3 “play-filled” recycling activities for kids

18 mo old Will recycling“It will be a wasteland if we don’t recycle,” stated a four-year-old child in a recent preschool study. Wow! Teaching children never stops but neither does learning from children.
Although we are nearing the end of the United Nations Decade for Sustainability (2005-2014), our commitment to sustainability remains intact. It’s why we strive to find ways to make and deliver our product that decreases our carbon footprint. It’s also why we continue to provide resources and ideas–such as recycling activities for kids–for educators and parents to use when teaching children about the environment and our impact on it. After all, investing in a greener world is also an investment in our world’s children.

Using play to teach sustainability for kids

Of course, in early childhood education, making a personal connection and involving the whole child in the process deepens the understanding.  One recent study looked at different ways to engage children in an early childhood education curriculum that taught sustainability. In the study, the preschool teacher created a recycling “center” for children. At the center, children could sort various items into a recycling bin, the trash, or a compost bucket. The teacher offered this center three times in three different ways:

  1. Modeled play: In the first recycling activity for kids, the teacher showed the children how to look for the triangle on plastic containers and bottles. Using a chart, she indicated whether or not the item could be recycled.
  2. Open-ended play: In the second recycling activity for kids offered on a different day, the teacher let the children problem solve on their own.
  3. Purposeful-play: In the final recycling activity for kids, the teacher and children engaged together in conversations about and interaction with the materials, including the purpose behind the activity. The teacher also made connections between the activity in the classroom and how this could look in their homes and communities.

Recycling activities for kids at home

This small study about sustainability for kids can be replicated at home and in classrooms. To a child, every moment is a teachable moment—even taking out the trash. Kindermusik Green - SustainabilityOne of the goals of the United Nations Decade for Sustainability is “to motivate and empower learners to change their behavior and take action for sustainable development.” At Kindermusik, we can think of no better way than to start by actively engaging our children in the process. Together, we can create a greener world.

Learn more about Kindermusik’s commitment to sustainability.


Teacher Training is the Best Investment

That’s a bold claim, but it’s true.  The best investment all educators or teachers can make is to actively take advantage of ways to constantly improve themselves and to be open to new possibilities.  Teacher training matters – it enhances job satisfaction and quality of teaching.
Weston chime ball resizeAnd that’s why Kindermusik educators are some of the best teachers on the planet.  They love their job; they’re thrilled to be in the classroom; and they are required to complete regular professional development goals each and every year.  Their professional development helps them grow in areas like early childhood professional development, business and marketing skills, classroom management, and more masterful teaching of the world’s best early childhood curriculum – Kindermusik!
If you love teaching children, we’d love to encourage you to consider pursuing the opportunity to teach Kindermusik.  You can choose two different paths – teaching for yourself or teaching for an established Kindermusik program.  Learn more HERE.

Read more… Kindermusik Educators: Who They Are and How We Train Them

Kindermusik Classes - Enroll Now - For a Child's Brain, Body, Heart & SoulAnd if you’re a parent interested in enhancing your child’s musical development and inspiring a lifelong love of music, we invite you to try a free preview class and see just why we think our Kindermusik educators are head and shoulders above the rest!

Investing in children through parental involvement in early childhood education

Kindermusik quote editedWe talk a lot about early childhood education around here. We know—as Ed Markey said: “Education is not only a ladder of opportunity, but it is also an investment in our future.” Children, especially those most at-risk students, receive even more benefits from participating in an early childhood curriculum that prepares them for a lifetime of learning!
In a perfect world, early childhood education involves three key ingredients: the child, the teacher, and family involvement in education. Without all three, our investment in early childhood education—and the child—does not yield the biggest returns—measurable and immeasurable.
Of course, a parent is a child’s first and most important teacher. We say that time and time again. When a child attends a preschool, daycare, or other learning environment outside the home, family involvement in education remains a pivotal part of the process. While teachers, administrators, and parents share the common bond of the child, some programs more successfully manage to engage this learning community by promoting respectful and reciprocal caring relationships. What can we learn from those who do it really well?

Getting high marks in family involvement in education

Anne Douglass, PhD., at the University of Massachusetts in Boston wanted to find the

(Source: AParentinSilverspring.com/)
(Source: AParentinSilverspring.com/)

answer. She recently researched ways to increase parental involvement in early childhood education in a daycare or preschool setting. She wanted to answer:

  1. What accounts for the gap between the desire of the early childhood education programs to partner with families and actual practices with families?
  2. What do teachers of early childhood curriculum need to effectively partner with families?
  3. What factors promote or impede the implementation of family support and engagement strategies?

In this small study, Douglass compared the teachers and parents, structures, and processes within four early childhood education programs: two with “high quality” family involvement and two with “low quality.”  She found two distinctive characteristics of successful preschools, Head Start programs, and daycares with parent involvement in early childhood education:

  1. Administrators modeled caring professional relationships and shared power within the school, which included leadership opportunities for classroom teachers, training, and staff appreciation.
  2. The preschool utilized specific structures to promote caring and shared power, including teacher supervision that intentionally involved discussing multiple perspectives in solving a problem.

An early childhood curriculum that increases parental involvement in early childhood education

ABCMMEINTL_LOGO_LiteracyLanguage_OneLineABC Music & Me uses music and movement to teach young children early literacy and language, social and emotional skills, and other vital skills proven to help set a child up for success. We intentionally created ABC Music & Me to include resources for teachers and parents that increase family involvement in education. As Douglass’s study indicates, teacher training impacts not only a teacher’s ability in the classroom but also the engagement of children’s parents. Our early childhood curriculum includes teacher training choices from half-day trainings to demonstration DVDs. We also include access to materials for families to use together at home that supports both the classroom learning and a parent’s role as a child’s first and best teacher.

For more information about bringing this early childhood curriculum to your preschool, Head Start program, or daycare, email us at info@abcmusicandme.com.

4 musical learning tips that make parenting a little bit easier

It doesn’t take a parent long to figure it out. No baby or toddler or preschooler—or teenager for that matter!—comes with an owner’s manual. Sure, parents can Google, look to books and blogs, talk with other parents, and even ask Siri but there is no one-size-fits-all answer to parenting.
At Kindermusik, we don’t have all the parenting answers either. We do, however, have one thing that makes parenting just a little bit easier and unlocks a child’s potential: Musical learning! Here are just a few ways to use musical learning throughout the week in your everyday routines and rituals.

4 musical learning tips that make parenting a little bit easier

  1. Music helps children, even babies, learn how to relax. Relaxing is a learned sleeping babybehavior. A child’s world can be full of stimulating experiences, from practicing new skills like standing or walking to all the sights, sounds, and smells of a trip to the grocery store. Teaching children how to relax after a period of activity gives them time to recoup and get ready for what’s next. Listening to some quiet music, snuggling together, or gentle rocking can show children how to relax. By the way, children who know how to relax and self-soothe can be better sleepers!
  2. Singing or humming a comforting song can soothe a child or ease anxiety and fears. From 2am feedings to boo-boos to thunderstorms to visits to the doctor, singing a soothing song can calm fears and comfort little ones in many different situations. The world’s most famous and revered nanny, Mary Poppins agrees. After all, she sang, “A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.”
  3. Music can signal to your child it’s time to transition to something else. In our music classes for babies, toddlers, big kids, and families, we sing “instruments away, instruments away. It’s time to put our instruments away.” That tells every child that the instrument playing time is over and we are moving on to another activity. After a few times, children begin to understand and will put the instruments away (most of the time!).  Try using that little song throughout the week to signal the end of bathtime, playtime, or even time to leave the park.
  4. Make a playlist of your child’s favorite music for your next road trip. Few children enjoy being strapped in their car seats for long periods of time. Music makes it easier. Create a playlist of your child’s favorite Kindermusik songs for the trip. Here are some of our favorites. Mix in your own favorites, too, for a family musical playlist.

New benefits of music on the cognitive development of children continue to be discovered by researchers. However, throughout the years generations upon generations of parents have used musical learning to help make parenting just a little bit easier. We invite you to come visit a Kindermusik class and discover for yourself a loving, welcoming community of families who are discovering the power of musical learning!

Find a local Kindermusik educator in your area today.

5 musical learning activities that teach school readiness skills

Music class drumDid you know that the benefits of music include preparing a child for school? When intentionally used as part of a pre-K curriculum or preschool curriculum, musical learning can positively impact the cognitive development in children and help children of all abilities be ready to learn at any age. Here are just five ways to use music when teaching children enrolled in a preschool or pre-K curriculum.

5 musical learning activities that support cognitive development in children

  1. Circle dances teach cooperation. Ringing around the rosey gives children more than a pocketful of posies. Choreographed movements require children to cooperate, move in synch with a group, and listen to and follow oral instructions.
  2. Identifying the specific sounds (or timbre) of different instruments teaches children auditory discrimination. The same sound discrimination used in recognizing the difference between the musical note “C” played on a clarinet verses the same note played on a piano by sound—not sight—helps children hear the minute differences between letter sounds or phonemes, which supports early literacy and language development.
  3. Moving to the tempo of the music teaches children to be active listeners. When children respond to the changing tempo of a song—from fast to slow—or when children move slowly when they hear the music change from staccato to legato, they are using their body movements to practice active listening skills.
  4. “Stop and Go” activities with music builds self-regulation skills. Children need to learn to tell their bodies what to do, when to stop, when to go, and when to move on to another activity. When playing a musical learning game of “Freeze Dance,” children learn and practice self-regulation skills by responding to the musical cues.
  5. Finger plays, such as “Itsy-Bitsy Spider,” help children learn to coordinate hand, finger, and wrist movements that support fine motor control and precision. Those fine motor skills will help children hold a pencil correctly, use scissors, and even tie their own shoes.

Pre-K curriculum uses musical learning

Early Literacy gains with ABC Music & Me
Our school partners and students benefit from ABC Music & Me – see the research-proven results!

In our preschool curriculum, ABC Music & Me, teaching children includes singing, dancing, and instrument exploration. Throughout all the musical learning, teachers are laying the groundwork for school readiness. Plus, our preschool curriculum includes proven results, in spatial-temporal reasoning, self-control, and even a 32 percent gain in early literacy.

For more information about bringing our pre-k curriculum, preschool curriculum, or Head Start curriculum to your school, email us at info@abcmusicandme.com.

4 reasons why music therapists love Kindermusik

why_music_quotes13American writer Sarah Dessen is not a Kindermusik teacher nor does she specialize in early childhood special education. However, she seems to understand how music can reach individuals of all

abilities. She wrote: “Music is the great uniter, an incredible force, something that people who differ on everything and anything else can have in common.”

In Kindermusik, we say it this way: “Everyone speaks music.” In the classroom, Kindermusik educators celebrate the individuality and contributions of each child. It’s no wonder music therapists love recommending Kindermusik and teaching Kindermusik. With our similar child-centered philosophies, music therapists are discovering Kindermusik offers opportunities for both their practice and their clients.

4 reasons why music therapists love using Kindermusik as part of a special education curriculum

  1. The Kindermusik curriculum naturally integrates typically developing children and children with special needs into one welcoming and loving environment.
  2. Kindermusik classes support the work done in individual music therapy sessions. Music therapists and families appreciate how Kindermusik takes many of the concepts children with special needs work on in occupational therapy, physical therapy, and speech and puts it into a group learning environment.
  3. Music therapists understand firsthand the benefits of music on children, including cognitive stimulation, self-expression, self-awareness, and increased motor movements.
  4. Music therapists can use their music therapy skills to reach more children and to expand their income potential.

Teaching children as a Kindermusik educator

“Being able to integrate typically developing children and special needs kids was just a dream come true,” explains Julie Wade, music therapist and Kindermusik educator. “The Kindermusik curriculum enables you to do just that in a positive therapeutic environment.”

Listen to what else Julie loves about being both a music therapist and Kindermusik educator. Plus, hear from her students, too!


Learn more about becoming a Kindermusik educator!


How Music Classes Prepare Your Child for School

Early childhood education is important, and Kindermusik International believes that you – the parent – are your child’s first and best teacher.  But what to do with your child until he is 7 years old?  We’d like to recommend Kindermusik classes!

9 ways Music Classes prepare your child for school

teaching children in Kindermusik - mom and sonMusic classes in the early years that include parental involvement and focus on learning in a fun, developmentally appropriate way inspire a lifelong love for learning.
Practice with steady beat, enjoying movement activities, and playing instruments help develop coordination and motor skills necessary for cutting with scissors, holding a pencil, or kicking a ball, for example.
Music classes that are teaching children rhymes and then later, the basics of beginning to read music pave the way to literacy.
Music classes give your child a place to practice those all-important social skills, like cooperatively play, sharing, and following directions.
The best music classes will encourage your child to think creatively, developing critical thinking skills and the ability to problem-solve.
In an environment where process, not performance, is stressed, music classes build self-confidence and a willingness to try new things.
Music classes that gradually increase a child’s independence at the class help the child more successfully transition to the school classroom.
In these classes, children have the opportunity to bond and interact with their teacher, learning to listen and respond to someone other than the special adults who surround them at home.
Science and research have proven time and time again that music positively impacts a child in all areas of development – social/emotional, language, cognitive, physical, and language/literacy.

Kindermusik Classes - Enroll Now - For a Child's Brain, Body, Heart & SoulFrom music skills to life skills, it’s all there in Kindermusik, where music and learning play!  Find a class near you and try a free Kindermusik class on us today.

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

5 essential skills taught in early childhood education

Source: She Knows Activity Center

In early childhood education, we understand that teaching children involves celebrating the uniqueness of each child and preparing them for academic success beyond the preschool classroom. As creators of a standards-aligned daycare and preschool curriculum, we also know just how important these early years can be to a child’s lifelong learning abilities. Early childhood education may look like fun and games (and it is!) but the skills learned through these “fun and games” as part of a daycare or preschool curriculum can help a child make a smoother transition to Kindergarten.

5 skills taught in early childhood education that prepare a child for Kindergarten

  1. Early literacy skills, including knowing all the letters in the alphabet by sight and sound, vocabulary acquisition, phonological awareness, and print awareness, help prepare a toddler and preschooler for the more rigorous reading instruction in elementary school.

  2. An elementary school classroom usually includes more students and involves more time sitting at a desk when compared to a preschool classroom. Children with strong inhibitory control abilities can sit quietly, stay focused on the task at hand, think before they act, and behave in other appropriate ways.

  3. In Kindergarten, a child’s fine motor skills get a workout with writing letters and words, drawing shapes, using scissors, and even typing on a computer.

  4. Social and emotional skills help a child make friends, share, participate in classroom discussions, and like inhibitory control, can help a child experience fewer classroom behavior challenges.

  5. Children may spend up to 75 percent of classroom time learning through listening. While hearing is one of the five senses, learning how to actively listen takes practice and can also be a foundational skill for literacy and language development.

Preschool curriculum uses music to teach key skills

When used as part of a daycare curriculum, research shows music can engage young ABC Music & Me - Early Literacy and Language Curriculumlearners and teach them these key skills needed for continuing academic success. For example, a new study shows that children participating in ABC Music & Me, our daycare curriculum, 30 minutes each week experience a 32 percent literacy gain when compared to other children.

Schools, preschools, and childcare centers can learn more about using our daycare curriculum, ABC Music & Me, by emailing us at info@abcmusicandme.com