You are likely full of questions. The following are many of the questions I have been asked, so this may be a good start.
But always feel free to connect with me so we can learn more about your family, and fine tune the answers for your specific child.
I am listening.
This is a picture of me listening to a young girl sing goodbye to me at the end of class. It took many, many months for her to build up her courage to sing to me. This moment makes my heart sing.
When is a good time for your family to make music together with us?
Which program is best for my child?
Basically, our levels generally match the age of the child, but each child progresses through life's stages a little differently. So choosing the program and class group that is best for your unique child is best done in a personal conversation with us.
Kindermusik offers a progression of program choices based on developmental stages from infants to 6 years old. Each curriculum is designed to meet the specific needs of each stage, and Ithe teacher further tailors the activities to best fit the makeup of each individual class.
Take a Look at the Programs pages to narrow down your choices. It may be an obvious choice for your child. Or your child's age or developmental stage might indicate more than one option.
From that page, there is a link to more information on each program, which includes a little video introduction and more details to consider.
We believe that it is important to find the right fit for you and your child, so we would LOVE to talk with you personally and learn more about your unique child: their age, their current interests and abilities, their personality, the way they currently interact with others outside their family or group situations, a little about their daily and weekly schedule, and any goals you may have for them.
Together, we can choose a class for you to visit, for that first experience can make such an impact on your child's response.
If I have a newborn, when is the best AGE to start Kindermusik?
When you are ready to take your infant out of the house, get some creative ideas for interacting with your baby, and seek connection with others in this young baby stage, our Kindermusik Foundations is ready for you. YES... as young as you are willing to venture. Many families start when their baby is around 2 - 6 months old, and delight in the joy we experience in class creating a sound and sensory filled experience with our babies. New parents are grateful to glean insight into their baby's development and gain skills for creative interactions that can make such a lasting impact on their child's development. Babies thrive in this program as music stimulates their brain, body and heart.
Since the units are short, often mom's enjoy this opportunity during their maternity leave.
What should I expect when I visit a class with my child?
Kindermusik is our safe and happy place.
When you arrive in our Kindermusik studio, you will find smiling faces surrounded by warm colors and shapes. To the right, a colorful carpet strip leads you to the turquoise cabinets where you will place your bags on the shelf, and store your shoes in the buckets below. Then you can make your way to the colorful foam mats on the other side of the room. You and your child can choose one of the blankets as your spot for this class. Having a designated space helps a child feel that there is a place for him here. The following generally describes the structure of the class time for those participating with parents, which includes all ages from infants up to around 3 years old.
During the first part of class, we enjoy some gathering time, so we can get comfortable and have a moment of free exploration and interactions. On the center blanket there will be instruments, or objects to explore. WITH your child, show interest in the curiosity of the day.... helping them answer the questions running through their heads, "What is it?" "What can I do with it?" Ms. Debbie may interject with a few possible activities, or put on some music, which are mainly meant to enhance your exploration time. Then we will sing a song to "Put your things away so carefully".
We start our structured time by singing hello to each child in a way they choose. On the first day, they may not yet be ready to make a choice, in which case you can choose a movement that you believe they are most likely to enjoy IN THIS MOMENT... which may be to ROCK on your lap.
The rest of the class is filled with a variety of delightful learning opportunities in which you and your child will interact with each other and with the group: Lap bounces, finger plays, instrument exploration, expressive whole body movements and dances sometimes with a scarf, other scarf play - like peek-a-boo, circle dances where the entire group moves together, and even quiet time filled with listening to peaceful music and rocking gently.
At the end of class, we all wave and sing the goodbye song. In the babies class, we sing to each child as a group. In Level 2, each child will have individual time with the teacher, as Ms. Debbie sings goodbye , using their name, and stamps a special image on their arm. Each child is encouraged to sing "goodbye", but this is not a performance, so is not required. Even if they don't want a stamp, or want to sing, I still want to look them in the eye and sing goodbye to each child before they leave... to show they are recgonized, respected, and loved without being required to DO anything.
You may be worried about how your child will act on their first day. Be aware, we accept each child as a unique individual, who may be dealing with big emotions or cumpulsions, and as a person who has flexible choices for being engaged in their own way, as long as we keep the environment safe and happy. We do not expect them to be perfect participators on the first day... or any given day, for that matter. Our goal as adult partners is to inititate and encourage our child to participate in a way that suits them best. ALSO, be aware that we do not expect parents to be perfect either. Life is a process we are exploring together, and music can help the process flow more smoothly and be more enjoyable.
Since this is a new environment, it is your child's job to explore it fully to make sure that it is safe. How they act may make you tense, because it might not be what you believe they should be doing. Intentionally tell yourself to Relax (they feel what you feel). Know that the Kindermusik classroom is a place your child is welcome to be who they are in the moment. You will come to realize, through consistency and process, your child will become more and more engaged. This is the perfect setting to help your child develop the skills needed to be a good learner in a structured group environment. Some days, you may wonder how long it will take. But I promise, it will happen.
On the first visit, your child might be compelled to move around the room and touch and manipulate everything. That is ok. This is a safe place. That is why we put our bags away. Just walk around with your child, using words to describe what they see and touch. Use the word "no" sparingly, and let the space speak for itself. For example, the cabinet doors are locked, so they would soon give up the endeavor. Because of our need for a SAFE SPACE, There are a few things that are unacceptable, such as running just to run, often accompanied by ongoing vocal sounds. It is important to lovingly, physically prevent them from running. If you'd like to know more about loving ways to resond to this behavior, please see my article on Responding to Reckless Running.
Your child might not be comfortable enough to move off your lap. We don't consider this "shy" This happens typically because they do not know enough about this space, and they do not yet feel safe. The best guidance a parent can give is to talk about what the child is looking at using calm and soothing voice, describing what the child's eyes are focused on. You may describe what the child is doing, assuring your child that it is ok for each child to be engaged in their own way. Be sure to point out and discuss things your child may be interested in seeing, and that will help them develop their comfort zone. Offer 2 - 3 options for your child to be engaged, including just sitting and watching. It may not be the way you hope they engage, but I assure you they are still learning. And it is only a matter of acceptance and time before they are ready to choose a more active way to engage. Sometimes parents want to be engaged fully while the child is sitting and watching, and this MAY be exactly what the child needs. For some younger children, they may still believe that the parent is simply an extention of themselves, and may be upset that the parent is doing something they don't want to do. In this case, the best choice is listen to the inner voice and needs of the child for safety and comfort so they can adjust at their own pace.
What if my child isn't participating well?
Since this is a new environment, it is really your child's job to explore this new environment to learn about it and make sure it is safe. So the first day may look much different than after your child becomes familiar with the space, the music, the people, and the structure of the class.
What is my role as a parent in this musical process?
Be the coolest personal coach for your child. In classes where parents attend and participate WITH the child, the parent is like the coolest personal coach... actively listening and helping the child be aware of the activity at hand, while noticing HOW the CHILD WANTS to be engaged, supporting their unique style, and encouraging them to expand just a little beyond what they know. This will look different for each child.
Although it is tempting sometimes to really connect and engage in conversations with other adults (which is so personally needed), it is important to make a quick plan for a better time to talk, and really connect with your child in class.
Listen to the music, read the books, explore the instruments. Outside of the classroom, even with children who participate independently, the Kindermusik recordings, books, instruments, and more are the tools parents can use to gain that beneficial level of repetition and familiarity, expanding on these ideas and activities throughout the week, at home, in the car, and even out and about. That's where the true learning for the child takes place. We firmly believe the parents are the child's first and primary teacher. Our class times are simply a launching point for new activities, and the opportunity to synthesize all they are learning when we joyfully get back to making music with our friends.
Overall, Parent involvement in the musical life of a child is critical... from birth throughout their musical path, even beyond Kindermusik. Enjoy everyday musical interactions with your child. These are part of the process that helps them gain music concepts and abilities, as well as allowing the music to enhance every aspect of the child's development. Parents are essentially learning the basics of music and music therapy, and how to weave music into the routines and rituals of the day to help your child, and effectually making parenting a little easier.
Watch for communications and be a part of the conversations. Regular emails about the class content, and our conversations in our MusiconnxMe Facebook group provide guidance and discussion for making it REAL at home.
Can someone other than a parent attend with my child?
Yes. We have mothers, fathers, grandmothers, grandfathers, relatives, nannies who regularly attend with a child. Typically the same person attends each time to ensure consistency for the child, but there are some families who alternate who gets to attend with the child as their schedule permits, and other times when both parents attend.
Parents who work often have a special partner, such as Grandma or Nanny, attend with their child during the week. AND the parent makes sure to schedule time to attend a Saturday Kindermusik Playdate so they get a chance to be a part of their child's musical life, and see them thrive through the music activities in class as well.
For these FAQs, the word "parent" refers to all of the adults who attend and who are active with the child during the week.
Can I bring a sibling along to our class?
If you are looking for an opportunity for your children of different ages to enjoy a class together, make sure to register for one or more of the Kindermusik Playdates offered on the 2nd Saturday of each month ! If looking for a weekly family style class, the Thursday evening group, using Level 2 units, is the perfect opportunity for your family.
In any other Level 2 class group, younger siblings (6 months and younger) may attend with sibling free of charge. It is probably easiest to enjoy some baby-wearing while you participate. Babies in car seats are often a distraction for children at this age. Once the baby is actvely moving around and participating, it will be important to make a choice based on your unique children and family goals. Is the goal for you to set aside some intentional time with the enrolled child? If so, you may look for someone to care for your younger child. OR, You may choose to have a family member or friend attend with you, so each child has their own "cool personal coach" , and that child can be added to your enrollment at 50% tuition. I have been blessed to have amazing mothers of two children, whether twins, or different ages, meet the needs of each child be a part of our musical world. Only YOU know what will work best for your family. I trust you.
During Sharing Time (last 15 min.) for the programs with independent pre-schoolers and our young musicians, Levels 3 - 5, siblings of all ages are welcome, as long as they remain respectful of the space and structure of the activities.
We are committed to the safety of everyone attending our classes. As a result of our commitment to safety it is preferred that older siblings do not attend baby and toddler classes. We understand that once in a while you may need to bring an older sibling who does not have school that day. Please email us and let us know that you plan to bring your older child to play in this unique circumstance. Use your best judgment, remember you always have the option to reschedule your younger child's class that week. In some cases, we have had some amazing older siblings who respect the babies and are the most nurturing little helpers. I am open to discussion and trying out situations that may work for your family.
Always feel free to talk to me and let me know your situation, and we'll see what we can work out together.
My child has special needs, could Kindermusik the right choice?
Absolutely! Kindermusik can be a wonderful, fulfilling experience for every child. Children with autism or with Down syndrome, hearing impaired children and those with other physical, emotional, speech and learning needs have generally thrived AND improved in Kindermusik. The flexible structure and pacing f each class makes it easy to adapt activities for the needs of each child... especially with their favorite adult “coach” by their side. With years of experience, a degree in Music Therapy, and a love for each child, Ms. Debbie facilitates every class adapted for the needs of every child within it. If you would like to give us a call before enrolling, we would be happy to talk with you about what your expectations are and help you find the perfect class group.
Work hours limit our schedule. Are there options for our family?
YES! I do my best to help all families have these musical opportunities with their young children. Many of our parents work part or full time. Some are able to arrange their work schedule to attend a regular weekday morning or afternoon class.
We do have one Thursday evening class group, and it is often full, so be sure to inquire and get on the waiting list in case a space becomes available.
We have also found success creating a workable schedule for those with non-traditional schedules (like nursing). If you feel that you may need some help figuring out how to make a weekly class work in your unique schedule, use the Schedule a Trial Class form to get our communications started.
Of course, anyone can register to participate in one of our Kindermusik Playdates, scheduled once a month, typically on 2nd Saturdays in the morning. Check out the current scheduled activities on our Playdates Page.... or check out our EVENTS on our Music Connections Facebook Page, and indicate your interest. This way, you can get in on all the updates and specials that we share.
Families can register for ONE or more of these one-time events feature a unique monthly theme, and include a set of 10 recordings, a Sharing Sheet of songs texts and activity ideas, as well as an instrument, craft, or prop to continue to learning and interactive joys at home. Some families, even those who attend weekly, put these on their calendar and make sure to attend with Dad every month. Yes, we have THAT much fun !
What is the next step?
I invite you to join thousands of other parents around the world who attend Kindermusik classes every week. I’d love for you to experience for yourself why Kindermusik is the world’s most trusted brand in musical learning.
Take a look at our Programs & Schedule, and determine an available class time that will work best for your child and family.
Choose one of the following:
- Request to Schedule a Visit - which allows you to participate fully in a class and see the magic before enrolling.
- Enroll Directly - which saves you a spot in that class time immediately, and allows you to get your materials sooner.
- Connect with us if you have any questions, or would like a personalized discussion about what is best for your child.
- Debbie Mondale: firstname.lastname@example.org ; call or text: 863-397-4976
As an orchestra teacher and violinist, I know how invaluable it is for young musicians to be able to keep a steady beat at different tempos, to be able to match pitch while singing (or playing), and to be able to follow directions in a group setting—all skills Debbie teaches and reinforces right from the beginning. My son has been given the gift of a great foundation for his future musical studies and other life adventures!
Cannot say enough great things and Kindermusik and Ms. Debbie!! Ms. Debbie has created an environment of acceptance for whatever stage your child is in. It is a wonderful learning environment for my child and also for me as a mother. We play, sing, laugh, explore, and it is definitely a highlight of our week!