Monday, January 17, 2011

CHARLIE & A CUP OF TEA


My son Charlie is my spirited child. Unlike his older brother, Jackson, the people-pleaser of the family, Charlie tends to be more physical and a little more feisty. He can be a very sweet and loving little guy, but it’s not always a given. (I guess I should add that he’s also 2 ½, an age of natural feistiness.) As we tend to do with our children, I envision Charlie becoming an athlete of some sort when he grows up. He’s fearless and excited to try just about anything that involves moving his body at full speed.

This year Jackson started M-F preschool, giving me 3 days a week with just Charlie. (Charlie goes on Tuesdays & Thursdays) This was the first time I had ever had that kind of time with him & I was really looking forward to it. I signed us up for Mrs. Ellen’s Our Time class on Mondays for some guaranteed “mommy & me” time each week.

Both of my guys are observational learners, at least at first. So it was no surprise to me when for most of our first weeks of class Charlie held tightly to me, unwilling to participate. As a Kindermusik educator, I tell parents all the time that this is quite normal & they’ll be amazed to hear how much their child repeats outside of class. I truly believe this, but of course was skeptical when it came to my own child. That changed however when I overheard Charlie playing in his bedroom one Monday afternoon. I could hear him reciting a finger play exercise from our class. “Here a cup, here a cup, here a pot of tea” he said, in a very soft, loving little voice. He even repeated the poem (Cup of Tea), with the hand movements, to his dad later that night. We were amazed at how gently he acted out the poem & poured the cups of tea.

That’s what I love about Kindermusik. It speaks to kids in a way that we as parents might not always understand. I never would have guessed that a little poem about having a cup of tea would register with Charlie, but it did. In fact, I feel the class has taught him to explore his gentle side a bit more in general. He now jumps up to help put away instruments or toys, whether or not he was even involved in the activity. (Apparently sometimes cleaning up is the best part!) He plays the instruments & explores their sounds rather than instantly throwing them down. It seems I am now the observer in our class; watching and soaking in this new, wonderful facet to my child’s personality. I can’t wait for our Spring semester to start, as Charlie & I continue this fascinating journey together.

by Aly Schroeder, proving that even Kindermusik educators are continually amazed by the power of music!

Friday, January 7, 2011

CHILDREN DO REMEMBER


Today as I did some office work, my three-year-old daughter played in the floor and asked if she could listen to the “washing ‘chine” song. I immediately knew what she meant – the song “Washing Machine” from the Milk and Cookies Volume 1 CD – but I was shocked she asked for this particular song since it was from Kindermusik class so many weeks ago. It was another example of how the things she learns in music class really do sink in and stick with her.

A similar thing happened last week as I was driving my three kids in our mini-van. We were listening to the Zoom Buggy CD so I could refresh my memory before teaching my next class. My six-year-old daughter sang along to “Little Red Caboose” and announced to us all how much she likes that song. What she didn’t remember was that as a toddler in Kindermusik, she liked that song then too. Years later, it sill resonates with her. Wow!

Monday, during the Our Time class I teach at East 91st St. Christian Church, I watched my young students with awe as they played a steady beat on the drums while I sang “Polly Put the Kettle On.” Maintaining a steady beat is a skill we’ve worked on all semester because research has shown children who can keep a steady beat have enhanced language development. So as we sat on the floor singing and tapping the drum, I saw the amazing results of our 15 weeks of fun! Even when we think kids aren’t listening or understanding, we find out later, sometimes much later, the impact of our words, actions and examples.

Posted by Ellen Gullett, mom of 3 children, Kindermusik mom for more than 8 years and now a Kindermusik educator. Join her in a Monday morning class!