Monday, June 8, 2009

Kindermusik Summer Program

After attempting a previous music and movement class and not quite succeeding, we're trying a different music class called Kindermusik. I had been eyeing it before but cost for the class during the regular schoolyear was a deterrent. In the summer though, they have a summer program that only goes for five days. This year, it's from June 8 to 12, from 10-11 am each day for kids 18 months to 3 years old.

The premise of the Kindermusik class, for those who are not familiar, is that the singing, playing, moving, and interaction in the ABC Music & Me class enhance young children's "emotional, social, physical, and cognitive growth. Inhibitions fall away, self-esteem grows, and social skills develop. Through moving, dancing, and playing instruments, children also develop muscle control and coordination. It helps children to learn how to learn and have fun while they're at it." It's really much like the goals of the other class.

Both Kindermusik and the other music class are good programs. The difference lies in structure and set-up. In Kindermusik, I stay with Matthew - sing the songs and move around with him - during the hour-long class. In the other class, he was assigned a buddy during the 30-minute class while I waited in another room. The fact that I stay with him is key for his success in the class - no melt-downs because of separation anxiety.

We've only attended one class so far but it already feels like a good fit for Matthew. He and I participated in most of the activities and it was a very positive experience for him despite being the only 20-month old toddler in the class who wasn't walking independently yet. He was also the only one in the class with special needs, ie Down syndrome. But no one seemed to know that except the instructor and a friend (and neighbor), who was in the class with her adorable little girl.

I prefer not to tell people who don't know us unless I think they should know or if I'm asked specifically. It's not because I dread any possible awkward reaction, but it's simply because I want them to get to know Matthew for who he is first, as Matthew, not "the Down syndrome kid". Many times I wonder if people who don't know us can tell at first or even second glance. Through my eyes, I think Matthew looks so much like me that the slanted eyes and flat nose bridge just seem like features he inherited from me and not from having an extra 21st chromosome.

If my eyes were a pair of eyeglasses, I'd happily lend them to everyone so they could see what I see when I look at Matthew -- a makes-me-laugh-drives-me-crazy-sometimes-heaven-sent-biter-smarter-than-he-lets-on-wonderful-wouldn't change him for the world-blessing little boy.


Ann said...

I did Kindermusik for years with my son Nate. I loved it. Maybe some day I'll do it with Caleb and Maggie. I hope you continue to enjoy it.

Beverly said...

We have done kindermuisk with Noah on and off since he was 14 months old, he has loved it. We are lucky there is a speical needs class where we live now and he enjoys that very much as well.

Unknown said...

Lily and I did Kindermusik from the time she was 18 months to 8 years old, even repeating some classes. We loved it! Have fun.

Lori said...

I did Kindermusik with Paige, and then with Paige and Anna last Fall. We took the spring off because our schedule was a little crazy- but I would love to go again this Fall with just Anna. Our teacher is great -- she used to work in Early Intervention so a lot of what we do are things she used to do in therapy. - Hope you continue to have fun!!

Oh - and thanks for the post about the shoes...I guess I am going to have to buck up and shell out some dough :)

Miss Magic said...

We loved KM, and MusicGarten (started by a KM founder). Maren's first independent sitting, first sentences, and first steps were all for music! Gosh, I miss those baby days!!!!

Anonymous said...

Since our kids are in class together, you know how much my daughter loves KM, too! I think each child is able to enjoy and benefit from the class in his/her own, unique way. Maybe it's just the nature of music and movement in combination; it seems like they work together to help all of the kids make new connections by putting their little synapses in "fire!" mode. (This gives me new inspiration for incorporating music into the German classes that I will be teaching this fall, and ideas for how to do so in new ways.) By the way, while Matthew may be the only child in class with DS, I don't think we can assume that none of the other kids have special needs! In my opinion, one can never tell by looking. - Amy on Brookview

Ria said...

Thanks for the encouragement and sharing your own experiences with Kindermusik and similar music programs. It's great to hear that it's been good for everyone that posted a comment here.
And Amy, you're right about not being able to tell whether a child has special needs or not. I re-read my post and realized that it might have come across as me assuming that Matthew is the only one in the class with special needs. That was not my intention so I've edited it. I appreciate your thoughts on that. I wish many more people in the world would have an open mind like you do.

To Love Endlessly said...

Oh we just finished out session on Kindermusik. Marissa was the only one her group not crawling. It was a little sad/frustrating, but I have to say I was the only mom not chasing her all over. She was the best behaved baby there. Matthew's going to love the program and being in there will make a world of difference for him.