Jumping right in - or tiptoeing...
Children often take many weeks to warm up to a new activity or new environment,
and every child will approach this experience in his or her own style. Please don’t be concerned if your child isn’t
actively joining in, or does something different from the rest of the
group. The class is the setting where
children are absorbing new ideas, and they often practice these ideas once they
get home. The best way to help your
child absorb these new musical skills is to participate and have fun in class
yourself. You don’t have to be musically
skilled! Just participating in class
activities at your own comfort level will help your child develop the
disposition to be musical - and this is a gift your child will enjoy for a
lifetime. You may have fun noticing how
your child’s response to music changes over the course of the class, not just
in the classroom but at home as well.
You don’t have to be a
This is not a performance class; it’s a
“having-fun-with-music” class. The gift
we’re giving our children is not our polished performance, but simply the
confidence that they too can make music. When we make mistakes, laugh, and go on, we give our children permission
and confidence to try it themselves. If
you’re a shy singer, experiment with singing out, and don’t worry - nobody will
put you on the spot. This is a great
environment for building your own musical self-confidence as well as your
keep your child at home if there is any chance they could be spreading
contagious illness, especially if there is coughing, sneezing, very runny nose,
About sanitation in
It is normal and developmentally appropriate for young
children to put things in their mouths. Younger children, especially, gather information about their world
through oral exploration. While we
can’t prevent young children from putting instruments and other props in their
mouths, there are a few things we can do to help keep our play materials
sanitary. We encourage you to allow your child to explore the instruments; just please put mouthed items in our "wet box" after the activity. We'll wash and sanitize any mouthed items after class. If your child is prone to oral exploration during the jam session part of
class, you can gather some items that are particularly mouth-friendly (i.e.,
smooth, plastic, and sturdy), and set them with your child away from the general
collection of instruments - or else be vigilant about setting things aside so
they don’t get into another child’s hands until they’ve been sanitized.
You can help support
sanitation in class by being aware of oral exploration, even if it’s not your
child engaging in it, and taking steps if necessary to prevent mouthed items
from going into another child‘s hands. We all share responsibility for our children's health.
Waterless hand washing gel,
alcohol wipes, and antiseptic spray are always available in the classroom. Feel free to use any of these materials at
any time during or after class.
Sometimes children need to
bring a special toy or “lovey” from home. Please be sensitive to the reactions of other children if your child has
brought a toy. Toys that sparkle, make
sounds, or have moving parts can be especially distracting for other
children. If a toy is distracting,
suggest to your child that it “watch” or “listen” from a shelf or special place
in the room - or maybe the toy can be “napping” during class time. Use your discretion and creativity.
Snacks are also extremely
distracting, both for the child being fed, and for the other children who can
see the food. Please keep snack foods
stashed during class times. If your
child is hungry in class, it’s fine to step outside for a few minutes for a
snack break, and then join back in.
If your child is crying, you may choose to step out for a few minutes to help your child calm down. Feel free to use your own discretion in deciding how to help your crying child.
Safety and running
Some children learn
best while they are actively engaging their whole bodies, and a child who is
wandering around the room is often still actively learning. Please help active children be aware of
babies or smaller children as they move around the room. Running around the circle, however, is a safety issue
as well as a distraction to other children. Please help redirect a child who starts running, even if he or she is not your child.
We’ll all get a chance to run, gallop,
trot, and move together during some of our active songs!
children thrive on ritual, and for many children the “Hello Song” is their
favorite song. This is the song that
helps the group settle in to the activity of making Music Together®
, and the
song that specifically welcomes each child by name. The “Hello” and “Goodbye” songs are also the
only songs we do every single class throughout the semester, so they become
especially important to children. Please
do your best to arrive on time, or even a few minutes early, so your child will
have time to adjust to the class environment and feel ready to
participate. It may make a huge
difference in your child’s comfort level in class! (Yes, emergencies happen, and young
children’s sleep and diaper habits are often unpredictable - please just do the
best you can with your own situation!)
If you miss a class, you’re welcome to make
it up by visiting a different class that week or later in the session. However, you MUST arrange your make-up in advance - please don't just drop in to a class! It can be hard for teachers to have unexpected faces in class, and classes can get very crowded if
too many families drop in at the last minute. The simplest way to schedule a make-up is through our make-up scheduler.
We generally schedule an extra
make-up/demo class week at the end of the semester. This extra week is a great time to make up a
missed class, or bring a friend to check out the fun. If space permits, you’re welcome to come to that make-up/demo even if you haven't missed a class.
Our classroom space
We are guests in our class locations, and people may be working
in offices near our classroom. Please
be aware of noise levels as you and your
child(ren) are entering and leaving the building. For classes at Calvin - our room is not
acoustically isolated from the gym area. Please be conscious of noise levels if you are in the gym while class is
thoughts for getting the most out of class:
You’re already an
There is no wrong way to do the music or the
activities, and we have lots of fun playing with different ideas in class. Don’t worry about doing things “wrong” if
your style is different from your teacher’s. When you find the way that works for you, you teach your child how to be
Your child is unique.
offer a variety of activities, often with the same song over a period of
weeks. Your child will modify these
ideas to fit his or her needs - which may mean sitting while everyone else is
standing, or jumping while everyone else is sitting. Often a child who appears to show no interest
in class activities is really quietly absorbing them, and will repeat them
perfectly once back home. Feel free to
encourage your child to participate, but let your child have the choice about how
to do it.
Children learn best when
their learning experiences are joyful.
When you’re having fun, your joy is
contagious. This is your own weekly
chance to let go and liberate your own sense of play. Let yourself get loose and silly! Your child will love this chance to play with
you on his or her own level.
Enjoy the music at home.
This class is
only a jumping off point. The songbook
is full of suggestions for enjoying the music with your child at home, and you
may think of many other ways. Even if
you don’t read music, you might look at the pictures together, or follow along
with the CD. Feel free to change the
words to suit bath times, bedtimes, etc. It’s your music - you can change it any way you want.
Happy music-making! We're looking forward to seeing you in class!