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Posts Tagged ‘child’

I love hearing what parents have to say about Kindermusik!  After all, I’m biased – I know that it’s the very best early childhood music and movement curriculum there is!  And I know that it’s *so* much more than just music.

But to hear what a parent has to say – well, that’s a glimpse into the other side of the equation in the Kindermusik classroom – the parent and their participation in class, too.

This article by Beth Britton in Clarkesville Online shares all this, but also points out another big plus for Kindermusik parents – the Kindermusik community of other parents that are right there with you in the classroom.

beth-britton

Read what this mom from Clarkesville, Tennessee had to say about Kindermusik and the eye-opening insight she received about her own daughter while in the classroom.   Where would we be without the free thinkers of this world?  Your child *just* might be one of them!

It’s not too late to register for our upcoming Kindermusik semester which begins *next* Saturday, January 24th.    We’ll be singing Mother Goose rhymes, walking along with a dog named Rover, visiting “Cities – Busy Places, Friendly Faces” as well as playing the “Rhythms of the Land”.  Come join us!

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Have you ever wondered about other Kindermusik classes than the one your child is enrolled in?

Well, this video gives you a glimpse of the full seven year continuum of Kindermusik – from newborn to age 7 – Village to Our Time to Imagine That to Young Child.  Enjoy!  😀

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As a Kindermusik educator, I am blessed with the ability to come in contact with educators from literally around the world.  At my very first Kindermusik convention in July, 2005, in Nashville, Tennessee, I made a very good friend from Malaysia.  We have corresponded frequently since then and I hope to see her in person again one day at another convention.

I have also met, via our online group at Yahoogroups, Sarah Peel Li, a Kindermusik educator in Beijing, China.  We have participated together in continuing education webinars hosted and sponsored by Kindermusik International.  I greatly enjoy her expertise as an educator as well as her humor.

This morning, as I skimmed through the group’s posts, I read a new one from Sarah that put the China earthquake into a much more personal perspective.  I am reproducing it here.  If you feel led to participate, please do so.  The need is incredible. 

From Sarah Peel Li, Beijing, China:

As most of you are probably already aware there was a massive earthquake in the Sichuan region of China on Monday. It is a tragedy and many thousands of people have lost their lives. Those that survived in the hardest hit areas often have nothing, and the conditions are extremely difficult.

Kara Waddell, a Kindermusik parent here in Beijing, leads the NGO Operation Blessing here in China. She is now in Chengdu to coordinate relief efforts, and I hope our community of families and schools will be able to support the work she and her team are doing to assist children in the quake affected areas. Operation Blessing is partners with the China Charity Federation and China Foundation for collecting funds legally in China and for coordinating disaster relief activities. Collection of needed goods is also normal for this type of disaster, and Operation Blessing will be making arrangements for this type of aid to be sent in the coming days from partners here in Beijing.

As Kara put it in an e-mail I received, relief experts are right – give to whoever you trust, but cash in response scenarios really, really helps. If you would like to give, I know that supporting Operation Blessing’s work will make sure your funds reach those who need it most. They are extremely professional and have experience working with community partners in the hardest hit areas of Sichuan.  They are coordinating their work with the Red Cross and the China Social Work Association.

They are focused on relief for children and families, including an effort to reach and assist orphanages in the area. Their work is currently focused on: Mianyang City – where 3000 are being reported dead, 18,000 buried in rubble which could greatly increase the death toll; and  Dujiangyan City – they have a 2-year old friendship with the Red Cross from a district in this city. We are making local purchases of relief supplies and will help distribute with the Red Cross.
ONLINE DONATIONS:
Domestic and international credit cards can be used. 100% of funds dedicated for use in China although funds collected in the U.S. All funds received this week online we’ll dedicate to this earthquake relief, recovery and development efforts. Thank you for reading this message, and your generous support of an organization that is making a real difference in the face of incredible suffering.
Sarah Peel Li
Beijing, China

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I knew that I wanted to post something for Mother’s Day, but I hadn’t yet decided quite what to do when I received a lovely email from my friend, Patti, who also teaches the preschool choir for me at our church.  I thought it was so cute that I wanted to share. 

I’m always careful to try and find authors and sources in order to correctly attribute what I post, but Patti didn’t know where it came from, other than a “Fwd” from another friend.  This was one of those ubiquitous “Fwd” we all find in our inboxes and spam folders, and most frequently just delete. 

I still wanted to share it here.  I don’t know who the author/creator is, but I did note a reference on one panel to 123greetings.com.  I’ve searched their files, but this must be something from a previous year.  In any case, I want to share this with all moms everywhere, whether by blood, marriage, adoption, or just plain friend.  Happy Mother’s Day to you all!  🙂

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Many times in our Village classes (for infants 0 – 18 months), during our exercise time, I will often tell the parents that by providing the cross-lateral movements between opposing hand and foot, they are stimulating the corpus callosum which contains the nerve pathways between the two hemispheres in the brain.  This area is also linked to future academic success, such as learning to read, being able to write, and eye-hand coordination.    Recently published findings now indicate that the consistent, faithful practice of a musical instrument also provides further lifelong benefits. 

boy playing piano

In ScienceNOW Daily News, an article entitled Music Builds Bridges in the Brain by Greg Miller was published this past Wednesday, and gives even more weight to those parental reminders “Have you practiced your music today?”  It documents the release of a study by neuroscientists at Harvard Medical College and Boston College who studied 31 children from the age of 6 to 9 who had all been involved in musical instruction at some time during the course of the study or were continuing in their ongoing musical studies. 

Detailed magnetic resonance images (MRI’s) were taken of the children at ages 6 and 9.  Of the original thirty-one, six children were faithful to practice each week, averaging at least 2.5 hours weekly in the time between scans.  (Side note here: this is the same amount of time I require of all of my beginners – one half hour for five days each week.) 

In these children, “a region of the corpus callosum that connects movement-planning regions on the two sides of the brain grew about 25% relative to the overall size of the brain.”  Those children who practiced less than this or dropped their instrument entirely showed no growth.  Consistent, faithful practice doesn’t just improve your playing; it also strengthens and builds your brain! 

All of these children involved in the study did study an instrument which involved the use of two hands, such as the piano or violin.  (Possibly even flute? 🙂 )  We will have exciting news about our piano studio up in the next few days, so stay tuned! 

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As an older mom, I no longer have the immediate concern about the safety of the toys chosen for Christmas gifts.  This Christmas is the very first since 1978 that there haven’t been some kind of toys on one of my children’s Christmas lists which is kind of bittersweet for me in a way.  (Yes, I know, I should be grateful I don’t have to fight for Tickle Me Elmo Extreme or a Star Wars Starfighter or even a Nintendo Wii.)  I don’t know if I’ll even enter the doors of Toys R Us this year, which is a really weird rite of passage!

However, with all of the toy recalls this year and new rumblings of more problems in the toy industry’s oversight and monitoring of overseas manufacturers, there is cause for genuine concern.  On the online board of Kindermusik educators this morning, I read a post from an educator, a concerned mom herself, with these questions: 

I need some help.

I’m a newer mom and I’m confused about all the reporting and recalls that have been happening regarding lead paints in toys.

As I’m building my instrument and toy collection for classes, I feel confident anything purchased from KI has been tested for lead and will meet federal regulations.

But what about the things I’m purchasing outside of KI? How can I test these items for lead?

Or – at what age do I need to be less concerned about lead in toys for children?  I presume I’m most concerned for those babies and children who put toys and instruments in their mouths. 

Do I need to be concerned with plastic, wood and plush instruments/ toys? Or only those where paint can flake off?

Is there any one place to check for recalls on the lead paint?
 

These are all questions that any concerned mom would ask.  Until yesterday, I would have directed them to the Consumer Products Safety Commission site here.  Yesterday, however, I learned of a new site – Healthy Toys.org

 Healthy Toys Site Header

The subtitle of Healthy Toys says a great deal about what you will find there – The Consumer Action Guide to Toxic Chemicals in Toys.  You can search by name, brand, or type of toy.  You can even nominate a toy from your child’s collection for testing. 

The site will give you specific information on the chemicals found in the toys tested.  I typed in “Elmo” just to get an idea of what I might find.  I got two returns –  “Elmo’s Take-along Card Games” purchased at Dollar General Stores and the “Elmo Flashlight” purchased from Kmart. 

Just out of curiosity, I clicked on the card games, thinking that there really shouldn’t be that much to be worried about. They’re just cards, right?

Well, I was pleased and shocked with what I found. 

Healthytoys.org gives you highly detailed information – type of toy as well as a description of it, retailer it was purchased from, the distributor of the toy, the retailer code, where it was manufactured, and the test date/place as well as the test method which is also hyperlinked with further details about the test process.   To see this kind of information on one single toy was very nice.  However, the shocking part was what they actually found in this one toy.

High levels of lead, arsenic, and mercury were found with troublesome levels of chlorine/PVC and cadmium as well as traces of bromine and antimony.  The cards themselves were relatively harmless with only 3ppm (parts per million) of arsenic found.  The real culprit was the red carrying bag with a whopping 9,997 ppm of lead, 155,111 ppm of chlorine/PVC, and 984 ppm of arsenic. 

Most adults would probably shrug and just toss if off with a thought of, “Well, it’s only the bag it came in.  It won’t be played with.” 

But, as a mom of five as well as a Kindermusik educator that teaches very young children and babies, I can testify to the fact that this bag would, in all likelihood, wind up in some child’s mouth at some point because very young children, especially babies and toddlers, explore their world primarily through their mouth.  Given the fact that it’s red and probably enticing to the eye, it’s almost a sure thing that some child in this world would try it out in their mouth.  Would you want it to be yours?

The whole point of this post is not to rant about any one toy, but, instead, to provide badly needed information to concerned parents as well as extended family and friends.  If you’re wondering about the safety of your child’s toys or gifts planned for Christmas, do yourself a favor and zip over to HealthyToys.org

Be prepared for a possible delay in accessing their website due to extremely heavy traffic.  The site was slammed yesterday when they announced their opening.  I tried all through the day and couldn’t get in until late last night.  But it is well worth your time and effort for some peace of mind.  After all, it’s your child’s safety we’re talking about, right?

 Healthy Toys.org

 

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Recently, my friend, Molly, posted on her blog about cute Halloween costumes that won’t cost you an arm and a leg, you can easily make them yourself, and they aren’t made of smelly vinyl possibly contaminated with dangerous lead levels.  I couldn’t resist sharing some of them here with you. 

Happy Clown

Happy Clown

Do-It-Yourself

* Attach two plastic pot scrubbers and a colored ball to the top of a cotton cap.

* Thread plastic pot scrubbers loosely with elastic as the clown’s collar

* Hot-glue or stitch three plastic pot scrubbers to the front of a one-piece jumper.

* Cinch pot scrubbers with twist ties and stitch or glue to shoes.

Dragon

Dragon

Do-It-Yourself

* Cut green sponges into triangles and stitch or glue them down the center of a pilot’s cap.

* Attach more triangles down the back of a matching bodysuit.

Bumblebee and Flower

DIY Baby Bumblebee 

Do-It-Yourself

* Make yourself a flower-petal collar from a plastic shower-curtain liner.

* For antennae, attach chenille stems topped with pom-poms to a cotton cap.

* Use bubble wrap as wings.

* Wrap a yellow towel around a baby carrier and fasten it with stripes of black electrical tape.

For additional information and costume ideas, visit Parent.com here.

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