Parent Information

The Kindermusik philosophy springs from genuine respect for each child's individual rate of development and thereby provides the tools through class activities and At-Home materials to honour, support, and celebrate the wonderful uniqueness of each child.

Unfortunately, too much in our society forces independence too soon and too fast. We encourage you to consider letting Kindermusik be the place where flexibility and the needs of the whole family are respected.

Although it is necessary to indicate age ranges for Kindermusik curricula, these age ranges are considered to be widely overlapping and flexible. For example, it is absolutely okay for a 3 year old to be in an Our Time class. But it is also possible to have a young 3 year old who is ready to move on to Imagine That with Kindermusik.

While it is essential that a child be at least the minimum age to enrol in any given class, there are also three critical "transitional stages" (1½ , 3, and 4½) at which parents have a choice about which class would be most appropriate and most beneficial for their child.

First, consider the following:

  • What is your goal for the child? Are you interested in supporting the child's developing independence, or is special bonding time with the parent still very important to both the parent and the child?
  • Which class environment do you see the child thriving in? Which class would allow the child to grow? Maybe they need to be the "big frog in the little pond" and increase their self-esteem, problem solving and leadership skills?
  • Try to evaluate the pleasure factor more highly than the achievement factor. Solid emotional development fosters cognitive development.
  • Next, there are also issues of developmental readiness to be carefully considered. In order to make the best decision, you can evaluate various characteristics of a child's physical, cognitive, emotional, language, social, and musical readiness. Below are some helpful tables that might provide some direction, particularly for those parents whose child is at or near those critical transitional ages of 11/2, 3, and 41/2 years.

Moving from Village to Our Time

A child who may be ready for Our Time is beginning to exhibit many of the following characteristics:

Physical
Language
  • Improved walking skills, feet are together, knees flexible (vs. the "just walker" who has a wide-based, legs-apart gate with locked knees.)
  • Beginning to imitate/explore a variety of travelling movements; run, jump, leap
  • Can walk up stairs holding onto rail or hand
  • Can express wants and needs symbolically (gestures, words)
  • Has vocabulary of 20 words. Receptive language is still stronger than expressive.
  • Reading with caregiver becomes cooperative. Child will select book, sit, turn pages, relate to the story and interact
Social
Musical
  • Interested in what other children are doing
  • Capable of distal communication (i.e. following verbal instructions from further away)
  • Moves to music, perhaps to steady beat
  • Responds to rhymes and songs, recognizes familiar ones
Cognitive
  • Reliably points to correctly identified body parts
  • Can follow two-step direction. "Come get a scarf, and take it back to Mummy."
  • Understands what "one" means (vs. a handful)
  • Learning to use toys and objects in symbolic ways (moving beyond just enjoyment of sensory properties)
  • Moving beyond play schemes of mouthing, throwing and dumping. Actions become purposeful and integrated.
  • Can interact in a directed activity
  • Able to shift attention with transition
  • Connects to an activity; initiates a play sequence with caregiver
  • Reliably responds to own name (refers to self by name in secure environments)

Moving from Our Time to Imagine That

While the 3 year old is becoming independent, using language to express wants and needs and therefore able to function well without parent or caregiver, keep in mind that there is plenty of time to securely support this emerging independence.

A child who may be ready for Imagine That is beginning to exhibit many of the following characteristics:

Physical
Language
  • Has a taller, thinner, adult-like appearance

  • Balances on one foot, jumps in place without falling

  • Holding crayons in pincer grasp rather than fist  

  • Beginning to master rules of language: speaks in full sentences (4-5 words), asks questions

  • Vocabulary growing from 300-1000 words

  • Can relate a series of activities, tells stories. ("We went to the grocery store, then to Grandma's and I played with the kittens")

Social
Musical
  • Recognizes the needs of another person

  • Turn taking becomes harder than earlier, but beginning to understand reasons

  • Learning about patience

  • Recites rhymes

  • Sings simple, whole songs

Cognitive
  • Knows if they are a boy or a girl

  • Can do matching games

  • Can name lots of animals

  • Knows triangle, circle, square; red, yellow, blue

  • Developing divergent thinking skills ("What animals do you like?")

  • Beginning transition from concrete to abstract thinking (humour aids this process)

  • Sits and listens to stories for up to 10 minutes

When Is A Child Ready For Private Instrumental Instruction?

As a general rule, children are not ready for the disciplined training of formal musical instruction until at least the age of 6 or 7. Although aptitude varies among individuals, all children have the ability to achieve musically and will be greatly influenced by the timing and quality of their early experiences.

"Kindermusik offers the broad foundation that must be the strongest part of the child's musical development and learning," says Dr. Elaine Harriss, Director of Educational Standards and Professional Development for Kindermusik International.

"This foundation – developing a solid sense of rhythm and pitch, nurturing the young singing voice, moving the whole body to music and enjoying music with a group – is essential for musical growth throughout the rest of the child's life." Dr. Harriss, also a piano teacher, recommends that young children have Kindermusik classes first before more formal musical instruction.

Early musical experiences such as those Kindermusik classes provide will benefit the young child both now and in the future. Many experts agree "preschool music enrichment classes, which lay a foundation for musicianship through rhythmic activities, singing, movement, and music notation skills, often accelerate later progress on an instrument."

Kindermusik graduates have grown up with music around them, learning in a group through exploration and movement. They have always had Mum or Dad there to reassure them. The children have been able to develop their muscles and enhance their coordination by using instruments that were just their size. They have learned pitches, melodies, rhythms, and songs by listening to others and absorbing the rich musical environment around them. Kindermusik classes have offered them everything they need to appreciate and succeed in music.

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