That’s just one of the activities that kids, and parents for that matter, can expect at a Kindermusik class. Created in Germany, Kindermusik is a music and movement program for children ages 7 and under.
Kindermusik activities are based on research into early childhood development. Using movement and music, the program helps develop children’s language skills, cognitive processes and motor skills, as well as social and emotional skills.
“The tunes are so catchy. We’re not making what people think of as ‘kids’ music,” Sagal said.
Sagal added that the internationally acclaimed program incorporates music from a variety of traditions, from African, Asian and Israeli music to reggae and jazz.
While students are learning language skills, even foreign language words, from singing songs, they learn musical concepts through movement.
“We emphasize the musical concepts by listening to instruments doing the sounds, as well as by moving our bodies in different ways,” she said. “To learn about tempo, we move our bodies faster or slower. For high tones and low tones, we might stretch up high, and then get down on the ground and swim or crawl.”
Older kids learn more advanced musical terms and concepts such as glissando, legato and staccato in the same way. Sagal doesn’t shy away from using technical terms with her audience, who are quick to learn.
Kindermusik also includes a literacy component, with Sagal reading aloud to the students. “All the books are interactive,” she said.
The wishy-washy chant accompanied a book about bath time, and students, parents and teacher sang the song every time Sagal turned the page. She also utilizes props such as balls, scarves, hoops, blankets, and mirrors to teach children to think outside of the box.
“We use hula hoops, but we don’t put them on our hips and spin them,” she said. “A hula hoop can be a boat, part of a bridge, a tunnel, or the steering wheel on a car.”
Other aspects of the curriculum teach interpersonal skills. Circle dances teach kids about community and doing things together, Sagal said. Passing games, where students pass a prop to each other, teach about sharing and taking turns. Sagal plays recorded sounds from the real world, like bird songs, running water and train noises, to teach listening skills, not just the physical sensation of hearing but also the active skill of discerning different sounds and noises.
“That way they are hearing things from the environment that they recognize, and they make the connections,” Sagal said.
The family-oriented program includes parents in the curriculum in a couple of ways. Parents of children up to 3 years old accompany their child to the class and sit in on the songs, games and activities. Older students come alone for the first half-hour, and then parents return for the remaining 15 minutes. Take-home materials reinforce what the kids and parents learn in class by leading the family through similar activities that are adapted for family participation.
As part of the program, students get an instrument in a useful take-home bag. They also get two CDs of Kindermusik songs, two books and a home family-activity book.
“My daughter has had just a phenomenal response to the program as well as to Lisa herself,” said Trish Moran, whose daughter Hailey has been in Kindermusik since she was a year-and-a-half and is about to start her third session. “She’s meeting a really necessary part of the toddler years by providing this service.”
Before being a Kindermusik teacher, Sagal taught at Ridgway Elementary for eight years, including special education, English as a second language, and the gifted and talented program. She taught elementary music and founded the still-thriving high school drama program. She also developed the kindergarten program for Kidz Country Cottage. Sagal is certified in elementary education.
“I’m passionate about the creative arts and expression,” Sagal said. “That kind of stuff gives kids the confidence they need in the social challenges that they face in growing up. Drama, movement and music create good friendships and gives kids confidence to face their challenges.”
Starting Tuesday, Feb. 5, Sagal will be offering classes for children up to 5 years old. “Our Time,” the class for students age 1 to 3, takes place at three different times: Tuesdays, 9-9:45 a.m.; and Thursdays, 9-9:45 a.m. and 4:45-5:30 p.m. at the Ridgway Community Church. “Our Time” classes happen at the Montrose First Baptist Church on Wednesdays from 3:45-4:30 p.m. and 5:45-6:30 p.m.
“Imagine That!” a class for 3- to 5-year-olds, happens on Wednesdays in Montrose from 4:45-5:30 p.m. at Montrose First Baptist, and on Thursdays from 3:45-4:30 p.m. at Ridgway Community Center.
Tuition is $140 for 14 weeks; there will be a two-week spring break in April.
For more information contact Sagal at 970/626-9755 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.