key jobs – as between 4 and 7 months of age they are setting up their pre-linguistic acoustic maps….If you shape something while the baby is actually building it, it allows each infant to build the best possible auditory network for his or her particular brain. This provides a stronger foundation for any language (or languages) the infant will be learning.”
Take a look inside the Laboratory:
Use Music to Support Early Language Development
In Kindermusik classes, we provide many opportunities for caregivers and babies to communicate with each other both verbally and nonverbally. For example, when we actively listen to a specific sound such as a clock sound or running water sound, integrate language and movement during a song, or use sign language, babies gain practice hearing words and making connections to their meanings—all which heightens babies’ abilities to communicate!
Find out more at Kindermusik.com.Contributed by Lisa Camino Rowell a freelance writer living in the Atlanta area.
Young children learn best through hands-on, multi-sensory experiences with a loving and trusted caregiver. However, with technology firmly imbedded into the daily lives and routines of families today, parents and early childhood educators often struggle with knowing the ideal ways to incorporate screen time that also supports what we know about how children learn.
One thing we do know without a doubt is that parents’ involvement in screen time matters. A new report from Zero to Three, “Research-Based Guidelines for Screen Use for Children Under Three Years Old,” offers some practical suggestions for parents concerning screen time and technology. Here are a few of the tips.
3 Tips for Healthy Screen Time with Young Children
1. Parents should participate in the screen experience and make it a language-rich, interactive activity. As parents and children watch or play screen-based games together, parents can talk with their children about what they are seeing. We love how this mom beautifully incorporates a video field trip from Kindermusik@Home into on-the-floor, sensitive, child-centered play with her toddler. Notice how she encourages counting and asks questions about what they see on the screen:
2. Make connections between what children see on the screen with the real world. In the school years, children will be asked to make those connections when reading, such as text-to-self and then later text-to-text. Early childhood offers the ideal time to lay a foundation for recognizing associations between things. For example, if children learn about the different letters of the alphabet by playing a game on a tablet, parents can later point out various objects in the room or at the grocery store that start with those same letters. Or, if a character in an interactive ebook learns over the course of the story how to share a favorite toy with a friend, parents can refer back to that lesson when teaching their own children how to share with friends.
3. Create ways to extend the learning away from the screen. For example, in the video above, the parent and child can go on a walk together and notice the various dogs they encounter or visit a pet store to see the fish. While there, the mom can point out the different colors they see, encourage counting, and make connections between what they watched at home.
Find out more about Kindermusik at www.Kindermusik.com.Contributed by Lisa Camino Rowell, a freelance writer in the Atlanta area.
Yes, we’re tooting our own horns a bit because we don’t think a bumper sticker, like “My textbooks fit in my earbuds,” would ever really take off. So every once in a while, we need to celebrate in other ways.
Kindermusik International is leading the way in Digital Publishing. In the last 5 years we’ve been working to convert over 25 years worth of research and curricula, into one easily downloadable system. And the process is running more smoothly than ever before.
No more clunky, spiral bound notebooks. No more children walking home from school, weighed down by an increasingly heavy load of books. And no more paper waste. Kindermusik International’s online textbooks and interactive learning lessons are available on a variety of mobile devices.
Learn more about online Kindermusik Educator training. Click here to receive FREE information on becoming a Kindermusik Educator.
Lesson prep is as easy as updating as syncing your iPod. And Digital Teachers Guides are available online so you can download the lessons and print them out, or, bring your iPad right into the classroom.
And even if you’re not ready to go completely digital, we’ve got you covered, too. You can easily download the class music and activities and burn them to CDs.
Not convinced? Consider this.
Will iPads Replace Textbooks? Seeking Alpha, November 1, 2012
If test scores keep going up, they will. Educators can’t ignore a student’s preference for an interactive tablet over a used textbook, and it seems grades are improving, too. “Houghton Mifflin recently performed a pilot study using an iPad text for Algebra 1 courses, and found that 20 increase in the number of students who scored ‘Proficient’ or ‘Advanced’ in subject comprehension when using tablets rather than paper textbook counterparts.”
“What are you doing? You’re supposed to be going to sleep.”
It’s late at night, and your baby needs to go to sleep. Everything’s been taken care of – clean diaper, quiet house, feeding, burping … so what’s with all that squirming? Maybe all that’s missing is a lullaby.
All research points to yes — lullabies are scientifically proven to lull babies to sleep, stimulate language and cognitive development, as well as strengthen the emotional bond between a parent and child.
This bond is communicated without words. Since your baby can’t yet understand words and language, a lullaby can communicate that everything in the house is taken care of, there is no danger, and so much love that a voice is literally lifted into song.
See (or sing) for yourself
Many thanks to Kindermusik parent, Janice Müller, who filmed this video of herself singing her baby to sleep with a lullaby in the Zulu language. Janice is enrolled in Brandy Butler’s Kindermusik class in Switzerland.
You can watch the video and hear Janice sing here: Click the Oct. 1 blog post.
“If you want to hear the legendary Miriam Makeba do it justice: click here. The words and translation:”
Tula Baba | Traditional Zulu lullaby
Thula thul, thula baba, thula sana,
Tul’ubab ‘uzobuya ekuseni
Thula thul, thula baba, thula sana,
Tul’ubab ‘uzobuya ekuseni
Kukh’in khan-yezi, zi-holel’ u baba,
Zim-khan yi-sela indlel’e ziyak-haya,
Sobe sik hona xa bonke be-shoyo,
Be-thi bu-yela u-bu-ye le khaya,
Thula thula thula baba,
Thula thula thula sana,
Thula thula thula baba,
Thula thula thula san.
Hush, little man, hush, child of mine
Daddy is coming in the morning
Hush, my child, hush, my son
Hush, Daddy is coming from the mountains
We will be here, as the saying goes
They were saying; come back home
We will be here, as the saying goes
I say come back, my child, come to your home
Hush, hush, my son
Hush, hush, my little man
Hush, hush, my child
Hush, hush, my little man
Keep quiet my child
Keep quiet my baby
Be quiet, daddy will be home by dawn
There’s a star that will lead him home
The star will brighten his way home
The hills and stones are still the same my love
My life has changed, yes my life has changed
We’re working to celebrate the diversity of languages around the world, as well as to preserve the lullabies from disappearing languages, and we’d love your help. Do you have a favorite lullaby in your mother tongue? Let us know, and check out “The Mother Tongue Lullaby Project,” a special effort from ABC English & Me.
This article was originally written by Kindermusik educator Helen Peterson. Helen’s Kindermusik of the Valley program, located in and around the twin cities, MN, is one of the top programs in the world.
In a relatively recent study, 4 to 6 year old children in music and movement programs were tested to see how they compared to children enrolled in a traditional physical education program. The results were interesting, to say the least. The children getting music and movement instruction showed more growth in motor skills than those in a standard physical education program. Here’s a quote from Early Childhood Research Quarterly (Vol. 19, Issue #4, 2004):
“In a study 50 children were enrolled in a music and movement program, and 42 children were enrolled in a traditional physical education program. After 8 weeks, the children in the music AND movement group had improved significantly in both jumping and dynamic balance skills when compared to their peers in the traditional program.”
As a Kindermusik educator, I have had many parents ask me how Kindermusik compares to Gymboree or Little Gym, now I can honestly say (as I suspected): movement + music (Kindermusik) really is the best choice.
Music and movement are magical ingredients to learning for both the child and parent. A baby’s first communication is through movement. A toddler immediately responds to lively music with silly gyrations and flailing limbs – and while these movements usually make us giggle, to him they are serious attempts to coordinate movement with rhythmic patterns. The preschooler seems to be constantly moving – leaping off couches, rolling down hills, and spinning around and around until she falls down in a giggling flop on the floor.
Movement is fundamental for the development of the central nervous system, and science proves it. But what’s more, movement and rhythm are also essential for the development of the soul. These are things that can’t be measured with research and studies.
When a parent moves with her infant, a special bonding takes place that is key to social and emotional growth. When a parent sings to her child, not only are language skills being developed, but also a sense of love, comfort and harmony. The special touching, laughing, and rhythmic moving that takes place in a music and movement class lays a very strong and much needed foundation for a happy, healthy and joyful life!
Here are just a few of the ways that Kindermusik children learn through the interactive music and movement activities of the Kindermusik classroom:
- Intentional touch is designed to provide stimulation of the nervous system, relaxation and bonding.
- Activities involve unilateral, bi-lateral and cross-lateral movements that help develop the brain and muscles.
- Movement and dance steps allow the caregiver and child to experience different rhythms and locomotor movements.
- Synchronized dances develop sequencing, provide reassuring repetition and social interaction.
- Expressive movement provides variety, creativity, and opposing feelings such as fast and slow, high and low.
- Rocking and swinging stimulate the vestibular system, which is so important to balance and even eye movement.
- Props, such as the “humongous” scarves and parachutes, provide tactile and visual stimulation.
So put on your Kindermusik CD at home and don’t worry about performing the dances “just right.” Don’t even worry about right and left! Simply move to the music and have fun! It all makes a difference.
-This post was adapted from a past issue of Kindermusik Notes and was originally written by Anne Green Gilbert, Director of the Creative Dance Center and Kaleidoscope Dance Company in Seattle, Washington, and a consultant for Kindermusik International.
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!