Archive for March, 2007

Woman Sneezing

Due to a double whammy of bronchitis and pleurisy, I have been forced to cancel classes this Saturday, March 31st, on the advice of my doctor.  I do apologize to our Saturday classes.  Make-ups or credits will be given to those affected.  Classes will resume after our scheduled Spring Break next week, beginning on Monday, April 9th. 

I hope you all have a wonderful time next week, enjoying the beautiful weather we’ve been having.  Hopefully without all this pollen!  Just to get you started, here’s some shots I made just outside our studio door at Columbia Presbyterian last Saturday.

In the playground next door:

Gorgeous flowering pear tree in the playground next door

And at the end of our walkway to greet you:

Beautiful, cheerful flowers to greet you

Have a blessed Easter season!

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Dad on a Lark

I just read a new parenting blog that I found myself absolutely in tears over – laughing, that is!  After reading the first few paragraphs, I think you’ll find yourself doing the same thing!  Enjoy!

Rand Richards Cooper - author, Dad on a Lark

From Wondertime.com:

Did We Forget Something?

It’s Friday, our daughter Larkin’s first birthday. Molly’s home from work, we’re racing around getting ready to drive to her mother’s for a little party. All afternoon I’ve been in typical stay-at-home-dad mode, paying bills, finishing some work, making phone calls, playing with the Lark. Now it’s almost 5, and guess what, we’re running late.

It’s the usual madness. Pack up Larkin’s food, get the birthday cake out to the car, find the camera (a photo of her in a party hat? — priceless!) And where are those bills I put out for mailing? And do we have more diapers? All we’re trying to do is leave, but you’d think we were launching the space shuttle. Meanwhile, Larkin bangs away at her Exersaucer, broadcasting the little duck-and-dog sounds and melodies that have colonized our minds for months.

Finally we stand by the back door and catch our breath, ready to go. “Did we forget anything?” Molly asks.
“Sex,” I say.
“Huh?” She looks around.
“Sex,” I repeat. “We forgot sex.”

For the rest of the blog entry, go here.  😉

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Our Family Time class has enjoyed singing The Wheels on the Bus the past two weeks in our visit in the city.  Here’s a slightly different version for your enjoyment.  🙂


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I know I’ve said this many times in my classes. Kindermusik is magic.  It really and truly is!  I’ve seen it create the most beautiful, magical interactions between a parent/grandparent and child time and again. 

But I don’t think I’ve seen it quite like this – this beautiful, smiling child in the arms of a worker from Possibilities International in a Kindermusik class in Central Asia.  Get your kleenex handy; you’ll need it.

Dave Wright of Possibilities International with a friend from an orphanage in Central Asia

From Possibilities International:

Dave Wright never looked so at ease (see pic) as he did today embracing the “joy” that was created when three orphans were engaged with Kindermusic. I was moved to the point of a breakdown (good thing I was running the video camera) as I watched Jenya (Kindermusic) instructor lead Dave and another lady as all three interacted with the children. I do not know a whole lot at this point about Kindermusic….but what I witnessed with my eyes and heard with my ears today was truly impacting. Broken lives….lives that nobody seems to want….singing, laughing and giggling….a Godsong was rising in the room and I had the honour of having a front row seat. To Tammy McMath( the Kindermusic Instructor who first brought KM to this Central Asian country about 5 years ago)….all I can say is….thanks!


Tammy (top/center/right) with children and workers from a Ukrainian orphanage. 

Tammy (top/center/right) with children and workers from a Ukrainian orphanage.

From Tammy’s studio website:

“Tammy’s love of music and chidren has taken her overseas to Uzbekistan and Ukraine many times since 2001 where she has established Kindermusik classes in orphanages for handicapped children. There, children have been transformed by the power of music.  Music has unlocked their emotions,  their language, their bodies, and their minds.  It has literally unlocked their lives.  The work there is ongoing.  In June and July of 2005, Tammy spent two months in Ukraine working in four different orphanages, using music to touch the lives of needy children.  She also personally mentored and tutored a woman who completed the Kindermusik University training course.  This woman is the first and only licensed educator in the entire former Soviet Union, and is ensuring that music remains an important facet of the lives of the children in the orphanages.”


Thank you, Molly

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I have several blogs that I check almost every day because I know that they frequently have some cutting edge information that I usually find helpful not only for myself, but for my Kindermusik families as well. 

I found this video accompanied by its translation on Molly McGinn’s blog who, in turn, credits Sunny Kira of Sacramento, California.  Thanks to both of you, ladies.  This was a very thought-provoking video. 

Each new segment of the video has an insightful comment written in Korean.  The translation is reproduced below the video for you to follow along.


Translated from Korean:

A child is born not knowing anything about the world.
A mother is born not knowing anything about a child.


A child who is unable to balance his own head,
Possesses the strength to support his own weight.


He may cry out for milk,
But he has the ability to distinguish between his mother’s milk and that of another.


A newborn sleeps 14 hours a day,
And during that time, his neural development progresses at an astonishing rate.


Though a baby puts everything in his mouth,
He does so because of his limited eye sight so he can see and feel these objects.


A baby imitates his mother and this is the very first learned skill a baby possesses.


And then a baby speaks… using nonverbal gestures.

Dog, cat, milk..


Children who learn to sign score an average of 12 points higher on IQ tests. — USA Today
Baby signing facilitates speech development. — Linda Acredolo


But most importantly, signing with children nurtures a stronger family bond.


A child is born.
A mother is born.
Baby signing is born to help us communicate with our babies.

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According to an article just published by MSNBC.com, new findings from an experiment at Northwestern University are the first concrete evidence that playing music enhances brain function and sharpens hearing for all kinds of sounds, including speech and different inflections of speech.  Researcher Nina Kraus, a neuroscientist at Northwestern University, is quoted as saying, “Experience with music appears to help with many other things in life, potentially transferring to activities like reading or picking up nuances in tones of voices or hearing sounds in a noisy classroom better.”

These new findings obviously highlight how important music classes are, despite the fact that music classes are usually the first to get the axe when local school boards find that they must tighten the budget.

Science has long expounded the idea that music was a function of higher cerebral functioning in the cerebral cortex where reasoning, thought, and language are seated.  According to this latest report, researchers found instead that the brainstem, responsible for crucial autonomic functions such as breathing and heartbeat, was directly involved, even though it has long been considered to be uninvolved with complex processes such as music. 

“These results show us how malleable to experience the brainstem actually is,” Kraus said of the findings detailed in the April issue of the journal Nature Neuroscience. “We think music engages higher level functions in the cortex that actually tune the brainstem……….”How much musical training would you need for this to be helpful?” Kraus wondered. “Would music help children with literacy problems? How old would you have to be to see these effects?”

To read the article in its entirety, please visit MSNBC here

For a fascinating glimpse into how the brain receives and processes information, please visit The Brain: A Roadmap to the Mind”.

The Brain - An Awesome Creation

 Many thanks to Lori Burkhardt for sharing this article with us!

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I just found out that Eric Herman has released a new video – “Snow Day” on Youtube, based on the rhyming poem by Kenn Nesbitt.  Even though today is the first official day of spring, this one is too good to wait to share.  Enjoy!


At the end of “Snow Day” you will see a reference to Kenn Nessbitt’s website, Poetry4Kids.com.   It is not to be missed! 

Here’s a sample of some of his work found there:

I Taught My Cat to Clean My Room

I taught my cat to clean my room, to use a bucket, brush and broom,

To dust my books and picture frames, and pick up all my toys and games.

He puts my pants and shirts away, and makes my bed, and I should say

it seems to me it’s only fair he puts away my underwear.

In fact, I think he’s got it made.  I’m not too happy with our trade.

He may pick up my shoes and socks, but I clean out his litterbox.

—-Kenn Nesbitt



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I just saw this video from another Kindermusik educator and, if you have experienced the frustrations of trying to figure out what your crying baby wants, you’ll have chills down your spine as I did when you watch and listen to this 12-month-old baby communicate a complete sentence instead of crying.


Kindermusik educator Tracy Kretzer is quoted on Youtube, saying:

“Signing Smart TM 12-month old signs CRY instead of crying! Signs are capitalized. Baby signs/says, “AUDREY (A fist on her chin), CRYING; (feels) YUCKY, (wants) Ma MILK MAMA!” Rather than cry, she tells me she feels like crying!! Two word sentences are typical between 18-24 months, but this is a 5 word sentence! Thank you SIGNING SMART and Kindermusik Sign & Sing for the ASL STRATEGIES!! I can truly have a conversation with my baby!

Our newest Sign & Sing session begins tonight,  March 19th, at 6:30PM. 

We meet at Columbia Presbyterian Church on Columbia Drive in Decatur.  For maps and directions, please visit our Maps page.

Come see how fun and easy it is to communicate with your baby!

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In the past few weeks in Our Time‘s Fiddle Dee Dee and Village’s Hickory, Dickory, Tickle and Bounce,  we’ve been singing a lovely song entitled

Morning Song“:  

When pigs get up in the morning, they always say ‘Good Day!’

When pigs get up in the morning, they always say ‘Good Day!’

Oink! Oink! Oink! Oink!  That is what they say, they say,

Oink! Oink! Oink! Oink! That is what they say!

This week I brought a little friend with me to class and I can safely say that every child there wanted to take him home with him or her.  🙂 

Meet Mr. Pig!

Pig Puppet made from printout and paper bag

You can find Mr. Pig and his other cute friends at First-School.ws.  All you need is some printer ink, paper, scissors, a glue stick, and a paper bag to guarantee some genuine family fun!

Tip of the hat to Christa Sigman for sharing with us!

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Last fall I ran across a comment on a friend’s blog that was left by a teacher at an ESL school in Japan.  Just out of curiosity, I followed the link to their site and discovered some of the funniest, most ingenious teaching tools that I’ve ever seen, using music to help young Japanese children learn the ins and outs of the English language. 

Just for fun, here’s a video made by one of their teachers, Jeremy Chapman, who is a creative force all his own.  Be forewarned – you’ll find yourself singing along:

“Uh-huh. uh-huh. uh-huh, UH-UH!” 


To view Jeremy’s videos of his first year living and teaching in Japan, please visit here.

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