From Itsy Bitsy Spider… To Charlotte’s Web Music’s Impact on Literacy and Learning is Monumental!

October 9, 2009 at 6:30 pm | Posted in Children's Music, emergent literacy, FUN, Kindermusik, Language, Music, School Readiness, Singing, Whole Body, Whole Brain, Whole Child | Leave a comment
Steve Blunt with children

Steve Blunt with children

Recently I received a link to an article by Steve Blunt. (Thank you Merri!) He was writing on the importance of Music to Literacy and what he had to say hit the nail square on the head! I have seen time and again this same phenomenon in my Kindermusik classes. 

Steve Blunt is an award-winning kids’ musician from New Hampshire. A former middle-school English teacher, Steve now works as a music teacher and performer. His music gets kids up and dancing and he always encourages the adults to sing along. In this article he discusses the importance of music in the classroom. Music is both fun AND educational!

“If we value literacy—speaking, listening, reading, and writing—then we should acknowledge that age-appropriate musical activity lays a foundation for subsequent language development.”

Read more here.

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Calling all Johnston County Kindergarteners!

August 23, 2009 at 8:33 pm | Posted in Art, Asian, Children's Music, Dancing, elementary, FUN, Kindermusik, Language, Music Making, Musical Instruments, School Readiness, Singing | 4 Comments
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KIstock1small

Mom and Dad, is your kindergartener so ready to start school that you need something this week fun to do that feels a little like school? Something that has the elements of fun and games mixed with some sure to get your child ready for school activities? How about Kindermusik Adventures Around the World?

Tuesday-Friday, August 25th-28th from 8:00am-11:30am we will be exploring the music, dance, culture, games, and instruments of Japan, Germany, England, Africa, and Mexico. We will certainly have FUN as we become world travelers! Activities will include singing, dancing, storytelling, game playing, pretend play, crafts, instrument making, and food and culture exploration. Children will receive a home CD of the music we explore, a notebook of information including picture folders of activities, and songs from each country, a map placemat to help us find each country in our world, instruments and crafts from each country, and a carry bag with travel stickers and a passport to mark our journey! Materials cost is $40.00 and Tuition is $70.00 for this fun-packed time. Link here if you would like your child to join this enriching and fun week!

Parents are you looking for ways to improve your child’s success?

June 22, 2008 at 12:37 am | Posted in Brain Development, Children's Music, emergent literacy, FUN, Kindermusik, Music Making, Music Together, Musical Instruments, Parenting, School Readiness, Singing | 2 Comments
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Kindermusik ~ Why enroll?

Mom and Baby                                                             
A recent study found that repeated enrollment in Kindermusik improves a child’s ability to plan, guide, and control their own behavior. 
• “Children currently enrolled in Kindermusik showed higher levels of self-control than those never enrolled and those previously enrolled ….This suggests that in order for children to reap the benefit of increased self-control as a result of Kindermusik participation, it is important to have repeated and recent Kindermusik experiences and remain enrolled in the program.”
• “Four-year-old children who had been exposed to Kindermusik for longer periods of time are better off in terms of self-control namely a child’s ability to plan, guide, and control their own behavior-than similar children with less Kindermusik history.”
• “These experiences, stop-go, high-low, fast-slow, short-long, and loud-soft, whereby children’s motor behavior is guided by the music, appear to be good exercise for young children’s emerging self-regulatory skills.”  

The study, “The Effects of Kindermusik on Behavioral Self-Regulation in Early Childhood,” was conducted in 2005 in the psychology department at George Mason University in Virginia. Results were made available to Kindermusik in May, 2005. The study was conducted by Adam Winsler Ph.D and graduate student Lesley Ducenne in the Department of Psychology at George Mason University. The 15-month study included 91 children between the ages of 3 and 5 who were split into three groups:  23 students currently enrolled in Kindermusik, 19 students previously enrolled in Kindermusik, and 49 students of similar family backgrounds from local preschools who had never had Kindermusik. The children were observed doing a variety of tasks that required selfcontrol such as slowing down their motor behavior, delaying their gratification, refraining from touching attractive but forbidden toys, quietly whispering, and compliance with instructions to initiate or stop certain behaviors. Parents also completed surveys.

The study was supervised by Adam Winsler, Ph.D, Applied Developmental Psychology in the Department of Psychology at George Mason University.

Girl and Xylophone

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

Kindermusik focuses on early Literacy!

March 14, 2008 at 8:48 pm | Posted in books, Delopmental Stages, emergent literacy, Kindermusik, Language, Parenting, School Readiness, Sign & Sing | 1 Comment
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On March 10th Today show host Ann Curry interviewed a family with a 17 month old who can read. She identifies complicated words and even cursive.

“We tried to do everything we could to try to stimulate her language growth,” Michael Barrett told Curry. “From day one Katy has been using sign language with her. We think anything relating to language is a good thing to nurture.”

She is amazing! See the video here…

Kindermusik is one such activity that helps your child’s interest in reading. Language skills are fostered with singing, sound imitation, and vocal play and Music & Movement Story Time encourages emergent literacy skills within the structure of the classroom experience. Our home materials, if used on a regular basis, give parents the tools to continue this learning at home. Kindermusik also offers Sign & Sing to families with children 6 months through 3 years.

 Check out Kindermusik classes for your child. You may be surprised at what they will learn in addition to music! Remember Kindermusik is a whole brain, whole child, whole body experience!

Kindermusik ~ A Whole Brain Activity

February 7, 2008 at 12:29 am | Posted in Brain Development, Children's Music, FUN, Kindermusik, Music, Music Making, Musical Instruments, Parenting, School Readiness, Singing, Wendy Jones, Whole Body, Whole Brain, Whole Child | 2 Comments
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Boy thinking

The following article is the result of pairing an article by fellow Kindermusik Educator, Wendy Jones with some thoughts of my own…

“The impact of music on your child’s early development is undeniable and profound. Pick up any paper or parenting magazine and you will find it awash with articles and new studies showing the importance of music in giving your child a healthy start for both mind and body. The same papers are filled with options for children- dance, piano, tot sports or gymnastics, and more. So, how to choose to give our children the best without overwhelming or over-scheduling them? One way of approaching your choices is finding an activity that creates an atmosphere to develop the whole brain and body.”

The idea of “whole brain” means utilizing both left and right brain at the same time. For example, left brain activity is responsible for logical thinking, facts, sequential and analytical thinking, while right brain activity is responsible for utilizing the imagination, creativity, feelings, and intuition. Music classes are one way of utilizing the “whole-brain”. As a result musical activity makes your child learn better. The key words here are “musical” and “activity”; not just listening to music but being involved in music making and musical moving.  

So what can your family do to provide a “whole-brain”, “whole body”, “whole child” experience? Be involved in musical learning and moving. For your youngest member of the family sing, dance, feel the beat, play instruments to the beat and expose them to a variety of quality musical experiences. As your child becomes more able to communicate participating in music and movement is still a key to learning. Now add memorizing of songs, learning about note values, and rhythm values, and facts about the kinds of music you move and sing to and you make it a “whole-brain”, “whole body”, and “whole child” experience. Plus it is just plain FUN! 

There are many articles online about this topic and I recommend if you are interested, that you Google right and left brain, and music and the brain and you will see literally millions of responses. However, there is something right here in Clayton that will assist you as a family to achieve “whole-brain”, “whole body”, “whole child” success! What is it? Kindermusik!

“In each level of Kindermusik’s classes, children and their parents sing, dance, play instruments, explore, make choices, develop new skills, and learn- together. Dancing and creative movement strengthens the body and increases coordination. Singing aids in expressive language development, good speech habits, and healthy lung development. Instrumental play develops eye-hand coordination and the ability to understand patterns and sequences. No rushing from class to class; it’s all right there in every Kindermusik lesson! But most importantly, families are sharing in the development of a love of music and learning, an interest their children will carry with them lifelong.” “I’m learning as much as she is!” comments one mother; “I wish I could have learned music like this when I was her age- this is just what I’d always hoped to find for her. We both look forward to it each week!”

No longer downtown but in the Riverwood Cultural Arts Center on Cunningham Lane, is Kindermusik of Clayton & Voice of Clayton. There are classes for infants through early elementary age children and they involve the family. Now is the time to look into what is being offered as Spring semester is starting. For the older elementary child and on through adult age there are private lessons. If your schedule is tight and you think you are too busy, you might want to check out the Monthly Specialsone day events and 4 or 5 day classes that allow you to try out Kindermusik without the semester commitment. Don’t forget Summer is right around the corner and there are short class offerings for you to break up the monotony of your summer already waiting online for you to sign up! Kindermusik of Clayton & Voice of Clayton offers a full range of Kindermusik Core programs, including Village for 0-18 months, Sign and Sing for 6 months-2 ½ years, Our Time for 1 ½ to 3 ½ years, Imagine That for 3 ½ to 5 years, and Young Child for 5-7 year olds. Additional classes for Families and Preschoolers are also available, as well as Monthly Specials to aid you in making a wise choice for your family, and private voice lessons for your older child and teen or even for you.  To learn more about Winter/Spring Semester, Monthly Specials and Summer Schedule opportunities please call Julie Stewart at 359-3473, or 359-0022; you may also email your interest to kmclayton@mindspring.com or check things out online where you can register now! www.kindermusikofclayton.com  Kindermusik of Clayton & Voice of Clayton is a part of the Riverwood Cultural Arts Center in the Riverwood Athletic Club Development.

Autism Speaks … link to help raise funds!

January 24, 2008 at 9:38 pm | Posted in Autism, Charities, Delopmental Stages, Family, Parenting, School Readiness | Leave a comment
The band, Five for Fighting, is generously donating $0.49 to Autism Speaks each time this video is viewed. The funding goes toward research studies to help find a cure. When you have a moment, please visit the link below to watch the video and pass it along. They are aiming for 10,000 hits, but hopefully we can help them to surpass this goal. http://www.whatkindofworlddoyouwant.com/videos/view/id/408214

Your smile counts. The more smiles you share, the more we donate. Join in!

Joy Sikorski’s “Puccini EffectTM” is very compelling!

December 17, 2007 at 12:30 am | Posted in Babies, Children's Music, FUN, Joy Sikorski, Language, Music, Parenting, Puccini Effect, School Readiness, Singing, Village | 3 Comments
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Joy Sikorski

Joy Sikorski

Joy Sikorski, coined the term “Puccini EffectTM” to describe her philosophy of  insight into the empowerment of the singing voice as a crucial tool that impacts infant and early childhood brain development. 
From her website Joy says, “You probably know about the Mozart Effect and research regarding music’s profound impact on your baby/toddlers’s development. Instinctively, you also know that music can either calm you and your child or agitate both of you. You’ve heard that classical music is more complex than most other music and that it therefore stimulates intricate patterns in your baby or toddlers’s brain. You also know that singing songs is good for your child.
But do you know about the Puccini EffectTM? Have you heard about your baby’s or toddler’s potential ability to sing?
For example, do you know about the research that shows she can match pitches as early as 3 to 4 months or that early development of her singing potential positively influences her speech patterns and communication skills for life!? That it can engage her attention while calming both her and you? That there are scientific reasons why this is true? …”

Have I got your attention yet? Check out Joy and what she has to say about the “Puccini EffectTM”, and much more!

Study Links Preschool Behavior to Academic Success

November 30, 2007 at 10:57 pm | Posted in Children's Music, Delopmental Stages, elementary, FOL, Kindermusik, Parenting, School Readiness | Leave a comment

Study Links Preschool Behavior to Academic Success

Nov-26-2007 Salem-News.com

Results found that every seven-point increase in behavioral regulation over the school year predicted between three weeks and 2.8 months of learning gains in vocabulary, math and literacy.

(CORVALLIS, Ore.) – A study by an Oregon State University faculty member shows that preschool age children who do not master basic self-regulation skills such as paying attention and following instructions may fall behind in academic subjects including math and reading.

Megan McClelland, an associate professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Sciences at OSU, and her colleagues used a game called the Head-to-Toes Task to assess a child’s ability to listen, pay attention and regulate their own behavior.

The researchers found that children’s performance on the behavioral regulation game significantly and positively predicted early literacy, vocabulary and math skills even after controlling for initial skills in those areas.

These findings contradict a recent controversial study that found weak or no association between children’s socioemotional skills – including attention – and learning.

In contrast, McClelland and other leading child development experts across the country find a direct correlation between specific aspects of school readiness such as self-regulation and academic success.

“How can a child have strong reading or math skills if they can’t sit still, pay attention or remember instructions?” McClelland said. “We found that the gains children made on a five-minute, self-regulation game over the preschool year predicted the gains they made in early reading, math, and vocabulary.”

The Head-to-Toes Task that McClelland and her co-authors used as a measure of behavioral regulation requires attention, working memory and inhibitory control.

More than 300 preschool children were tested at two different sites in Michigan and Oregon. The study controlled for age, gender and other background variables.

Results found that every seven-point increase in behavioral regulation over the school year predicted between three weeks and 2.8 months of learning gains in vocabulary, math and literacy.

McClelland said that some of the new research pointing to the overriding importance of early math and reading skills was based on less sensitive measurement of social skills and self-regulation, compared to relatively strong measures of early achievement.

“I don’t think you can separate a child’s behavior from their achievement during the early years of school,” she said. “When you give a 5-year-old a test to assess early math skills, you might be testing their ability to sit still, pay attention and follow direction just as much as testing their math ability.”

McClelland said the Head-to-Toes Task is a strong predictor of early achievement because it does not rely on parent or teacher reports, which can often be biased. Instead, it independently assessed the child’s ability to follow multiple instructions in the game and tracked their progress over the school year.

McClelland’s findings on the link between behavioral regulation and academic skills came out in the summer edition of Developmental Psychology.

Another paper that assesses the reliability and developmental trends of the Head-to-Toes Task, authored by McClelland and lead author Claire Cameron Ponitz of the University of Virginia, will be published in Early Childhood Research Quarterly in early 2008.

This Study when paired with the study, “The Effects of Kindermusik on Behavioral Self-Regulation in Early Childhood,” which was conducted in 2005 in the psychology department at George Mason University in Virginia; you see a very positive corelation. Consistant and frequent participation in Kindermusik classes will assist your child’s readiness for school and increase the likelihood of academic success.

So when you bring your child to Kindermusik you can be assured of providing him/her with a very valuable skill, plus having FUN! What could be better!

 

Why Music? Here is one school district’s opinion and I agree!

November 23, 2007 at 5:44 pm | Posted in Art, Delopmental Stages, FOL, Kindermusik, Language, Math, Music, Parenting, Physical Education, School Readiness, Science | 1 Comment

WHY MUSIC?

Music is a Science.

It is exact, it is specific and it demands exact acoustics. A conductor’s score is a chart, a graph which indicates frequencies, intensities, volume changes, melody and harmony all at once and with the most exact control of time.

Music is mathematical.

It is rhythmically based on the subdivisions of time into fractions which must be done instantaneously, not worked out on paper.
Music is a Foreign Language.

Most of the terms are in Italian, German or French; and the notation is certainly not English – but a highly-developed kind of shorthand that uses symbols to represent ideas. The semantics of music is the most complete and universal language.

Music is Physical Education.

It requires fantastic coordination of fingers, hands, arms, lip, cheeks and facial muscles in addition to extraordinary control of the diaphragmatic, back and stomach muscles, which respond instantly to the sound the ear hears and the mind interprets.

Music is all these things, but most of all, MUSIC IS ART.

It allows the human being to take all these dry, technically boring (but difficult) techniques and use them to create emotion. This one thing science cannot duplicate: humanism, feeling emotion, call it what you will.
That is why we teach music!

Not because we expect you to major in music.

Not because we expect you to play or sing all your life.

But, so you will be human, so you will recognize beauty, so you will be closer to God beyond this world, so you will have something to cling to, so you will have more love, more compassion, more gentleness, more good – in short – more life.”

The Clarence (NY) School District’s Position Statement on Music
(Text quoted from the district web page)

Infant & Toddler QuickSource(R) is an excellent tool for Parents!

November 16, 2007 at 10:03 pm | Posted in Babies, Delopmental Stages, Fathers, Kindermusik, Mom's, Mother's, Parenting, School Readiness | Leave a comment

This teacher guide is also a wonderful tool for parents of homeschoolers and other parents in need of ideas or interested in trying out fun things at home that focus on the developmental ages and stages of your children.

Infant QuickSource®

Mom and Child

Observe and identify developmental stages for infants. Find experiences that help reinforce and support developmental milestones, aiming to build the foundation of learning. Infant caregivers must understand that all essential guidelines for infants revolve around the domains of language, cognitive, social/emotional and motor development. Exploration, perception, communication, mobility, self-competence, trust, relationships, independence, and impulse control (beginning around 18 months) are all developmental goals for infants. This invaluable, easy-to-use resource provides comprehensive support across eight domains of emergent learning for children from birth to 18 months.

Toddler QuickSource®

Mom and Daughter rocking

Children from birth to age three are in the most critical period for language development. Children in the toddler years are active explorers and need many small and gross motor activities as well as opportunities to problem-solve. Because this is a prime age for building connections within the brain, language, cognitive skills, social emotional development and physical development are the four areas of focus for the toddler group. The developmental guidelines in this QuickSource are categorized into eight learning domains. At all times, however, the guidelines provide an emphasis on the four areas above.

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