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Archive for September, 2006

 Sometimes I find myself surfing the internet almost mindlessly, using the computer mouse like my husband and son do the television remote, until something catches my attention and causes me to pause and read an article carefully – the result,  I’m sure, of a good editor. 

This afternoon was one of those times, as I sat at my computer, cradling the newest addition to our family (no, not an infant – please see below) as she slept in my arms, and using the mouse one-handedly. 

Fun with sack races!

In reading this article,  it really struck home with me that children today do not have the luxury of time that I did as a child – lazy afternoons after school and homework chasing the kick ball in the back yard, wrestling with the family dog, “playing dolls” with a neighbor in our pretend “house” located in the grassy bower in the woods behind our home.  Our parents didn’t worry about where we were going or how long we would be outside – we just had to be home by suppertime. 

Now, I realize that I’m dating myself here, but it really saddened me to realize that today’s American children, although living in the “Land of the Free”, do not have that same freedom that I did.  Fears for their safety have eroded at their childhood as much as concern for their educational futures have forced them into earlier and earlier academic programs. 

How blessed I am to be able to offer parents and children the opportunity to come together for a wonderful time of play and interaction with other children in my Kindermusik classes! 

If you’re interested in reading this article – “Whatever Happened to Play?” , just click on the title.   Still looking for a class for your child?  Come join us now – we gladly pro-rate tuition for later enrollment.

As for the newest addition to the Williams household, we found a teeny-tiny kitten in our carport last night around 1 AM, yowling for all she was worth in the cold.  She barricaded herself back between fully-loaded grain buckets and refused to come out, no matter what the enticement. 

The newest addition to the Williams household

It took three adults, a teenager, and an 11yo child to eventually motivate her this afternoon to make a dash for our utility room – where she was finally caught by our 16yo daughter, Rebekah.  

What does the rest of our menagerie think of her?  Boo-Boo, our outdoor cat, was nowhere to be found.  We asked KC, our indoor resident feline expert, but he’s not telling.  😉

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[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FnFQevPl_1o]

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One of my very favorite classes to teach is Sign & Sing – a signing class for parents and hearing children.  It’s not your usual Kindermusik class.  It uses four key strategies in signing along with motivational games, songs, and toys, so that you can learn to communicate easily with your baby or toddler, lessening and possibly even eliminating many of those frustrating temper tantrums.  Sign & Sing begins on Saturday, Sept. 30th, at 10AM in Decatur. 

From Exchange Every Day – 9/21/06 – comes the following brief article:

Sign Language Stimulates the Brain

I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.
Confucius
Kay Rush, in her article, “Using Sign Language in High/Scope Programs,” in High/Scope Extensions (Summer 2005; www.highscope.com), notes that teaching all preschool children sign language assists them in literacy and learning a second language. She observes…

“Signing is a kinetic act that stimulates activity in both the right brain, which is responsible for visual-spatial reasoning and long-term memory, and the left brain, which is responsible for processing language. When you are signing with hearing children, you are not only reinforcing their existing language, you are also giving them another way to express a concept they already know, thus creating another connection to that information in their brain. This process also helps to establish two storage places for language memory on the brain’s left side: one for the native language of the user, the other for sign. So children who use both spoken language and sign language develop a built-in backup memory, storing the same word in two different ways in separate areas of the left brain….

“Using sign language increases children’s vocabulary in a relatively pressure-free manner. Research studies show hearing children who used sign language in their preschool classes scored better on vocabulary tests and attained higher reading levels than their non-signing peers.”

For further information, please read here.

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A young boy practices his violin in Bolivia.

Ever wondered whether or not all that money you’ve spent on Kindermusik classes has been worth it?  Well, a new Canadian study shows young children who take music lessons have better memories than their nonmusical peers.

The study, to be published in the online edition of the journal Brain on Wednesday, showed that after one year of musical training, children performed better in a memory test than those who did not take music classes.

“(The research) tells us that if you take music lessons your brain is getting wired up differently than if you don’t take music lessons,” Laurel Trainor, professor of psychology, neuroscience and behavior at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, told Reuters.

“This is the first study to show that brain responses in young, musically trained and untrained children change differently over the course of a year,” said Trainor who led the study.

Over a year they took four measurements in two groups of children aged between four and six — those taking music lessons and those taking no musical training outside school — and found developmental changes over periods as short as four months.

The children completed a music test in which they were asked to discriminate between harmonies, rhythms and melodies, and a memory test in which they had to listen to a series of numbers, remember them and repeat them back.

Trainor said while previous studies have shown that older children given music lessons had greater improvements in IQ scores than children given drama lessons, this is the first study to identify these effects in brain-based measurements in young children.

She said it was not that surprising that children studying music improved in musical listening skills more than children not studying music.

“On the other hand, it is very interesting that the children taking music lessons improved more over the year on general memory skills that are correlated with nonmusicalabilities such as literacy, verbal memory, visiospatial processing, mathematics and IQ,” she said.

You may read the entire article here.

Many thanks to Lori Burkhardt for alerting us to this article!

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I hope you enjoy this version of “Hush, Little Baby” as much as I did.  Put two of the most creative minds in music together and magic happens!

Don’t forget that our newest Sign & Sing class begins this Saturday in Decatur!

 [Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xq36mEuMJUI]

 

Many thanks to Music4Kids.

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For every frustrated guitarist wannabe, this one’s for you!

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A5Sl8sZuT-U]

 How does he do that?  P-R-A-C-T-I-C-E!

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[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aSiE19MlyBo]

Here’s hoping that the newest member of the Panda family at Zoo Atlanta doesn’t scare mama Lun Lun the same way!

For your enjoyment, see Lun Lun on the LIVE Panda cam at Zoo Atlanta.

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