We know it is fun, but as parents you want more than just fun for your child’s activities.
Sensory play, integration of primitive reflexes, language and literature awareness, gross and fine motor control, brain development and social interaction are all among the benefits for toddlers who attend Kindermusik. The competencies built in this age group are not only part of school readiness but help them develop lifelong skills.
While Kindermusik classes are fun, they go far beyond 45 minutes of pleasure in the week. Every class is carefully crafted with specific benefits in mind. These benefits are widely documented and supported by current research in the early childhood sector. So what are they?
1. A Better Organized Brain
The benefits for a toddler because of weekly Kindermusik classes go far beyond when they attend. Research has shown that children who engage in structured musical activities from 0 – 3 years have increased skills in many areas. Parents want their children to have the best chance to achieve their potential and music is one way that can happen.
Daniel Levitin (a researcher into early childhood music experiences and the brain) found “Musical activity involves nearly every region of the brain that we know about.” Schlaug and other researchers (2010) claim that the benefits not only result in a better organized brain, but also produce long-lasting change even after the brain has reached its mature self.
All skills and abilities start in the brain. Although complex, it is well known that a well-organized brain results in learning more easily and a higher level of skills. These benefits not only last for early childhood but lay the foundation for skills that will affect brain growth and formation well into adulthood.
2. Better Balance
Better balance comes through making sure the vestibular system is working accurately. The vestibular system is a small set of three semi-circular canals in the middle ear. It is the governor and chief of all sensory input, sending it to the brain so it can be processed and responded to.
It is the vestibular system that allows us to stand, jump, balance on 1 foot, move in any way, and not be dizzy. When you are in a car that is stationery and the one besides, you move and you feel like you are going backwards, it is the vestibular system incorrectly interpreting information.
With ear infections, your vestibular system often makes you feel dizzy and without it we could not hop, jump or even sit upright.
During a Kindermusik class, the vestibular system is connected to every activity. Whether it be rocking, balancing on bilibos or jumping like a rabbit, your toddler will get a vestibular workout every lesson, making the system strong, giving your child better balance.
3. Social Skills
Social skills are something that are learned over time and with lots of practice. Learning to read cues, learning to take turns and learning to respond appropriately to other toddlers is essential for your child to grow into a balanced adult.
Every lesson works on these skills. Toddlers dance and play instruments with their peers, they get their own instruments and learn to hand them back in a given timeframe. They sometimes have to give up an instrument they are using to give to the next person or wait for it to arrive as it gets passed around the circle, learning important turn taking skills.
All these skills help them to develop appropriate social responses to situations in class and toddlers are given the time, space and repetition to eventually learn them.
It doesn’t mean there aren’t tantrums or normal altercations, but parents are there to guide, support and to teach skills that they don’t get the opportunity to learn in the home environment in the same way.
The routines of class mean toddlers soon learn what to expect and the behaviors that are expected of them.
4. Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence involves, among other things, developing empathy for others. This is an important skill as an adult and it begins in early childhood. Although toddlers are egocentric, they can begin to learn what it means to be sorry, to think of others and to recognize when others are hurting or sad and how to respond to that.
Kindermusik classes are a wonderful way for your toddler to begin learning those essential skills. Through the help of class interactions and parents, they learn to recognize sadness and distress and what they can do as a natural response to that person.
Self-awareness is another part of emotional intelligence that is taught through the Kindermusik curricula.
Toddlers learn body parts, and how to move them. They not only learn where they are on themselves but have their caregiver to SEE what they look like on other people.
They get to look in mirrors and discover themselves and others through looking at their peers. This helps them to become more self-aware of their bodies in space.
It also aids in the acquisition of emotional intelligence as becoming self-aware allows awareness of others.
For parents learning about love languages through lessons and how to respond to their child and their needs, they can then help their toddler become more aware of themselves and how they are loved and respected.
6. Object Permanence
Object permanence is the ability to know that something still exists, even though they may not be able to see it. Newborns don’t have this ability, but it is something that is taught in Kindermusik from the beginning.
Hiding under scarves and playing peekaboo games, hiding instruments, and playing them so they can hear it but not see it, book reading and turning the pages not only develops object permanence but also essential auditory skills.
Musicality is more than just musical skills. It is something that is internalized and integrated so that it flows through every skill we have. Toddlers in Kindermusik classes get to move, dance, and freely respond to music they hear. They feel varying time signatures with their whole bodies and feel differences in music.
They come to recognize the colors of sound (timbre) often recognizing the sound of different instruments from an incredibly early age.
They become rhythmic creatures who feel and move to the difference between beat and no beat, music, and silence (rests).
This musicality makes for great musicians later in life should they choose to pursue more formal instrumental lessons, and if not, they are better dancers, artists, sportsmen and women. They are better at math and science and better readers which all share common skills with musicality.
Self-regulation is a skill that every parent wants, whether they know it or not. Self-regulation means a toddler will have less tantrums and when they do, they will be shorter. It teaches a toddler over time to elicit a reasonable response to what is happening to them, rather than a 45-minute meltdown because someone looked at them.
This skill is learned through internalizing steady beat. Toddlers in a Kindermusik class have beat built into nearly every activity; from playing instruments to the steady beat, to feeling with their bodies as they stomp like a dinosaur, tiptoe quietly or clapping or playing a drum to the music.
Self-regulation takes time to develop and Kindermusik allows the practice of this skill to happen every day of the week.
9. Better Coordination
Coordination is needed for everything; walking, running, brushing our teeth and later for sports, dancing, the arts or other skills children may want to develop. Coordination is the complex ability of having a well organized brain, good laterality skills (left and right), balance and control.
These skills are taught during classes in a fun way. Through music and drama, children become aware of different sides of their body. They learn how to coordinate hands and feet, moving in a variety of ways that all encourage coordination.
In later classes, children learn to move body parts individually (isolation), further increasing their coordination skills.
10. Spatial Awareness
Spatial Awareness is essential not only for math and later skills but for your child’s protection. It is spatial awareness that allows them to hear an oncoming threat and to jump out of the way quickly. It allows them to not bump into things because they know how much space their body takes up. It allows them to crouch down when going under a table instead of just walking into the top of it because they are too tall.
Spatial awareness is the brain’s ability to coordinate the auditory and muscle systems to work in harmony to provide vital information to avoid injury. It is the foundation of more complex skills later developed and is practiced in Kindermusik classes through auditory, movement and circle dance exercises.
11. Language Skills
Increased language is one of the biggest benefits of Kindermusik classes for toddlers. At a stage where language is still developing, your toddler gets to hear different sounds, is exposed to a variety of musical styles, and plays with their voice in vocal play. These experiences allow your child to process and learn different nuances in sound. These skills translate to language where the differences between letters is so small.
Rhythm is another way that helps language. With all the rhythm work that is done in every class, it helps toddlers to recognize the rhythm of language. Things like sound and no sound (essential for conversation) and the timing of sounds. There is 40 milliseconds difference between a “b” and a “d” sound. Children who do not have good timing skills can substitute these easily. The same is for many letters in language. The combination of auditory and timing skills helps a child with their language skills.
12. Math Skills
Math and music share a lot of the same skills in a similar way to music and language. Children learn skills such as division (as they hear the division of beats between slow and fast notes), counting (as they count the number of instruments they have and learn to count in their books) and categorizing and sorting (as they put instruments back in their correct container).
Children eventually learn to count forwards and backwards and other opposite concepts such as fast and slow, high and low, all of which translate beautifully into the math world.
13. Better Concentration
Better concentration and sitting skills are a great preface to formal schooling in later life but this is where it starts. The routines of class encourage toddlers to site and concentrate.
The unique lesson composition of short activities in between short activities requiring concentration, developmentally appropriate for the toddler age group, help to increase a child’s ability to concentrate when needed.
While there is freedom for toddlers to go off and explore, parents work individually with their child at their own level to encourage them to return to an activity and focus. This balance between freedom and structure is the perfect blend to help a toddler learn.
The routine of story time helps toddlers sit and focus. Structured listening activities help children attend for a few seconds to an individual sound. Vocal plays with caregivers have them concentrate on how sounds are made and playing instruments to the beat takes a huge amount of concentration for a toddler.
14. 24/7 Learning
One of the huge benefits of Kindermusik classes are the take home materials. These become a parent’s toolkit, allowing them to have the same quality of music in the home and learning experiences in a familiar environment available 24/7.
These resources are a combination of advanced music (far more interesting and beneficial than nursery rhymes, books, and instruments. They are of the highest quality and parents and children can built a library of resources over the years.
This is where Kindermusik children see most of their gains. Because they listen to the music at home and read the books, they are reinforcing the concepts taught in class, increasing brain connections, and developing skills every day of the week; skills that will last a lifetime.
Greater confidence is a byproduct of the routines and rituals in class, and a benefit enjoyed by many parents. The routines of class encourage self-esteem, confidence but only at a pace that each child is comfortable. The emotional security of knowing what is coming next helps a child feel more secure.
Children who are shy are given the space to grow in confidence within their own space and timeframe. Slowly venturing out to get their parent’s instruments for an activity and then returning them again. They can sing along in a group, knowing the songs from listening at home all while having the confidence of having their caregiver close by.
Circle dances encourage toddlers to hold hands if comfortable, and free movement activities give them the space to do things at their own comfort level.