7 reasons for children under 7 to learn a second language

Je suis. Tu es. Il est. Nous sommes. If you studied a second language in high school or college, you probably know all about conjugating verbs. As teenagers or adults, learning the grammar rules of another language often form the foundation for second-language learning. However, teaching a second language to children looks completely different. After all, children under the age of 7 can’t read or write. However, young children are uniquely suited to learn another language. Here’s why:

7 reasons for children under 7 to learn another language

  1. Learning a second language under the age of 7 is cognitively as easy as learning a first language. Young children learn languages by listening to the sounds, structures, and intonation patterns around them. So young ELL students learn English the same way they learn their first language.
  2. Young English language learners learn to speak like a native speaker, without an accent.7 reasons for children under 7 to learn a second language
  3. Teaching English as a second language positively impacts the cognitive development in children. According to research, children who learn a second language experience better critical-thinking skills, enhanced spatial relations, and increased creativity when compared to their monolingual peers.
  4. Acquiring second-language fluency prepares children to live and work in a global society.
  5. Young English language learners experience a boost in the language and literacy abilities of their first language, including vocabulary development. Added bonus: this advantage continues to broaden as children grow older.
  6. Children who learn a second language exhibit enhanced attention skills when compared to monolingual peers.
  7. Learning a second language at an early age increases children’s confidence and teaches them to love learning. 

ESL curriculum uses English songs for kids (and more!)

Our ESL curriculum builds on our more than 35 years of teaching young children. Through English songs for kids, story time, movement activities, and puppets, young ELL students learn English in a fun and engaging environment using research-proven methods. Plus, enrollment includes access to Kindermusik@Home where parents can support the English language learning at home where a child can continue to naturally acquire language skills.

Kindermusik@Home ESL activityTry this sample Kindermusik@Home activity. The Just Me! music video incorporates a multi-sensory teaching approach to support visual, auditory, and tactile learning.

Learn more about Kindermusik’s English Language Learning curriculum, ABC English & Me. 

Contributed by Lisa Camino Rowell, a freelance writer in the Atlanta area. 

 

4 Benefits of Music for Preschoolers

Kindermusik_SoundtrackForAnySeason_web-250x250-250x250Imaginative.  Adventurous.  Exuberant.  Brash.  Social.  Silly.  Musical.   Preschoolers are the living definition of all of these words… and more!  It’s what we love most about this delightful age.  Their energy, curiosity, and delight in living life out loud are fostered by an increasing sense of independence and self-confidence.  They are developing their individuality and want to be noticed and acknowledged.  Preschoolers are social butterflies, and their social skills are blossoming, as are their growing abilities to cooperate, problem-solve, share, and make friends.

Play is the preschooler’s work.  In fact, there is no better way for these eager and curious thinkers to learn, grow, and develop than through play – play alone and play with others – including mom and dad!  The expansiveness of the preschooler’s personality overflows into his vocabulary and self-expression.  Preschoolers love playing with words, and they like to talk. A lot.  And if you’ve heard it once, you’ve answered it a thousand times – this is the age of “why.”  It’s how they learn and interact.  Their movements become more expansive too, and the need to move is because of their boundless amounts of energy.  (And you thought you were tired chasing them as toddlers!)

But perhaps the best way to sum up the preschooler season of childhood is with the word “readiness.”  Preschoolers are on the verge of so much potential.  They are ready – ready to try new things, take turns, be challenged, and work cooperatively with others.  Simply put, they’re ready to get ready!

With music as the vehicle, Kindermusik helps your child be ready.  Ready to face life head on, ready for school, ready for new adventures, and ready for that next step in music.  Movement, imagination, play, creativity, exploration, interacting, and ensemble all set the stage for making sure your child has every advantage in a very critical season of childhood – that wonderful transition from baby to big kid that we call “preschooler”!

Here are four of the most powerful benefits of music for preschoolers:

1. Music encourages children to move. 

Movement and music are as closely connected as movement and learning.  At a time when there are increasing concerns about how long these young children are being required to sit still, being able to move to music is a gift.  Here’s how a Washington Post reporter summed it up in her recent article, “In order for children to learn, they need to be able to pay attention.  In order to pay attention, we need to let them move.”

2. Music fosters a sense of community and belonging.

At the core of every human being is a desire to belong.  When that need to belong is fulfilled, it contributes to healthy emotional development and well-being.  Self-confidence grows as a child learns to function within a group.  And there’s no happier group experience than making music together!

3. Music provides an outlet for self-expression.

With gifts, experiences, thoughts, and ideas that simply overflow, a music class offers a secure environment for each individual child to explore, learn, and contribute.  The value is in the experience itself with play, discovery, singing, story telling, and new challenges as the tools that open the door for self-expression, meaningful learning, and a lifelong love for music.

4. Music readiness and academic readiness go hand-in-hand.

The same skills and experiences necessary for a child to be ready for music lessons when they are older are the same skills and experiences that enhance and even accelerate academic readiness and success.  Listening, identifying patterns, problem-solving, creative thinking, and self-confidence are skills that music develops – skills that are also a measurable contributors to academic achievement.

For parents…

preschoolerYou want to give your child every advantage.  And yet, you don’t want to let him or her grow up too fast.  Childhood is meant to be savored and enjoyed, a time that you share experiences and create memories that stay in the heart for years to come.

Kindermusik helps you linger in those precious moments of childhood and make the most of the preschool season with your child.  With a class structure that includes time apart and time together, Kindermusik is perfect for the preschool season of childhood.  You’ll love watching your child blossom, and you’ll love the way your time together in class and your music-making at home brings you together in new and special ways.

And the icing on the cake is knowing that you’re giving your child a gift that truly lasts a lifetime – the gift of a musical foundation and love for music that uniquely prepares your child like no other single activity can.

Kindermusik is where music and learning playExperience the benefits of Kindermusik for yourself.  Contact a local Kindermusik educator and visit a free class today!

6 reasons music belongs in a Head Start or preschool program

6 reasons music belongs in a Head Start or preschool programSomething amazing happens in a preschool classroom when music comes out to play. Children (and teachers!) smile and laugh, hum or sing along, and move their bodies to the steady beat. Children express thoughts and feelings naturally and easily through movement and music. However, the benefits of music reach beyond the simple pleasure of making music together. Participating in musical activities preps children for so much more than, well, music appreciation. It actually primes the brain for learning and sets a child up for success in school now—and later!

6 reasons to bring music and movement into a Head Start, Early Head Start, or Preschool program

  1. Movement stimulates the release of chemicals in a child’s brain that support memory and learning. Young children move to learn and learn to move. Music education classes for young children encourage them to move around the classroom and practice using their arms, legs, feet, and their entire bodies. In our Head Start curriculum, when we clap hello at the beginning of class, fly like a bird, stand and stretch our arms high like a tree, or even dance around the room, children strengthen and refine gross motor skills. Plus, all of this movement supports memory and learning, promotes vestibular system development, and engages the body and mind. In early childhood development, movement prepares children for learning! Valerie Strauss explained it this way in The Washington Post article, “Why so many kids can’t sit still in school today: “In order for children to learn, they need to be able to pay attention. In order to pay attention, we need to let them move.”
  2. Music teaches children sequencing. Being able to break down a task into steps from first to last, helps young children comprehend a story, complete a math problem, and even get dressed to go to school each morning. Plus, breaking down a task—like getting ready for recess—into steps (clean up area, push in chair, put on jacket, stand in line, etc.) gives young children practice in self-management, which reduces frustration. In our preschool curriculum, we provide lots of sequencing opportunities through music and movement activities.
  3. Children gain practice in recognizing relationships between sounds and symbols. Do you remember taking spelling tests as a child? Sitting at your desk, listening intently as your teacher said a word, and then trying to visualize what the word looked like while also attempting to write it on your paper? Listening, identifying the word, and then writing the word down helped you become a better reader. Although we don’t give spelling tests (or any tests, for that matter) in our preschool curriculum, we do give children’s ears lots of musical practice in listening to rhythms, identifying what they hear, repeating them, and using rhythm cards to “write” the patterns down. We call this process rhythmic dictation. So, while we “ta ta ti-ti ta,” clap, pick out the right rhythm card, or play an instrument along with the music, young children gain practice in recognizing relationships between sounds and symbols, which supports preschoolers budding musicianship and early literacy skills.
  4. Music helps children develop self-regulation skills. Self-regulation is the ability to control our thoughts, feelings, and actions. Our Head Start curriculum uses music and movement to help children learn to tell their bodies what to do, when to stop, when to go, and when to move to another activity. So, when we play a Stop & Go game, participate in a circle dance, transition from one activity to another, and even share instruments, young children learn and practice self-regulation skills. Those same skills help children pay attention throughout the school day and act and behave appropriately.
  5. Music builds early literacy and language skills. Research indicates that our brains process music and language in similar ways because they share fundamental connections. Understanding a spoken sentence requires the successful auditory processing of the individual phonemes combined with the intonation communicated by pitch. In addition, music supports comprehension, phonological awareness, vocabulary acquisition, and print development.
  6. Every child and every parent speaks music, regardless of abilities and the language used in the home. Parent involvement in early childhood education matters. Every preschool teacher and Head Start administrator understands that it can be the difference between a child exceeding…or not.  After all, a parent is a child’s first and best teacher, especially in those critical first seven years. It’s one of the reasons our Head Start curriculum includes monthly materials for families to use together at home, where a child learns best. These materials include the music from class and the book as well as practical ideas and tips on incorporating the music and movement activities throughout a family’s daily routines and rituals.

Learn About Kindermusik at SchoolFor more information about bringing music into your Head Start or preschool program, email us at abcinfo@kindermusik.com. Be sure to ask how children participating in our classes for 30 minutes a week experience a 32 percent more literacy gain.

Contributed by Lisa Camino Rowell, a freelance writer living in Atlanta, Georgia.

4 Benefits of Music for Toddlers

Kindermusik_SoundtrackForAnySeason_web-250x250-250x250Toddlers are well, busy.  They love to go, move, do, and say “No!”  They also desperately crave predictability and routine.  Parents are challenged by near polar opposite behavior – one minute all is well; the next, there’s a meltdown.  A toddler will cling to mom as if he’ll never let go, and the next moment adamantly assert the independence of a teenager.  At the same time, toddlers are becoming very social, interested in other people and moving from parallel play where they play alongside other children to cooperative play where they start to play with the other children.

If all of these changes weren’t enough, brain development is literally exploding.  In fact, the only two times in a child’s life when there is such significant brain activity is when he/she is a toddler and a teenager.  Vocabulary and communication skills are blossoming, as the toddler goes from about 10 words in his vocabulary to upwards of 300 or so words by age 3.  Motor skills are also developing at a rapid rate – suddenly the child who was barely toddling along is now running, jumping, and galloping everywhere.  Whew!  No wonder moms and dads of toddlers are extra busy – and exhausted! – during this particular season of childhood.

With so much happening inside your toddler’s busy little mind and body, Kindermusik is one activity that beautifully supports and enhances this crucial season in your child’s life.

Though we could probably name a hundred, here are four benefits of music for toddlers:

BenefitsOfKindermusik_MusicClassesForToddlers_Infographic1.  A music class like Kindermusik provides an environment that is both stimulating and nurturing for toddlers.

With so much growth and development happening, toddlers need both the challenge of new things to learn and do as well as the comfort of loving adults and activities that nurture the soul.

2.  Early experiences with music and movement give your toddler an early learning advantage.

The connection between music and academic achievement is undeniable, as highlighted in this recent article.  There’s no better time to be enrolled in music classes than the toddler years when brain growth and development is at its peak, especially with the powerful combination that music and movement gives.

3.  Music, specifically singing songs and speaking rhymes and chants, improves language development.

At a time when language development is most crucial, there’s nothing more beneficial to speech, syntax, and pre-literacy than singing simple songs and reciting chants.  It will start with a few words here and there and then eventually grow into a small repertoire of favorite songs and rhymes that your toddler can sing or say all the way through.

4.  Early childhood music classes put a song in a child’s heart to stay.

Toddlers love music, and giving them an early start with music plants the seeds that bloom into a lifelong love for and appreciation of music.  Music is one gift you can give your toddler that will have a lifetime of meaning, memories, impact, and joy.  No other activity has the potential to influence your child like music does.

For parents…

dad and child at KindermusikThe entire Kindermusik experience, from class to home (and back again!), provides a vital support network for parents of busy toddlers.  Not only does Kindermusik foster and strengthen the parent-child relationship, but Kindermusik classes are also a social outlet for parents as well, a place to share both the joys and challenges of parenting a toddler.

And since Kindermusik is all about helping make great parenting a little easier and even more musical, parents benefit tremendously from all of the helpful tips, ideas, and resources (including your Kindermusik Home Materials) that will help you navigate and enjoy the toddler years to their fullest.

Best of all, parents enjoy a unique kind of bonding and together time with your toddler that only music can give.  With Kindermusik, you’ll be able to savor and linger in those precious, fleeting moments of toddlerhood with more cuddles, hugs, dances, lullabies, giggles, and sweet memories.

Experience the benefits of Kindermusik for yourself.  Contact a local Kindermusik educator and visit a free class today!

5 ways Kindermusik helps preschoolers reach early learning benchmarks

Preschool teachers notice the signs long before the children do. Boxes of sharpened and unused crayons. Full canisters of tempura paints. New bags of sand for the sensory table. The smell of the freshly laminated name tags. Yes, all signs point to a new school year starting soon!

At the beginning of each school year, preschool teachers gather more than new supplies for the classroom. They also gather key information about the children by identifying and describing each child’s development in various domains. This benchmarking helps educators support the growth of each child to his or her fullest potential throughout the year.

Kindermusik_PreschoolClassroom_MusicAndSensoryLearningOur early childhood curriculum uses music and movement to support the development and learning across and within domains. We use music to reach children of all abilities and in a classroom of children exhibiting a range of skills and competences.

Whether used in a preschool, Head Start or Early Head Start program, public school, or other early learning setting, Kindermusik’s early childhood curriculum delivers proven results. In fact, children participating for just 30 minutes a week experience a 32 percent more literacy gain than other children. Here are just some of the ways we use music, movement, and stories to help children reach standard benchmarks.

5 ways our early childhood curriculum helps children reach benchmarks

  1. Our Storytime gives preschool teachers ways to ask and answer questions about key details such as the plot or the characters. We know that children benefit from hearing the story multiple times, so it’s repeated weekly in each unit for preschoolers to become familiar with plot, characters, settings, and main events.
  2. Our Hosted Teaching CDs provide brief introductions with key information about a story’s topic and setting. In the second half of each unit, lessons pose a range of recall, inferential, compare/contrast, and beyond-the-text questions. At the end of storytime, the lessons give preschoolers opportunities to ask or answer questions about the story that can help deepen their understanding of the story or subject.
  3. KindermusikPresents_ABCMusicAndMe_AGlobalEarlyChildhoodCurriculum[1]Our songs and poems use rhyme to improve phonological awareness. Research shows that lyrics can help young children improve their comprehension and build their vocabulary and listening skills. Plus, the engaging nature of music helps motivate young children to learn. And, of course, building vocabulary, comprehension, and listening skills are all part of the preschool standards.
  4. Our songs, poems, rhymes, and rituals inspire children to acquire vocabulary incidentally by reading and listening to stories. The texts’ illustrations and activities give children tools to learn new vocabulary through both seeing and doing. To ensure comprehension, teachers often pause the Hosted Teaching CD and ask questions to assess learning as well as answer student questions.
  5. Each unit also includes explicit vocabulary instruction. Words essential to songs and poems appear on picture cards and are introduced through direct instruction or by modeling during group discussions. Research supports the use of direct vocabulary instruction, including the effectiveness of having young children learn robust, academic words.

 

Learn About Kindermusik at SchoolTo learn more about using our early childhood curriculum, ABC Music & Me, email us at abcinfo@kindermusik.com.