Archive for September, 2007

Brilliant October Blue Sky with Gorgeous Multi-color Trees 

This week, I said a relieved “good-bye” to one of the hottest summers on record and an eager “Hel-LO!” to my favorite time of year – the Fall.  Thankfully, the changing of the seasons brings some relief from the heat and humidity of the summer here in Georgia.  As the weather continues to cool down and the need for air conditioning decreases, many people begin to plan and prepare for the colder months by checking out and servicing the furnaces and heatpumps, changing the air filters, and generally making things shipshape for the days and weeks ahead.  This same preparation also reminds me of other things that need to be addressed in our Kindermusik classes in order to prepare and plan ahead to make this our best semester ever.

Sick Child Policy

Your child has been feeling kind of “punk” the past few days, and you wonder, “Should I take him (or her) to Kindermusik this week ?”  


Sick Child


Please follow these guidelines and, if your child has any of these symptoms, please keep him/her home:

  • Fever within the last 24 hours

  • Runny nose with yellow or green mucus

  • Diarrhea

  • Vomiting

  • Sore throat or difficulty swallowing

  • Lice

  • Rash or spots on skin, ringworm infection

  • Severe itching

  • Mouth sores

  • Eye discharge

  • Significant tiredness, irritability, crying

  • Uncontrolled coughing; Difficulty breathing, wheezing

Please be considerate of other children when deciding whether or not your child is healthy enough to attend class.  Ask yourself this important question…if your child is healthy, would you want him/her playing with another child that has your child’s symptoms?


If the answer is no, please do not bring him/her to class. If your child exhibits any of these symptoms, please be advised that in the interest of safety for all children and adults present, we will ask you to leave and make-up the class at a better time.





 Fighting Children

Because certain aggressive behaviors create apprehension for children and consequently ruin the class experience, these behaviors will not be tolerated. Aggressive behavior toward other children or adults will be grounds for dismissal and/or expulsion from class.


Aggressive behaviors include, but are not limited to: throwing objects at others, biting, hitting, kicking, tackling, and scratching.  Also included are behaviors that cause damage to the classrooms of Masterworks Studio,  Columbia Presbyterian Church, or Avondale First Baptist Church.  The following actions will be taken if these behaviors occur:

  1. First incident: parent must remove child from that class for the remainder of class that day.

  2. Second incident: parent must remove child from that class for the remainder of class that day. Additionally, the child may not attend any classes for a period of no less than two weeks.

  3. Third incident: parent must remove child from that class for the remainder of class that day and child may no longer attend Kindermusik classes for the remainder of the semester.

  4. Masterworks Studio reserves the right for an instructor to ask a parent to remove a child from class at any time or to deny admission to a class due to any of the above mentioned behaviors.


Class Guidelines

To provide the very best Kindermusik experience for your child and everyone else in class, please follow the following guidelines:

Before class:

·          Provide snacks for your child at home. Please do not bring food or drinks to class.


·          Please leave toys, pacifiers, snacks, sippy cups, etc. at home or in the car. Your child will need to have his hands and voice free to participate.


·          Please arrive on time. All children need a few minutes to settle into a new environment, so feel free to come 5 minutes early to facilitate a comfortable learning environment.  There are always books, puppets, or instruments available at this time.


·          Listen to your Kindermusik CD frequently.  It will help a child feel a sense of familiarity. This will make the class more enjoyable for them. Unfortunately, you will get tired of it long before they do.  😀


·          Please set your cell phone to silent or vibrate. We understand that sometimes emergencies arise and you need to take a call. In that case, please step out of the room so that your speaking does not distract the children.


·          Allergy Information: Please be aware that some children are extremely sensitive to certain foods and therefore, we ask you please do not bring food or drink into the classroom.  If you have food or a cup in your bag, please be sure it is somewhere where no child could accidentally eat or drink it.  Also, please avoid wearing heavy perfumes. 


During class:

Kindermusik is a special time for you and your child. We encourage you to use the class time to fully enjoy and participate in the activities with your child.


·          Toddlers learn by discovery and imitation. So no matter what your voice sounds like or how silly you feel, you are the child’s best teacher and they do what you model for them.


·          Kindermusik is a shared family experience.  Unlike a playgroup, Kindermusik is not a time for visiting.  Focusing on the activity will help the class move along smoothly, whereas visiting distracts all the children and parents, ultimately leading to a chaotic environment. You are always welcome to come early or stay late to visit.


·          Encourage your child by describing what she did and showing your delight. Using phrases such as “You rang the bells” or “You tapped your sticks very fast”, rather than “Good job” will foster intrinsic motivation in your child and enhance her self esteem.


·          Allow your child his or her own response. Your child’s response may be to retreat to a corner or wander around the room. Even if your child’s response is inward or different, it is still that child’s way of learning. It is difficult for parents to watch their child sit motionless or do something completely different than the rest of the class. Our philosophy asks for acceptance and respect of your child’s response. We trust the child to interact within the environment when the child is ready. Please refrain from manipulating your child’s response. It is appropriate to encourage and model.


Remember that Kindermusik is process oriented, not performance based.


About behavior:


It is perfectly normal for children to run, tumble, scream, cry, and protest. And all children will do these things. Please keep in mind, however, that some behaviors, although very natural for a child, may be disruptive during an inside activity.


[For parent of 3-5 year olds: Additionally, your child may react differently when you enter the room. This is a typical 3-5 year old reaction. They may have been fully participating until you enter, then shut down completely. Or they may have been perfectly behaved, and then suddenly act-out when you enter.]


·          If your child becomes upset or disruptive, please take her outside the room or just around the cabinet by the door, and set appropriate boundaries before returning. This helps the class move smoothly and keeps all the children focused.


Running Toddler


·          Running is not permitted for the safety of the children. Also, please stop any “contagious behaviors” that affect the class.


·          All children have rough days. If your child is upset and unable to settle in, it is best to leave and try again another day. If your child is misbehaving, a stern warning followed by going home usually prevents the behavior’s recurrence. You are always welcome to make-up the class and try again on a better day.


After class:


·          Please try to find time to enjoy the home activity book/journal, and read the story book(s) with your child. It will only enhance the in-class experience and increase the value of your Kindermusik investment.


Now we’ve checked out our class guidelines and policies, and made sure they’re still viable and functioning, and we’re off to a terrific fall semester! 

Hope you all have a fabulous weekend!


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A recent study at Northwestern University  by Gabriella Musacchia, Mikko Sams, Erika Skoe and Nina Kraus demonstrates that music training “may be even more important for enhancing verbal communication skills than learning phonics.”  Musicians incorporate all of their senses while practicing or performing music.  This is done by watching other musicians, reading lips, and feeling, hearing, and performing music during the music-making process.   This same multi-sensory process of music training enhances the same communication skills needed for speaking and reading.

     Nina Kraus, Hugh Knowles Professor of Communication Sciences and Neurobiology and director of Northwestern’s Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory, where the work was performed, is quoted as saying, “Audiovisual processing was much enhanced in musicians’ brains compared to non-musician counterparts, and musicians also were more sensitive to subtle changes in both speech and music sounds. Our study indicates that the high-level cognitive processing of music affects automatic processing that occurs early in the processing stream and fundamentally shapes sensory circuitry.”

Girl playing rhythm sticks

According to Gabriella Musacchia, lead author of the study and doctoral student at Northwestern University, musicians develop a “specialized neural system for processing sight and sound in the brainstem, the neural gateway to the brain.”   The brainstem  has  long been thought of as simply a relay switchboard for sensory input from the ear to the cortex,  which is an area known for cognitive processing.  The brainstem, however, also  offers a shared pathway for both music and speech, which suggests the possibility that musical training could help children with their literacy skills and possibly even fight literacy disorders. 

The number of years that a person practiced music directly correlated to enhanced basic sound encoding mechanisms that were also relevant to speech.  It also revealed that musicians develop “super-accurate” pitch coding which enable them to better recognize a speaker’s identity and emotional intent as well as decipher and interpret timbre and time cues common to both speech and music.  

Quote:  “The study underscores the extreme malleability of auditory function by music training and the potential of music to tune our neural response to the world around us, ” Kraus said.

In earlier studies, it had been demonstrated that some children with literacy disorders showed transcription errors in the brainstem.   Since children are often more likely to have accessibility to music at an earlier age rather than phonics, “music training may have considerable benefits for engendering literacy skills.”

Boy Growing to His Fullest Potential

So, mom and dad, you may have enrolled your child in our Kindermusik classes thinking that this would provide a musical environment for your child to experience, grow, and develop an appreciation for music at an early age, or you may chosen Kindermusik to provide an opportunity for your child to be with other children the same age.  You may have enrolled simply to enjoy having time together – just the two of you.  

Now, you can also pat yourself on the back, because, at the same time you’re dancing around our classroom, bloop-ing like Little Fish and his Dad, you are also creating and fostering literacy skills in your child that will last a lifetime!

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

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

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Grandma’s Future Tech Support tee

Available here.

Via SwissMiss 

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House Bill 128 passed by the Georgia State Legislature provides a sales tax exemption from both state and local sales taxes for certain, specific energy efficient products that are purchased during the sales tax holiday of October 4 through 7, 2007.   This exemption is limited strictly to products $1500 or less that are designated as meeting requirements of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy “Energy Star” programs. 

Energy Star

The energy efficient products that are eligible for the sales tax exemption are:

air conditioners                                                 doors

ceiling fans                                                        flourescent light bulbs

clothes washers                                                programmable thermostats

dehumidifiers                                                   refrigerators

dishwashers                                                     windows (including skylights)

This sales tax exemption is meant strictly for non-commercial home or personal use.  

 For additional information, check out the FAQ’s at the Georgia State Department of Revenue’s site. 

The Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority has a comprehensive page with a ton of helpful information as well as multiple helpful links for the consumer and  the retailer alike.    Just keep in mind that the products must be $1500 or less in price.   If it’s more than that price cap, you will pay sales tax on the entire amount, not just the amount beyond $1500.    Good luck and happy shopping!  😀


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Because that’s all it takes to make a difference in the life of another woman  – someone who may need a mammogram, but doesn’t have health insurance or the funds for a copay to be able to get one.   

The Breast Cancer Site Logo

The Breast Cancer site is having trouble getting enough people to click on their site daily to meet their quota of donating at least one free mammogram a day to an underprivileged woman.  It takes less than a minute to go to their site and click on ‘donating a mammogram’ for free (pink window in the middle).  This doesn’t cost you a thing. Their corporate sponsors /advertisers use the number of daily visits to donate mammograms in exchange for advertising. 

Click Here to Give - It’s FREE

Your click on the “Click Here to Give – it’s FREE” button helps fund free mammograms for women in need — low-income, inner-city and minority women whose awareness of breast cancer and opportunity for help is often limited. Your click is paid for by site sponsors, and mammogram funding is provided to clinics throughout the U.S. through the efforts of the National Breast Cancer Foundation

By clicking on the pink button above here on my blogpage, you will be linked directly to the Breast Cancer Site and then be able to click on their pink button to help someone out.  It only takes a second.  Can you spare the time?

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Simplicity Aspen 3-in-1 Crib with a Wooden Mattress Support  

Information just released this afternoon by the U.S. Consumer Safety Products Commission states that about 1 million cribs manufactured by Simplicity, Inc., and sold under the Simplicity and Graco names from January, 1998 through May, 2007, are being recalled after three children died from suffocation after being trapped in the defective cribs.   Two babies, aged 6 months and 9 months, died in the recalled cribs, and the third child, 1 year old, died in a newer model not on the recall list, but currently under investigation.  

 In all three instances, failure to properly install the drop-rail side of the crib resulted in a gap in the crib where the children could slide into and suffocate.    Seven other infants have been entrapped in the cribs, according to the CPSC, and there have been 55 reports of the cribs’ drop sides detaching or the hardware failing to hold the side to the crib.

To read the specific recall issued by the CPSC, view it HERE.   There you will find specific model numbers and photo illustrations of the defective installations and corrective action to be taken.

Wondering if your child’s crib might be one of these?  Go HERE to the Simplicity site, and then scroll down to the lower right for links to photos of specific models and detailed model information, including instructions for checking out your crib’s hardware

Give yourself some peace of mind and a good night’s sleep by checking out your child’s crib before bedtime tonight.

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I normally don’t do advertising on my blog, simply because I don’t like to read a lot of ads myself when skimming through other blogs.  But, once in a while, I run across something that is really worthwhile sharing with my Kindermusik families.  Today is one of those days.

Signing Time

For one day only, today, Friday, September 21st, Signing Time  is offering all of their VHS signing videos for $5.00.  These are high-quality,  fun videos that are very enjoyable for the entire family and are also very good at teaching children and adults American Sign Language (ASL).   If you’ve ever wanted to add some additional signing to your Sign & Sing home materials, this is well worth checking out.  And, bonus for you, Signing Time is for all ages – not just babies and toddlers.  I could go on and on, but this sale lasts only today, until quantities are gone.   Don’t wait to check them out for yourself!  

Five Buck Friday Sale

(And, no, I’m not affiliated with them.) 

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Pirate Flag 

In June of 1995, two average guys, while playing racquetball, got a good case of the sillies and began talking in “Pirate”-speak (Think George Orwell and 1984) while swinging their rackets and flailing away.  They had so much fun that they decided to make it an annual event every September 19th, the birthday of the ex-wife of one of them.  (Seems it was the only date he could remember that wasn’t already an important holiday like Christmas or the Super Bowl. Wonder if he remembered it when he was married to her?! 😉 ) 

After haphazardly celebrating it for seven years, in early 2002, these two same two guys, John Baur and Mark Summers, serendipitously happened upon the email address of Dave Barry, nationally syndicated columnist, and asked themselves, “Why not ask Dave to be the official national spokesman for Talk Like a Pirate Day?” Accordingly, they then sent an email off with their fingers crossed, “casting our bread upon the water, if we may wax Biblical.”

Imagine their surprise in early September of that same year to receive a phone call from a friend, informing them that they had made Dave Barry’s nationally syndicated column!  Since then, things have really taken off, and you can hear adults literally around the world, “arrr-ing” and “avast”-ing with the best of them!

Why talk like a pirate?  Let me direct you back to John and Mark.  From their website:

  • Why do we need an International Talk Like a Pirate Day?
  • Make no mistake. We do. But it’s a little hard to articulate why, especially when you’ve made the mistake of referring to your wife as a scurvy bilge rat and tried to order her back into the galley.
  • Talking like a pirate is fun. It’s really that simple.

So, when you’re out and about today, and hear someone “arr-ing” away, simply reply, in your best “Long John Silver” voice, “Avast, me hearties!” and join in the fun. 

Just make sure it’s not your boss!  😀

Pirate with foot on chests

(above pirate courtesy of talklikeapirate.com)

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In our Village classes, ages 0 to 18 months, we encourage parents to initiate vocal play with their little ones, to interact and imitate sounds made by their babies.  Somehow, I don’t think we ever imagined this kind of vocal play.  This guy is amazing! Enjoy!


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Viewing television ads from other nations is always interesting, to say the least, but I think this commercial from Japan will definitely put a smile on your face and a laugh in your day. Enjoy!


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