What’s Happening in “Village” Classes!

February 2014:

What we’re doing and why we do it!

COCK-A-DOODLE MOO

Youngsters always enjoy the opportunity for hands-on play with household items. As you make homemade instruments, remember that it is important for little ones to explore the texture, shape, and even taste of items, so be sure the items are safe and clean.  Then allow your child the freedom to explore as he desires. Help him discover ways to make sounds with the items and notice which sounds are the most pleasing to him. Choose a few favorites for a play-along experience with music on your Home CD! Have fun making music together!

Touch

In addition to being a way to create adult-baby emotional bonding, intentional touch has many physical benefits, including stimulation of the digestive, circulatory, and lymph systems.  If Baby spends any extended time in a baby carrier, massage on his/her back aids with posture as well.

Self Awareness

Babies enjoy seeing their movement reflected in a mirror. This play helps them in developing self-awareness and their mastery of new movements by aiding visual-motor perception. Try this activity at home in front of a mirror so that Baby is facing the mirror. By about eight months, Baby enjoys this activity very much.

Balance

Moving in different directions and in a variety of ways is important to the development of Baby’s vestibular system, which affects their developing sense of balance.

Sensory Contrast

As you and Baby experience the contrast between a smoothly rolling ball and a jumpy, bouncing ball, he/she understands on a sensory level the difference between smooth, sustained movement, and sharp, detached movement. This is an important element of music and language.

You have probably noticed that in Kindermusik we tend to repeat, repeat, repeat! Repetition of experience is necessary for making and strengthening new connections in the brain. I’m sure that you have found certain activities at home that your child enjoys over and over and over, just as we have found favorites in class.

We have enjoyed songs and activities for several weeks and we’ve seen the recognition and anticipation on the babies’ faces. This shows us that they are taking in and processing information! Although we as adults may become a little weary of “one more time,” repetition becomes easier for us as we recognize the benefits it has for our children!

Timbre

The distinctive quality of a sound is called its timbre (pronounced tam-ber).  In class we hear a variety of sounds—scratchy sounds, booming drum sounds, individual voices and groups of voices singing and speaking, and many others.  As Baby experiences the variety of sounds he/she can make with musical instruments and everyday objects, he/she is developing a sensitivity to sound and a listening vocabulary of timbres.  This helps attune his/her ears to distinctions in music and speech/

Uniqueness (Paper bag play)

Each Baby has his/her own threshold of stimulation through sights, sounds movement, social interaction, movement, etc.  Remember to adapt individual activities and the pacing for each Baby’s natural rhythm, temperament, and developmental stage.

Sound Maps (Cantonese Lullaby)

It is important to include a wide range of timbres in Baby’s environment.  This includes hearing the sounds of many languages.  Each kind of sound maps new connections in Baby’s brain.  Repeated listening solidifies these connections.

Musical Scores (Ritsch, Ratsch)

This simple song allows Baby to hear and experience many basic musical concepts, including the sound of a major triad, a variety of timbres, and steady beat.

Vestibular System (Hayride)

Baby’s learning during the first fifteen months of life is centered around the development of the vestibular system. Balance, coordination, and locomotion all depend on the proper functioning of this very important system.

Timbre

(pronounced “tam-ber”) is the distinctive quality of a sound.  In the past few weeks, we have experienced many different timbres.  The little ones in our class are developing their own “vocabulary” of timbres.  Just as we recognize the importance of developing a large spoken vocabulary, it is important for us to recognize the importance of developing a similar vocabulary for sounds.  This will help children tune in to subtle distinctions in both music and speech.  Kindermusik class is a perfect place to offer your child the opportunity to experience a wide variety of sounds–drums, egg shakers, baby bells, woodblocks, singing, speaking, plus the host of wonderful and diverse sounds on the recordings!  Kindermusik is the best choice you can make for your child, again and again!

Variety and Repetition  (Hop Up My Baby)

Two key elements of the Kindermusik learning environment are variety and repetition.  Through exposure to variety (of objects, instruments, people, movements, songs, etc.) an array of possible skills, aptitudes, and perceptions are stimulated in the form of new neural connections.  But not all these connections will remain intact.  It is only through repetition that neural connections are strengthened and that possibility becomes ability.

Social Interaction

Have you noticed how interested Baby is in the other people in class? Watch the children’s faces as you all come to the center of the circle in phrase 4 of “Jolly is the Miller.” Babies imitate each others facial expressions. They become more social as they begin to identify their own selves as being separate from others.

Receptive and Expressive Development

Kindermusik Village babies are in a “receptive” mode of development, in preparation for movement towards a more expressive stage of development.  Kindermusik Village lessons acknowledge this by providing a wide array of sounds, images, tactile and movement activities for Baby to experience.  Parents and caregivers are encouraged to enhance every activity by imagining yet another way to position Baby to view his/her world, another sound or movement to try, and are invited to observe, notice, and even document Baby’s preferences, antics, and responses in their home journals.