There are two things you can be doing with your toddler now that could give your child a leg up when it comes time for them to start kindergarten. This is according to an impressive longitudinal study that tracked more than 3,000 children across Australia over the course of several years. The two things? Shared reading experiences and shared musical experiences. That’s right. It seems that 2- to 3-year-olds who enjoyed these purposeful interactions turned into 4- and 5-year-olds with more prosocial skills, better emotional regulation, and an increased ability to understand and work with numbers.
The idea that a shared reading experience (i.e. reading a book aloud in a way that engages and involves your child) is beneficial should come as no surprise. There’s been a lot written about how these interactions build early literacy and social-emotional skills. As you giggle together, wonder together, talk about the pictures and words in a book together, your child learns, but the two of you also bond.
Less attention has been paid, however, to the value of shared home music experiences; dancing with your child, humming and rocking together, singing along with your favorite recording—all of these have benefits beyond just being fun. And fun they certainly are. When you stop to think about it, don’t many of your fondest memories from childhood involve music?
The fun of Kindermusik and shared musical experiences between you and your child is what is happening in the foreground. It’s why your child loves coming to class each week. It’s why they are disappointed when they ask if it’s a music day and you reply that it isn’t. But in the background of all that fun and bonding is an incredible abundance of optimal development for your child’s brain and body. It’s the WHY we do what we do. Tangible long-term benefits hidden between the bars of our songs and movement activities.
It’s also WHY we provide to you the Kindermusik Online Parent Guides. These are tools for YOU, the adult, to supplement the Kindermusik classroom experience at home. When your little one is disappointed they can’t go to music class, you are prepared with streaming class music, a simple printable or craft that coordinates with the current curriculum, or a short video to spur connection and exploration. These nuggets of fun bring the benefits of shared musical experience into your home, on demand, when you and your child need a moment of connection.
Just log into my.kindermusik.com to access the Kindermusik Online Parent Guide for your current or any of your past curriculum.
Thank you for letting us be a part of your child’s development!
We like to call everyone that works here at Song of the Heart Studios our JOY Team. While we’re busy teaching your children’s little brains and bodies, our mission is to bring you developmental benefits with a healthy dose of JOY.
Here’s a little spotlight for you to get to know a couple of members of our JOY Team a bit better.
Ms Chris is our FABULOUS Studio Concierge. Surely you have communicated with her at some point. Perhaps she helped you enroll or helped you with a problem. She sets up our makeup scheduler, sends out your Kindermusik Online materials each month, and is Ms Carol’s right hand woman. On top of all that she is an incredible educator! Here’s a little bit more about her:
As a child she bore the nickname Crispy Conrye. Her primary instrument is the piano and she also plays the classical guitar! When she’s not teaching Kindermusik, she spends time with her son (a Kindermusik graduate), cycles, hikes, boats, and water skis. This woman loves to be active!
She is an audiophile and listens to music all the time. Her favorite modern artists include Barbra Streisand, Annie Lennox, and her favorite song is Love is the Answer. Her favorite composer is Beethoven.
Her favorite moment in a Kindermusik class is watching your little one’s eyes light up with wonder and joy. What she loves most about being an educator is seeing the growth in her students and making a difference in little people’s lives. She loves making a connection with students and loves them ALL.
Ms Chris claims that she’s really a big kid who never grew up. Maybe that’s why she’s so great at connecting with little ones!
Ms Katie’s full name is Katherine, but she’s always been called Katie or Kate. Her primary instrument is her VOICE, and if you’ve been lucky enough to be in her class, you know how beautifully she sings. She has played a little piano and guitar, but mostly just rocks out now to the shakers and the jingles! Oh, and she is one excellent GONG player!
In her spare time Ms Katie loves to watch her children in their activities as they play soccer, cheer, dance, and tumble. If she’s not busy being an amazing mom, she loves to go running, and also loves to attend concerts and Broadway shows. Her all-time favorite Broadway show is Wicked, though her most recent obsession is Dear Evan Hansen.
Ms Katie’s favorite thing about teaching Kindermusik is that it is so JOYFUL. She loves to witness the connections made between families, between you and your child, and between children and the music. She loves to experience what she calls the “magical moment” in class. She says “A magical moment is where everyone in the room is physically and emotionally engaged. Sometimes it’s during cuddle time or maybe a dance, but when it happens it’s MAGICAL!”
If you ever are in a class with Ms Katie, make her tell you the story of her trying to get a selfie with Katherine Heigl, whom she spotted in Park City once, who basically just ran away from her. Katherine Heigl clearly didn’t know how amazing Ms Katie is or she would have been the one asking for a selfie!
If the hours of cute baby footage on YouTube are any indication, watching a baby babble is a pretty solid form of entertainment. Just check out one of the hundreds of videos with titles like “cutest baby babble videos ever,” and you’ll see what we mean. You won’t be able to resist the urge to giggle—and perhaps even babble right back yourself.
Actually, choosing to babble back to a baby is a great instinct. Babies love hearing you mirror their speech sounds right back to them—and doing so encourages them to continue with their own babbling. This is how babies first experience verbal back-and-forth communication and learn the patterns that characterize speech. So those seemingly nonsensical sounds are actually quite significant. After all, sounds—which have absolutely no meaning in isolation—are the building blocks of words. When your baby babbles, he or she is putting together sounds in pleasing ways and learning how our language works. Babbling also helps develop the muscles a child needs to speak.
You can also respond to baby babbling in more sophisticated ways. Notice what’s prompting your child’s babbling (did he or she see something exciting or interesting? Is he or she imitating a specific sound?) and respond by affirming it. Use rich vocabulary to describe what’s going on: “Yes! That is a cute dog. Look at his big eyes. He is wagging his tail. He likes you, too!”
To help your child begin to develop listening ears as well as speaking skills, focus attention on specific sounds: “What’s that sound? It’s a dog barking. Woof, woof!” Don’t be surprised if the sounds then become part of your child’s babbling vocabulary.
Embrace Your “Baby Voice”
Don’t be afraid to use that high-pitched sing-song voice that comes so naturally when you’re talking to a baby. This type of speech, characterized by a slower cadence, shorter sentences, exaggerated intonation, and lots of repetition, is known as “motherese,” or “child-directed speech.” Research suggests that speaking to your child this way can actually boost their language development and learning, since babies are better able to attend to and understand “motherese” than regular adult speech.
Whenever you talk to your baby, be sure to make eye contact. This is a very important part of meaningful communication. Even if your baby can’t answer you in words, you’ll know from his or her facial expressions that he or she is participating in the conversation.
Cut Down on Cell Phone Babbling
This comes as no surprise, but it’s a good idea to put away your phonewhen you’re spending quality time with your baby. Save texts, emails, and calls for later, and just focus on your child. Continually glancing at your screen not only interrupts the critical one-on-one interaction that teaches your baby about communication, but also distracts you from the important cues your child is giving you.
Don’t Have Preconceived Notions About When “Real Speech” Will Occur
Every parent waits for that magical moment when a child first says “Mama” or “Dada.” But that will come in each baby’s own time, not according to any particular schedule. It’s good to have a sense of the typical language development trajectory and milestones, but it’s a broad range, so try not to get too caught up on specific deadlines.
In the meantime, keep up that back-and-forth babbling! As with almost everything, music makes it more fun and interesting. And (surprise!) we even have some babble-friendly suggestions for you: Try singing along to “Dipidu” during your morning routine—during diapering, feeding, or dressing. And play “Bubbles on Me” during bath time, so your baby can practice forming syllables as he or she blows buh-buh-buh bubbles in the tub. These are the moments when you truly realize how important you are as your baby’s first teacher.
The last two weeks we have started incorporating I Love You Rituals in our classes. We LOVE these rituals as they perfectly align with Kindermusik’s child-development centered curriculum and our mission here at Song of the Heart Studios. Not only do I Love You Rituals promote our studio values of JOY, CONNECTION, FAMILY, GROWTH, and HEART, but they have a direct and literal impact on your child’s brain development. Research based, these simple rituals soothe cortisol and release oxytocin in the brain. Without getting into the neurochemistry of it all, what this means is that these simple, quick, and fun rituals are a tool that will bond you with your child, will increase their self esteem, lengthen their attention span, promote cooperation, decrease power struggles, reduce hyperactivity, and facilitate language development. Can you believe that all those benefits can come from such a simple ritual? It takes less than a minute to do, and can reap huge rewards. We have been teaching the Twinkle Twinkle ritual in our classes in the hopes that it will inspire you to implement it at home. Here are some ideas of when to throw it into your daily routines:
In the morning, upon waking up
On the diapering table
During nap time and/or
When getting in or out of the carseat
Before or after meals
When saying goodbye
These delightful rituals were designed by Dr. Becky Bailey, renowned child education and developmental psychology expert, and founder of Conscious Discipline. Please let us know how you incorporate I Love You Rituals into your family life. What benefits have you experienced?
Have you noticed that our Kindermusik classes always start and end the same way? Even sprinkled throughout the class are little rituals and cues that give your child an expectation of what to do next. This is intentional. You’ll find these routines consistent from class to class, with creative variations between educators and level. We carefully craft these routines not just for fun, but to enhance learning and social cooperation.
Childhood is growth. And by very definition that means children experience change on a near-constant basis. Change is unsettling and can be hard for children to cope with. That’s why routines are so crucial. Routines have been shown to give children a sense of security and safety. It helps them know what to expect next and how to behave in certain circumstances. It sets them within a frame of predictability and comfort in which they can then explore, learn, play, and discover.
Structure teaches children how to control themselves and their environment. It facilitates constructive habits and life skills. From brushing their teeth, to feeding themselves, to cleaning up after themselves, routines make all these lessons easier to learn. In Kindermusik we have routines to wake up our brains and bodies, to focus attention, to add cohesion to the group, to foster cooperation, and to signal to you and your child that this is a place that is predictably joyful. With routines in place and expectations set, connection and growth will follow.
Is your little one having trouble with putting away their toys at home? Sing-song “Toys away!” will remind them of how we clean up after ourselves at the Kindermusik studio, and will give them instant information about what you expect. Turn any orders you might need to give your child (example: “Find your shoes!”) into a song, and you’ve just created a new neural pathway to help them understand and follow through. And always finish with an encouraging “You did it!”
Try adopting one of our little routines at home, or develop your own, and see if it helps make a bumpy part of your day a little smoother. We’d love to hear about it!
Here at Song of the Heart Studios we never stop working our hearts out to bring you the best educational musical experience for your children. Summermusik may be over, but we have been working behind the scenes to get ready for you to come back to us!
We’ve been planning all the fun and engaging events we will bring to you throughout the year.
We’ve been honing our skills to make sure we bring you the most talented and loving and skillful educators you could find anywhere.
We’ve been brushing up on our child development fluency to be able to communicate during class the benefits that are happening as they are happening.
We’ve been learning the best loving and gentle discipline practices and hope to impart them to you to help you at home in your parenting challenges.
We’ve been coordinating as a Joy Team to make sure our classes are both consistent yet distinct from teacher to teacher, from level to level, and from location to location.
Our commitment to you is that no matter what class you bring your child to, if you are in a new level, or if you are with a new educator, you will LOVE your experience. Not only are our classes jam-packed with JOY, CONNECTION, FAMILY, GROWTH, AND HEART, but you can rest assured that behind all of that fun is the invisible and crucial work of optimal whole-child development.
Kindermusik does ALL THAT. Who wouldn’t want THAT for their little one?
Can’t wait to see you. Monday classes start August 27th. All other classes start after Labor Day. Haven’t reserved your spot yet? See what’s available.
The old-time melody “Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer” evokes images of small town festivals, parades, popsicles, watermelon, and corn on the cob. It reminds us of our childhoods spent running through sprinklers and playing night games with the neighbor kids.
The summers of childhood have changed dramatically in the last generation. More and more children today spend their summers addicted to screens and computer games. We find ourselves over-scheduled with work, finding child care alternatives, summer camps, vacations, reunions, festivals, barbecues, and more. It’s easy to let the extra activities of summer overwhelm us and make us yearn for the predictable schedule of the school year. Some schools are already back in session!
Now our long summer days are shortening incrementally with every sunset. The oppressive heat is starting to abate ever so slightly. The back to school supplies hit the stores weeks ago. Our joy-packed Summermusik camps and classes have wrapped up. Many of us have spent our summer rushing from one activity to the next.
And while we may be looking forward to routines and cooler temperatures, we still have a little time to indulge our senses and renew our minds. Perhaps we can channel Mr. Nat King Cole’s memorable lyrics and eek a bit more summer out of the next couple of weeks.
So go out into your backyard with fresh eyes. Hunt for the nectar gathering bees. Take your little one by the hand and run through the sprinkler. Take your shoes off and let the sensory input of the dirt, sand, and grass ground you.
Our Fall classes will be here before you know it. Reserve your spot (in one of our TWO locations) and rest easy in the final days of the season. Find a moment to breathe it all in, and love it all out.
Thank you for spending part of your summer with us. We loved every minute of it.
We ended our 2017-2018 season with a bang at our annual Family Jam! Thanks to those of you who came to celebrate! Kicking off the event, we watched our precious Kindermusik graduates showcase their musical abilities and perform for their loved ones. It made us reflect upon all they have learned in the years they have been with us and how much joy we have shared. Transitions are always bittersweet; we will miss our graduates so, and yet we have so much joy in seeing them perform in a big ensemble.
After the graduation we had the wonderful opportunity to enjoy a comedic magic show by Magic Brooklyn, indulge in tasty treats provided by Pink Beehive Cotton Candy and Walker Pediatric Dentistry, make and take a simple instrument, enjoy face painting, pose with Maestro the dog, and even hear the wonderful talents of several Kindermusik graduates and parents who played and displayed their instruments for us all to enjoy.
One of the highlights of the Family Jam was the Instrument Petting Zoo, provided by Summerhays Music. We hope it inspired someone in your family to try a new instrument! Who knows what future musical journey may have received its seeds there! Did your child get to hold and touch a trumpet, or a flute, or a cello? We saw their eyes light up as they experienced the magic of gleaming brass, curious levers, slides, reeds, and bows. Best of all was the amazement they felt when they succeeded in producing sound on something so new!
Thanks to all of YOU, dear parents, grandparents, and other adult loved ones who have given your child the gift of Kindermusik at Song of the Heart Studios this past year. We hope that is has brought not only music into your family life but also growth, connection, and made your hearts swell with joy!
We are sharing the joy all summer long, so come sing with us at Summermusik!
Kindermusik class is like one long I Love You Ritual, isn’t it? We think that eye contact, touch, presence, and a playful structure are a fantastic combination. Mix them with MUSIC and it’s absolute perfection. We believe it’s the best combo for kids!
Why? Because music is the only activity that lights up the whole brain and I Love You Rituals are simple yet astoundingly powerful. Caring touch, kind words, and intentional routine will help form the kind of bond and connection that opens not just the heart but also the mind and the will. Because of the dopamine that’s released and the emotional connections that are made, I Love You Rituals actually wire the brain for greater impulse control, spur a desire for positive behavior, and increase attention span – all things that are crucial for children to succeed in relationships, in school, and in life.
Just as important as the I Love You part is the Ritual part. Rituals are those special ways you do things – the way you greet one another, the way you reconnect after time apart, or what you do every night before bed time. Rituals are not only meaningful, they are also deliberate and predictable. A simple I Love You Ritual strengthens relationships, builds trust, and makes life kinder and happier. Who doesn’t want that for their family?
4 Musical Resolutions for 2018
Make your everyday routines easier and special memories a little more lasting. Music does it all. 1 – Sing More With Your Little One
At first, you’ll almost need to make a plan to sing MORE. But once it is second nature, you’ll find you can find a song – or make up a song – for nearly EVERY part of your day. Your daily routines will become easier, and even the unexpected moments will become a little more manageable when you have a song or two to ease you and your child through.
And remember, whether you would ever sing in public or not, to your child, YOUR voice is the most beautiful sound in the world. Filling your child’s heart with special songs makes for precious memories that your family will cherish forever.
2 – Cuddle and Dance Every Day
Taking more time to use music to cuddle and dance together will definitely bring you closer. You’ll probably find that your own stress levels are reduced and that your child will have fewer meltdowns as a result of taking more time for intentional and loving connection.
Enjoy a few extra musical cuddles before naps or bedtime. And dancing? A spontaneous dance can happen anytime throughout the day. Nothing gets rid of the grumps or brings a smile of delight more quickly than a dance around the room – to singing or recorded music.
3 – Create Family Playlists
A musical environment comes from experiencing music. Take a few minutes to create some playlists of your child’s favorite music. Your Kindermusik Online Parent Guides are the best place to start.
Organize and label your playlists according to the kind of music each playlist contains. For example, those soft, sweet lullabies are perfect to play when your child is settling down for a nap or for bedtime. A playlist of fun, energetic music inspires your child to dance, move, and play… and expend a little energy! A sing-along playlist of your child’s favorite songs to SING helps errands in the car go so much more quickly and smoothly.
4 – Commit to Fostering Your Child’s Musical Development
The window for benefitting from playing, making, and listening to music is open the widest in the very early years of childhood. We ALL want our children to have every possible advantage – academically, socially, developmentally, and even musically. So, give yourself a little round of applause for commiting to your child’s overall development with your regular Kindermusik classes.