A toddler sits on a blanket on mom’s lap, while she bounces him like a baby joey in a mama kangaroos pouch. He peeks out, and hides behind the blanket. Soon, the little joey jumps out of the pouch and bounces merrily around the room, with all the other little joeys in our Kindermusik classroom. As the music changes, the joeys jump back into mama’s pouch for a snuggle. It is the changing MUSIC that tells these little ones when to hop around, and when to cuddle in mama’s pouch. And these joeys are LISTENING carefully.
The Kangaroo activities on Thursday were an instant hit. I think it is even a more fun experience than seeing the real kangaroo at the zoo. How often do you actually get to see the little joey jump out and around, then jump back in and hide? For me… never seen it in real life. But to BE the joey… is so satisfying for a child this age. I was too busy teaching to get any pictures, but I will try to get some this next week and share them with you !
The children THRIVE on this kangaroo activity, because it draws on the wonderful connections a 2 year old child has with his parents, the safety and comfort of closeness, balancing with the freedom of independent movement. This type of activity helps strengthen both of those feelings of love and safety, and gives them increased confidence to get out and explore, knowing that comfort is so readily available.
That is why the KANGAROO is the symbol of the Our Time program, the part of the Kindermusik core curriculum designed for children from 1 1/2 – 3 1/2 years old and offered during the school year here in Lakeland, FL. This is where the emotional development of children around 1 – 3 years old resides – trying to find the right balance between security and independence. They need both throughout their childhood, and as they grow, this balance is in a continual state of change.
The blankets we used in class as a pouch added to the effect of this safety and comfort feeling. In separate preschooler version of Zoo Train this summer, the blankets themselves become the pouch to jump out of to leap around, and to jump back in for security. We just pretend that the changing music could be natural signals that joeys must listen for to indicate it is safe to jump freely, or that it time to return, maybe due to some danger, or maybe just a chance to leap in and rest.
It is interesting to see how children, as they get older begin to use blankets to enhance this feeling of security, carrying them around, wrapping themselves tightly, hiding under them, using them as costume props or clothing accessories. The term “security blanket” has a long history because it helps to meet these specific needs when mom or dad is not around. And, it seems to give our children the super power of being brave enough to face the world on their own terms.
This is why the silhouette of a child with a cape on his back is the symbol for the Imagine That! program, which is designed specifically for children from 3 – 5 year olds. This age child uses objects as substitutions, for the fun of imaginative play, and for emotional expressions, and for so much more.
Pretty cool, huh? I love how Kindermusik has designed these curriculum so carefully to meet the needs of our children at each stage of their young lives, both musically, and in all aspect of their development. From infancy, up to 7 years old, the Kindermusik creative team KNOWS what a child needs… and helps give parents the knowledge and tools to meet these needs, and have fun in the process.
That’s why I do what I do. I love it, and I believe in it. And I love sharing it with families. I am so grateful for those who are joining me on this journey. Our journey together, as we partner to help our children, and ourselves connect and thrive through music reaches far beyond the few moments we make happen in class.
Our train ride on the Allee-Allee-O jump started our imaginary trip to see some new animals in our Zoo Train summer adventures camps. In some classes, we enjoyed the Kangaroo activities, and in others, we got to visit the monkeys, and BECOME the monkeys, complete with tails we made in class. Ah, but that is a tale for another day. There are two themes each week, so families can jump in at any point and choose the summer adventures package that works best for their family.