“Spring Forward” with Kindermusik at The George Center!

It seems like we may finally be seeing the end of our long Georgia winter. We’ve had a glorious few preview days of spring! With the warmer weather and the longer daylight hours, little ones (and parents) are itching to get out of the house and go, go, go! Our Kindermusik classes are the perfect place to move and groove while gaining developmental benefits and making new friends!

In our classes, we’re doing so much more than just playing instruments and dancing together. Each song, instrument, or dance helps to reinforce important developmental skills in a way that little ones (and grown-ups) find fun and entertaining. Here are just a few of the developmental skills we’re working on in Kindermusik classes this month, as well as some ideas for incorporating them into playtime at home!

Spatial Awareness - the ability to comprehend where you are in space and to understand the position of objects in relation to each other and to yourself. It’s a tricky skill for little ones who are just getting the hang of cruising around, but an important one to learn and practice in order to stay safe as they learn to walk, run, and navigate the world around them. There are even studies that show a link between spatial awareness and artistic creativity, success in math, and the development of abstract thought. One great way to practice is with one of my all-time favorite songs, The Hokey Pokey! Try including your little one’s name or favorite toys in the song. Warning: could lead to extreme silliness and laughter.

Social Development – We tell our little ones all the time to use nice words, share, and be kind to friends, but in an era where the majority of us show our friendship by “liking” someone’s Facebook status, it can be hard for kiddos to learn what exactly being a friend means. Kindermusik class is a great place for littles to practice cooperation, turn taking, active listening, paying attention, and other key social development skills that will help them grow to be a socially confident and adept people. They get to see their grown-ups demonstrating these skills, as well. At home, try exploring the lost art of letter writing. Pick a friend or neighbor with a little one close in age to yours to be your Pen Pal. Draw pictures or leave notes for each other. Your littles will each love giving and receiving these gifts of friendship.

Creating Community – Each week in class we create a safe and joyful place to belong and connect with other families. There is an authentic bond formed between children and their grown-ups singing and dancing together, but that connection carries over from family to family! After one of my classes this week, I overheard several families scheduling a playdate together with some new friends they had made. Kindermusik classes are a great place to celebrate the wonder of parenthood and childhood along with other families who understand the joys and challenges of parenting. So whether you’re first-time parents, in a family of 8, or the family of a child with special needs, Kindermusik class is a place to breathe, belong, and connect. Why not try out a free preview class this month and check out our Kindermusik community for yourself? We look forward to seeing you!

Sign up for a FREE preview class here

Contact andrea@thegeorgecenter.com for more information!

 

 

Round Up, December 9th

Happy Monday readers! Just a few quick links to share on the Round Up today, enjoy!

New Kindermusik Schedule for Winter 2014 Now Available!

 

First, a bit of housekeeping. Our new schedule for Kindermusik classes is now available! Check out the PDF brochure above to browse the class offerings, then get registered before the classes fill up!

Susan Boyle: my relief at discovering that I have Asperger's (The Guardian)

Susan Boyle made a worldwide splash with her famous audition on Britain's Got Talent and has since recorded albums that have been popular in nations across the Earth. Boyle said recently that she went to a doctor and was diagnosed with Asperger's. The diagnosis came as a relief to Boyle by helping answer some questions she had about herself.

This is the second celebrity this year to announce that they are on the autism spectrum, which can be a big boost to individuals with autism who feel bullied or slighted because of their differences.

Explainer: What is Music Therapy? (The Conversation)

While this is a pretty basic overview of music therapy, it's neat to see it on this website which deals with scientific and academic topics and discussions. Our field is growing everyday!

Interested in learning more about music therapy specifically for your child? Sign up for our free consultation!

 

What's the Coolest Thing About Kindermusik?

It’s Back to School time again, and a new semester of Kindermusik is about to get underway! Ms. Kirby and I are ready to sing, dance, and play along with everyone for our first week of classes starting September 6th. If you’ve been a part of Kindermusik at The George Center in the past, then hold on to your hats, because we are shaking things up this semester and rolling out some brand new class options, as well as some awesome Kindermusik@Home digital materials!

We know that music can impact a child’s development and early academic success. We also know that children learn best through repetition, which we achieve through carrying various class activities through week to week, and providing families with physical home materials (books, CDs, instruments) to use together at home. However, as time goes by, more and more children are engaging in digital learning from an early age.

I’m really quite excited about this new digital learning platform. I receive many requests from parents for recommendations for age-appropriate apps and computer games that also encourage growth and development. After exploring these digital materials while preparing for the start of classes next week, I have to say I am very impressed with the way they combine both a responsible introduction to technology AND plenty of hands-on learning and fun. The Kindermusik@Home platform allows you to access your favorite songs, activities, and stories from class on your smart phone, tablet, or computer. There are also a bunch of fun extras, like recipes, interactive learning games, crafts, and more!

One of my favorite parts of teaching Kindermusik is hearing how families continue the learning at home over the week. A great thing about Kindermusik@Home is the easy access to learning and fun, both at home and on the go! Ever been stuck in the waiting room of a doctor’s office, or an extra-long line at the grocery store? Maybe you’ve found yourself having to occupy kiddos inside on a rainy day (like every day last week in Atlanta…). It’s sometimes hard to resist the temptation to just hand over the Angry Birds, and instead turn the situation into one for learning and parent-child bonding. I know that our Kindermusik families this semester are going to find it that much easier to create those opportunities for play time and togetherness!

Kindermusik@Home isn’t the only new thing this semester. We’re boldly going where we’ve never gone before and launching “ongoing enrollment”! This means that once you sign up for class, then your enrollment continues for as long as you would like, allowing for continued developmental benefits for your child. Every 4 weeks we will explore a new theme, and families will gain access to new materials through Kindermusik@Home.  Let’s make the world a greener, more musical place!

Did you get all that? Good. Time for a pop quiz!

On the fence about Kindermusik? Sign up for a free preview!

 

Music Therapy for Royal Babies

Ah, baby fever has gripped the world with the arrival of the Royal Baby.

Everyone loves a baby, especially music therapists. That might be because of all the fascinating research out there on music therapy and infants. We've discussed the amazing outcomes music therapy in the NICU can produce here before, but it's not just premature infants who benefit from music! Music is a fantastic developmental tool, and classes like our Kindermusik groups really take advantage of those powerful effects.

But what you may not realize is just how tuned to music and sound a baby's ears are from birth! In honor of the Royal Baby, I thought I'd share one of my very favorite studies from the Journal of Music Therapy on aural stimuli presented to infants and what their preferences are. The results really are quite amazing.

Comparison of Infant Preferences and Responses to Auditory Stimuli: Music, Mother, and Other Female Voice (Journal of Music Therapy, 1990)

Alright, prepare yourself for possibly the most adorable study in the history of science. In order to study the preference of each infant (aged 2-8 months), the researchers attached a switch to the baby's ankle. By moving her leg, the infant could control 2 tape recorders and choose to either listen to her mother's voice reading a book or a random female voice. Other measures were used to gauge interest, such as eye focus.

The results indicated that the mother's voice was preferred over all other stimuli, though these results were not significant. Interestingly, there WAS a significant difference between the age of the infants, with younger infants preferring their mother's voice. Another interesting result was that the babies listened more intently to the music stimuli, as measured by their gaze towards the sound source.

Pretty fascinating to think that even at that young age, these babies can A) use a switch to make choices and B) recognize the difference between their mother's voice and another woman's voice!

If I had to guess, I'd say the newborn Royal Baby probably prefers the voice of the Duchess of Cambridge over all the other voices going on all around him right about now (certainly more than all the media squawking, right?)

Interested in learning more about what music therapy can offer your own little Royal Baby? Sign up for a free consultation!

 

 

Image Credit: Flickr user David Holt London

The Importance of Performance Opportunities for Young Children

In addition to improving creativity, learning and performing music cultivates many skills that will continue to be useful to your child throughout their lives. Researchers have found a significant relationship between music instruction and positive performances in such areas as reading comprehension, spelling, mathematics, listening skills, cognitive functioning (verbal, perceptual, numeric, and spatial) and motor skills.

Recently, our team here at The George Center was asked to do a podcast on how performance opportunities lend themselves to music therapy. We will share that podcast with you soon, but in the meantime, here is a list of a few of our favorite goals when working with little ones using performances during music therapy.

  1. Self-Confidence - The act of learning and playing an instrument, the encouragement of a teacher and the enthusiasm of a proud parent, will build in a child a sense of pride and confidence. Moreover, children who practice self-expression and creativity often become better communicators later in life.
  2. Appropriate Behavior - There is a time and a place for silly and the stage is usually not the time or place.
  3. Goal Setting - Assigning pieces for a performance helps to teach young children about setting goals and obtaining them within a specified time frame.
  4. Practice - Practice may not make not make perfect, but it certainly makes BETTER! And it’s a great skill to learn early in life! Learning the skill of focused practice can teach children skill sets that can assist them down the road with homework and other tasks that require focused attention.
  5. Concentration - Learning a musical instrument will help your child develop concentration, as they must focus on a particular activity over extended periods of time. Developing concentration in this way will also help then when they must focus their attention on other subjects at school.
  6. Coordination - Practicing musical instruments improves hand-eye coordination, as well as left/right hand coordination. Children develop important motor skills when playing music just as they do when playing different sports.
  7. Recreation - Playing and performing music is fun AND functional!
  8. Patience and Perseverance - In order to learn a musical instrument, children must develop patience and perseverance, which will help them later in life when they must tackle other more difficult challenges.

 

We look forward to providing performance opportunities for your little ones! Check out our Kindermusik classes or contact us TODAY to schedule a FREE consultation with one of our talented music therapists!

 

Round Up, Early Childhood Edition! May 20

Continuing our early childhood music theme from last week to pump up our new summer Kindermusik classes, today's Round Up features music and health stories centered on early childhood! Let's get to it!

 

Music in early childhood has a direct link to reading readiness (Michigan State University)

New research shows that children involved in music at an early age are more ready for reading and writing when the time comes! Cool stuff.

 

Music Therapy Gives Premature Babies A Boost (WRIC)

Neat write up on the music therapy program at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital in Chicago.

Music brings together children with disabilities and their peers (Journal of Music Therapy)

Cool study here that showed that a music group increased social interactions between children with a disability and their typical peers.

Imagine Magazine (American Music Therapy Association)

 

Did you know the American Music Therapy Association publishes an online magazine ALL about early childhood music therapy? Did you know the therapy team here at The George Center will be featured in this magazine next month doing a podcast on early childhood music therapy? We'll put the podcast up here once it's published, but check out some past issues at the link above!

Ready to sign up for some early childhood music classes? Sign up for our summer Kindermusik classes!

 

Explore the Benefits of Music for Children in Schools and Daycare Centers

Kindermusik isn't just for individual families, The George Center offers our Kindermusik classes to schools and day care centers in Atlanta as well! We're featuring information on Kindermusik and early childhood music this week on the blog, check out this great info from Kindermusik!

Young children thrive on music. Music and movement education is the last thing that should be cut from school budgets. There is a grave misconception that music is educationally peripheral, when in fact music is the best vehicle for early childhood literacy. Luckily, Kindermusik is expanding into schools and day care centers.

Kindermusik is a leading publisher of early childhood education curricula. Each research-based curriculum uses music and movement as a vehicle to better engage and teach young children. Carefully sequenced instruction using music, storytelling, and activities strengthens neural pathway development for greater cognitive connection-making, coordination, and even memory. Kindermusik students have also shown significant gains in abstract reasoning, spatial and temporal reasoning, and self-control.

Working parents are so thrilled to have the opportunity to bring the quality of Kindermusik offerings into their children’s lives through the premiere Kindermusik enrichment programs that promote skills development and school-readiness. Every child enrolled in our daycare and pre-school curriculums receives four sessions per month, plus access to digital home materials that increase parent involvement by connecting the classroom learning to the home environment. We know how hard you work to keep parents connected to the classroom experience. Plus, research shows that parent involvement in early childhood education increases school-readiness, social skills, and more. We want to help.

Each month parents receive access to their own online site where they can enjoy their child’s curriculum through Kindermusik@Home. These home materials are provided in an easy-to-use, green-friendly, digital format and describe in detail activities from class, as well as provide unique insight and information on how a child learns. Parents will love this customized online subscription to what’s happening every week at your center and you will love the increased parent involvement in preschool that boosts customer loyalty.

In addition, the ABC Music & Me curriculum, our licensed Kindermusik instructors guide children through flexible 30-minute lessons. ABC Music & Me is an early childhood music curriculum that is standards-based and used as a supplemental daycare or preschool curriculum. All three levels of our research-supported curriculum cultivate turn-taking and sharing, improve coordination, enhance creativity, and boost early language development and pre-literacy. Each week, teachers begin a new thematic unit with teacher tools and Student Take Home Kits, complete with instruments, CDs, stories, early literacy activities, and parent notes. ABC Music & Me is proof that music education translates into every facet of children’s academic success.

Here’s a sneak peek into a Kindermusik classroom!

Content Credit: kindermusik.com

Does Kindermusik sound like a great fit for your school, daycare, after-school or headstart program? Contact us to day to set up a FREE Kindermusik DEMO class for your school TODAY!

 

Content Credit: kindermusik.com

 

Kindermusik, for a Child’s Brain, Body, Heart and Soul

All Summer long, The George Center is offering music-based early childhood development classes through the Kindermusik program! We offer inclusive Kindermusik classes open to children with and without special needs in the metro-Atlanta area. This week, we're featuring blog posts about the benefits of the Kindermusik program. Check out this great write-up from Kindermusik on the benefits of music for children as they grow!

There are many things to do with kids – why not make it fun & educational?

Children thrive on music. It’s one of the best vehicles for learning in early childhood development. Kindermusik takes musical learning to the next level; the curriculum is proven to improve a child’s brain development. And for parents, it’s a fun thing to do with kids!

Psychologists, neuroscientists, and experts in early childhood development have demonstrated that music does more for children than bring them joy; it helps their brain cells make the connections needed for virtually every kind of intelligence.

When young children are consistently engaged by music in an age-appropriate, socially accepting environment, they benefit at many levels:

  • Early Literacy. They gain the phonological processing, spoken language, and comprehension skills that are the foundation of reading.
  • 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 their creativity.

And of course, they develop a lifelong love of music.

The “Benefits of Music” section of the Minds on Music blog integrates the latest research in children’s music education into our curriculum. As Educators, we understand that our curriculum must grow with the dynamic results of scientific research. We’re constantly finding new and exciting benefits of music every day, and using them to create countless activities for kidsparenting tipsstories from Educators, and exciting new ways to enjoy Kindermusik@Home.

We firmly believe that parents are the best teachers for their children. With Kindermusik, we make it easy to involve parents, in their children’s education and development. In the classroom, our educators will guide you with tips and suggestions to enhance your child’s experience. And Kindermusik@Home, our new online activities and parenting resources, will enable you and your kids to continue the learning, laughing and discovering.

Does Kindermusik sound perfect for you and your little one? We would love to register you and your kiddo for one of our upcoming Kindermusik classes! Click here to register online or contact us for more information!

Content and Image Credit: Kindermusik