This is our last week of classes before our two week break for the holidays. It’s been a wonderful fall and we’ve all learned and grown and bloomed! It’s so amazing to see the children grow right before our very eyes! Thank you all for your participation and support for your child. You are your child’s first and best teacher and choosing Kindermusik makes such excellent sense!

In Village this week, our focus is short and long – which, in Imagine That and Young Child classes become the musical terms staccato and legato. “Grassey Grass Grass” is a folk song written by Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Woody Guthrie and it’s his voice you’re hearing on the CD from a Smithsonian Folkways recording. This week we add the Owl to our vocal exploration song “Who’s Making All That Noise?” Take a few minutes at home to listen to a variety of owl calls with your baby. Imitate the owl calls for your baby and watch carefully to see what she does!

More of his songs are available for purchase at the Smithsonian Folkways website.

In Our Time, we continue to explore musical binary form, a fundamental two-part structure common in much folk music, for instance. Playing with this two part form helps your child begin to learn about the concepts of time, sequence, and pattern. The song “All By Myself” allows the children to explore the newly discovered independence that is such an important quality of children this age. You provide a solid, loving base for your child that allows them to go off to explore and discover, then return to you for reassurance and comfort. You can have some fun at home with this activity finding even more different things your child can do “all by myself.”

In Imagine That, we get to play a new game about “Going On a Picnic.” Singing games are one of those fun activities that improve social skills as children learn to listen and take turns, encourages positive interaction, and helps them practice communication skills. This activity plants the first seeds of ensemble playing as it teaches the importance of connection to others through music. At home, listen to “Children Laughing” (Home CD 1, track 4) and talk about laughter. Then sing “All the Day Long” (Home CD 1, track 5) and play the movement game. How many movements can you and your child think of? And how much laughter can you enjoy while playing?

In Young Child 1,  the children are learning about the note c on the music staff. Help your child “write” c on Activity Page 9. If you have any music at home, help your child “read” the note c by locating the note on space number three of the music staff.

Listening in music consists not only of listening to music but learning to focus our attention on abstract sounds and on speech. Help your child further “attend” (pay attention) to sounds by pinpointing sounds in your environment such as water lapping over stones, rain falling on the rooftop, or wind rushing through the trees. Also, play a listening game by speaking a 4 or 5 word sentence and asking your child to repeat what he heard.

Movement with music consists of free movement as well as choreographed steps. How many of the “Minuet” dance steps can you and your child remember? At home, enjoy dancing together both freely and with prescribed steps! Try dancing to several styles of music. How do different types of music affect your movements?

In Young Child 3, we are continuing to explore and discover about Native American music. Children learn best when they’re learning is done with joy. We hope that playing the circle game “Grinding Corn,” dancing the “Toe-Heel Step,” and “paddling” through the “water” as we sing “Canoe Song” brings your child many moments of joy. Have fun playing the Mystery Tune Game (Music at Home 42) this week and take time over the break to have enjoy some of the other home activities from this semester.

We wish you the warmth and joy of this season and a happy new year filled with fun new adventures. We are so grateful to have your family in our class each week. If you’d like to have some extra fun over the holiday, check out our playdates that are happening on December 19. We look forward to seeing you again after the new year, starting the week of January 2!

—Merry Obrecht Sawdey, Kindermusik Educator, Kindermusik of the Valley

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