So what is the #1 Tip for Preschool Success?…..Drumroll please…ENROLL IN KINDERMUSIK! [and stay enrolled]
(Ha! Did you really expect me to say anything else?) But seriously, let’s list the top 10 ways Kindermusik prepares your child for school:
Children love to snuggle in and be read to but in a room full of other children, one adult and one book becomes a shared experience. Kindermusik storytime includes a gentle process of orientation to circle time and group storytime in a classroom.
#9 TAKING TURNS AND SHARING
When we explore a single instrument in class—taking turns and going around the circle—children begin to understand that there are others who need a turn. Toddlers and preschoolers don’t look at a toy and think, “Gee, this is fun but wow, I bet she would love to play with it. I’ll just give it to her.” Nope, a child looks at it and says one word, “Mine!”
But when we take turns around the Kindermusik circle, somehow they get that. Children who know how to do that before they get to preschool are already a step ahead.
# 8 CREATIVITY
If a child is given freedom to explore for the first five years with open-ended toys, the creativity needed for school will be in place later. If you miss these opportunities, learning is much more difficult later. Our creative play in Kindermusik includes
- instrument exploration: “How does this work?”
- pretend play: “My scarf is a superhero cape, butterfly wing, snowflake…
- scaffolding: “How else can I tap the sticks?”
- open-ended toys: hoops can be rain puddles, wheels, boats, bathtubs, necklaces…
- These are the sorts of creativity-builders that make later learning flourish.
#7 PLAYS WELL WITH OTHERS?
Toddlers do not naturally play well with others. Why would they? Developmentally, they immersed in the “The World Revolves Around Me” phase. To prepare for interaction in the classroom, why not have a steady familiar group of supportive, forgiving pals to play with in small doses every week. Kindermusik provides just enough structure for this in an emotionally secure place (with caregiver nearby to intervene and guide). Plus, your Licensed Educator is gushing with child development tips!
#6 ACTIVE LISTENING
A child who knows how to listen, not just hear, will have a real advantage in school. Listening takes intention and requires attention, discrimination, understanding and memory. Won’t your child’s schoolteachers be grateful for a student who actually tunes into what is being said?
#5 FINE MOTOR FOR WRITING
Just about every Kindermusik class includes some sort of fingerplay activity like “Johnny Johnny Whoops.” Whether preparing to do things for himself independently (button a shirt or tie a shoe) or manipulate a pencil, your child will be ready!
#4 BUILDING VOCABULARY
I taught Bodyrhythmics for 9 years and was continually amazed by how few children understood direction words: “Come forward/move backward; get close/far” and the like. Movement vocabulary is a natural part of our motor skill development in Kindermusik.
We also build vocabulary through storytime but above all, think of the vocabulary your child has acquired just by knowing the lyrics to so many songs! His/her word bank is growing exponentially every time you learn a new song together.
#3 PRE-READING BRAIN BUILDERS
Ask any elementary-age reading teacher with years of experience and do you know what they’ll say is one of the best therapies for slow readers? Crawling! We purposefully include crawling and cross lateral movement in Kindermusik. To strengthen the corpus colossom, thereby facilitating ease in reading later.
Additionally, all of our movement in class develops spatial awareness. For children to be able to read and write, they must have a strong sense of directionality. If a child feels direction and shape with the body, reading and writing on a one-dimensional page will be natural.
#2 FUN WITH MOM (or Dad, Grandma, Nanny)
You get six short years before your child goes to school all day every. Cherish these moments to guide your child’s learning as you participate together in Kindermusik. You are your child’s first, best and favorite teacher. Savor every minute! Research has shown that your child will learn better because of the strong emotional foundation now.
#1 INHIBITORY CONTROL
Study after study after study has shown that the biggest predictor of success in school is NOT IQ. It is inhibitory control, the ability to self-regulate.
Music itself—sound and silence—naturally builds inhibitory control better than anything else. On top of that, what we do in Kindermusik—stop and go games, sound and silence, fast and slow playing, staccato/legato moving—builds self-control in the whole child, from head to toe.
And if that’s not enough for you, where else but Kindermusik can you get a room full of preschoolers to dance like crazy, then lay themselves down and rest for nearly three minutes. How’s that for being ready for school?
Oh, and one more thing. Stay enrolled! A 2005 study showed that children who were continuously enrolled in Kindermusik semester after semester reaped the greatest benefits: “…Structured musical experience during the early childhood years in the form of Kindermusik is related to increased behavioral self-regulation and use of self-regulatory speech in young children.”
Parents: What Kindermusik experiences have best prepared your child for preschool?