Today, on National Napping Day, we here at Kindermusik International are celebrating the benefit of learning to relax, one of the best gifts you can give your child. (We wish we could celebrate in true form by taking a nap ourselves, but alas, duty calls… and we digress.) Whether there’s simply a need to unwind or whether it’s time to settle down for a nap, music can be an important part of either of these childhood routines.
Just as your child needs stimulation and engagement in age-appropriate activities, she also needs periods of relaxation. This is one of the reasons why many of our Kindermusik classes for babies and toddlers specifically include Quiet Time or Relaxation Time ritual in every class. Lights are lowered; adult and child cuddle up; and we all settle in to enjoy a lovely recording together.
But a “quiet time” isn’t only for young children; it’s also beneficial for older children as well. And times set aside for relaxation are just as important at home as they are in the Kindermusik classroom. Creating regular quiet times at home gives your child practice in learning to calm herself, slow her pace, and relax. Plus it helps her develop a valuable lifelong skill – the skill of learned relaxation.
Slow, gentle music (like Kindermusik’s You Are My Sunshine) can best provide an environment most conducive to relaxation. Some families have created a favorites playlist of all their favorite Kindermusik Quiet Time music. Or find new favorites to download at play.kindermusik.com. Search by style for lullabies. Find what your child likes, and then create a beloved and soothing routine by playing music whenever it’s time for your child to relax or go to sleep.
And so, in honor of National Napping Day, we encourage you to take a few moments to relax and listen to some beautiful music with your child today. You’ll love how good it makes you – and your child – feel!
In our baby music classes and toddler music classes, we almost always include a circle dance in every class. Together we’re a circle of support, love, and belonging.Those circle dances are great fun, but there’s serious purpose behind them too.
A circle is a symbol of community, and in it we all contribute equally. For your child, our circle dances give him a chance to see everyone, be part of our community, and to belong. There is no beginning or end to our circle, just as there are no leaders or followers; we all create our dance together.
Besides the power of the emotional connections created in our circle dancing, we are also igniting the brain to work at its fullest capacity. Only through movement and movement activities can the brain fully develop. As Anne Green Gilbert, dance and movement expert, explains: “The brain has a plan for development that involves specific and intensive motor activities to make full use of our complicated nervous system.”
“Circle dances come from the wonderful tradition of communities dancing together, a tradition which is timeless in origin and yet relevant today in its capacity to foster togetherness. Dancing in a circle actually benefits the mind, body, and spirit.” (Michaelsen)
Want to experience some of these same music and movement benefits in the best early childhood music classes on the planet? Come dance with us at Kindermusik! You can try a class on us for free!
Compiled by Theresa Case, whose Kindermusik program at Piano Central Studios in Greenville, SC, is proudly among the top 1% of Kindermusik programs worldwide.
(Source: National Association for Music Education)
Each March, we join with the National Association for Music Education for the observance of Music in Our Schools Month to help raise awareness of the importance of music education for all children.
With over 35 years of experience in using music to reach children of all abilities, we know without a doubt that music belongs in our schools. Why? Because that’s where our children are!
Music opens the door to learning
When young children are consistently engaged by music in an age-appropriate, socially accepting environment, they benefit at so many levels. Here are just a few…
- Early Literacy Skills. They gain the phonological processing, spoken language, and comprehension skills that are the foundation of reading and early literacy skills.
- Quantitative. They build the spatial-temporal and reasoning skills required for math, science, and engineering.
- Social-Emotional. They develop social and emotional skills that are essential for school readiness—like the ability to regulate their responses and relate to others in complex ways.
- Physical. By moving and dancing to music and playing simple instruments, children improve their gross and fine motor skills.
- Creative. Activities that encourage freedom within a fun and friendly structure spark children’s creativity and provide inspiration.
- And of course, they develop a lifelong love of music.
Music brings harmony to learning…and school
In the early childhood classroom, the teacher, the paraprofessional, and the children all contribute to the learning process and environment. This experiential environment where the learning process is shared by everyone in the group is called “social constructivism.” Music creates a learning environment where every participant contributes and takes away something unique based on their own experiences, both inside and outside the classroom. For example, in our early literacy curriculum, ABC Music & Me, our classes provide children with ample time to reflect, compare, make choices, express opinions and preferences, and engage in problem solving activities together. This teaches children not only the lesson focus but it also teaches them how to learn. Plus, these shared experiences create a sense of community, harmony, and even teaches empathy.
What about you?
Why do you think music belongs in our schools? Take a minute to let us know by posting on our Facebook page. In the meantime, listen to children from Public School 22 in Staten Island, New York. Yes, music belongs in our schools. Every child deserves the opportunities that music can bring. We think these children would agree!
Some celebrations should last more than one day. At Kindermusik, we think National Read Across America Day is one such day. It doesn’t necessarily mean we need to dress up like The Cat in the Hat every day, but we can celebrate the joy of reading to and with children every day.
On Friday, we kicked off National Read Across America Day with LeVar Burton and Reading Rainbow to celebrate the launch of our partnership to build early literacy skills in children. With the addition of Music Mountain Island to the Reading Rainbow tablet-based reading service, Kindermusik’s music themed books and videos are featured alongside other newly produced content from Reading Rainbow and their partners. Of course, the celebration doesn’t stop there. Parents and early childhood educators can make every day National Read Across America Day with these early literacy tips:
4 ways to support early literacy development
- Let children pick the books. Children will naturally gravitate towards specific books that reflect their tastes and interests. While you might not pick up a book about snakes or garbage trucks or fairies or kittens, those topics might be just the book to delight the child or children in your life.
- Introduce children to eBooks and digital learning. Your little one will never remember a time before touch screens, eBooks, and digital learning. Try the Reading Rainbow app for iPad or Kindle Fire. From sing-along stories to nursery rhymes, enjoy the library of musical tales that will encourage your little one to sing, dance, and read! Plus, music-themed video field trips hosted by LeVar Burton will take your family around the world to discover interesting musicians, music, and instruments! You can try the Reading Rainbow app for free!
- Play the part. Children learn through play. Encourage your little one to dress up like a favorite storybook character or act out the story using stuffed animals, Little People, or even the family pet. Pretending to be a part of the story helps children gain a greater understanding of the plot and characters, try out alternative endings, and even understand the world a little bit better. Added bonus: A child “in character” might be less reluctant to participate in certain daily routines and rituals, such as getting dressed or taking a bath.
- Point the way to reading. With very young children, reading doesn’t always look like, well, reading. However, pointing to the pictures on the page, making letter sounds, talking about what you see together gives children an early understanding of reading.
As an added bonus in celebrating National Read Across America Day, we’d like to share this video where LeVar Burton reads poetry selections from “I Am the Book”. Recently filmed in the library at Thomas Edison Elementary School – where Reading Rainbow and Kindermusik hosted an energetic Read-And-Sing-Along event for the children. Enjoy!
Looking for more ideas on making National Read Across America (and the World) Day—every day? Follow Kindermusik on Pinterest.
Yes, we know that today is February 28. But that means that tomorrow is March 1, and March is National Reading Month in the U.S. And what exactly do reading and early literacy skills have to do with music, you ask? More than you might think!
Here are just a few of the connections between music and reading – and just some of the reasons why literacy and books are an important part of our Kindermusik curricula and the musical learning that is so foundational to all we do:
• Music incorporates rhythm and tempo just like words and sentences do.
• You read music the same way you read music – from left to right.
• Patterns are as much a part of music as they are of reading.
• Music helps children learn to listen which is also an essential skill for literacy.
• In both music and reading, symbols are used when writing music and words.
In celebration of National Reading Month which kicks off with National Read Across Amercia Day on Monday, March 3, here are a few of our favorite music-themed books.
Musical Instruments from A to Z by Bobbie Kalman
Meet the Orchestra by Ann Hayes
Ah, Music! by Aliki
Music, Music for Everyone by Vera B. Williams
Hand Hand Fingers Thumb by Al Perkins
Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin by Lloyd Moss
Berlioz the Bear by Jan Brett
The Musical Life of Gustav Mole by Kathryn Meyrick
And here are some additional resources to help you and your child get reading.
Also, enjoy these Read Across America printables and resources from Seussville.com.
“You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read with a child.” ~ Dr. Seuss
Shared by Theresa Case, who has an award-winning Kindermusik program at Piano Central Studios in Greenville, SC.