Sadly, today was the last day of Kindermusik for the semester, September to December. We're going to miss it next semester as we won't be re-enrolling with baby #2 on the way. I will continue to play the Kindermusik CD's at home though because Matthew enjoys the music so much and has very good memories of the activities done in class. As a Christmas and thank you gift, we gave his teacher a copy Gifts 2(the perfect Christmas gift!) autographed by my sister-in-law, Kristin, who wrote the essay about Matthew on page 240.
When we first started, Matthew liked watching the other kids but didn't necessarily interact with them. He listened to the music but didn't do the actions (clap hands, stomp feet, wiggle, etc) that the teacher was showing the kids unless he allowed me to do them hand-over-hand with him. He may not have been participating as actively as the other kids but he wasn't crying or fussing about being in the class. I took that as a good sign - that he just needed time to take everything in.
Repetition is key to learning for most kids. Repetition and frequency is even more important for Matthew and for most, if not all, kids who have Down syndrome. When he was more familiar with an activity, his participation level increased. So we listened to his Kindermusik CDs at home often, repeating the actions being taught in class.
As the semester progressed, his teacher and I noticed that Matthew was participating more and walking up to the other kids sometimes to touch their arm - his way of interacting with them. He was transferring certain skills learned from me and from his therapy sessions by following the teacher's directions without any prompting from me. This showed me how much he was maturing, how much he was processing in his mind and able to translate his thoughts into actions independently.
The class provided a relaxed setting for Matthew and I to bond through music and movement, give him the opportunity to interact with other kids close to his age, and learn to express himself through movements associated with the songs. Kindermusik has proven to be very beneficial to Matthew's social, emotional, and cognitive development. I'm so glad that we had the opportunity to be in the class.
Kindermusik Summer Program