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Why we do what we do

What’s Happening in “Our Time” Classes!

By January 27, 2014February 17th, 2014No Comments

January 2014:

What we’re doing and why we do it!


Active Listening

Active listening is a process that goes beyond the physical act of hearing.  It is an intellectual and emotional process that integrates a full range of inputs in a search for the meaning of and an understanding of a sender’s message.  It involves listening “between the lines” to hear what is not said as well as what is said.

I’ve Been Workin’ On The Railroad: The Movement-Vision-Reading Connection

Our visual sense functions…when our eyes are actively moving… When the body and head move, the vestibular system is activated, and the eye muscles strengthen as they move in response.  The more the eyes move, the more the muscles of both eyes work together.  Later on, this “eye teaming” will enable these now-toddlers to focus as well as to track and to concentrate as they learn to read in school.

Story Time and Literacy

Reading picture books together with adults helps children internalize some skills that are crucial in the development of true literacy.

Reading together fosters reading enjoyment; provides predictability through repetition; introduces new vocabulary; expands understanding of story structures; promotes critical thinking; encourages language play and creative expression.

Kindermusik Music & Movement Story Time provides all these important benefits as well as helping develop music literacy through the rhythm and movement elements of the Kindermusik story books

New River Train: Tempo

Tempo is central to transportation as well as to music. The 1 1/2 -3 -year-old child is learning to control and coordinate his body’s movements and is naturally interested in the concepts of fast and slow.  In home and class activities, the child has a multi-sensory experience of tempo, hearing fast and slow, moving quickly and slowly, and seeing others move quickly and slowly.

Riding the Rails (playing sticks): Internal control

Control of the body is the first kind of control children have over themselves and is the first step toward the development of internal control or “self-discipline.”  Activities that encourage the child to focus, listen, then react through movement or non-movement develop a strong sense of internal control.

Vocal Play

The smallest units of speech are called phonemes. Vocal games that play with sounds and segment words into phonemes help your child’s language development. Think about this as you make the sounds indicated in Choo-Choo Train.

The harmonica is associated with railroad life and culture in American history. You can enjoy listening for the railroad sounds of harmonica on the Home CD in I’ve been working on the Railroad and Riding the Rails. By following the instructions in your Home Activity Book, you can play a railroad song for your child on your Kindermusik harmonica.  Look on pages 16-17.

This Is A Choo Choo Train: Pretend Play

Imitation is the first stage of pretend play.  As imitation evolves it becomes more imaginative.  The complexity of pretend play can be seen when the child re-examines life experiences by adding or changing the happening.  Benefits of pretend play include vocabulary development; social skill development; differentiation between reality and fantasy; emotional support.

Arkansas Traveler Dance: Early Learning Environments

According to a New York Longitudinal Study, three major factors in early learning environments lend to competency in adulthood: rich sensory environments; freedom to explore with few restriction; and available parents that acted as consultants.

Alabama Gal: Movement With Props (hoops)

Children ages 1½ – 3 learn primarily through movement.  In order to learn they must manipulate objects and participate in body movement.

“Walk & Stop”: Inhibitory Control

Toddlers love to go, but toddlers also need to learn how to stop, which is good for quiet time, taking turns, sharing, and being safe. Learning to stop in the middle of a fun activity gives your busy toddler a chance to learn what we call inhibitory control, or the ability to control her actions.

The sudden “stop” in the middle of bouncing, walking, or running teaches self-control through fun, active play. It’s fun and full of giggles, but you know the real secret: she’s getting ready to follow directions in school, wait for her turn, and more.

“Egg-Shakin” Blues: The 12-Bar Blues

Early on, children detect not only the phonemes used in their native tongue but also the syntax of their language.  Music also has syntax, and part of the development of musical literacy is recognition of musical syntax and form.  The activity to the music of the Toe-Tappin’, Foot-Stompin’, Egg-Shakin’ Blues provides exposure to the American (originally African-American) form called the 12-bar-blues. The most well-known blues form, the 12-bar-blues is based on a set progression of chords across 12 measures of music.

Home Activity Suggestions:

The Train and tunnel Cut-Out on pages 7-8 of the Home Activity Book is a great way to explore the concept of size with tunnels.  A big tunnel can be made with your body and a small tunnel with the cut-out pattern.