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.
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!