Letting Children Learn at Their Own Pace

EE Blog PostAt our recent open house demos that we held in January, before our Winter Session began, I was struck by how many parents expressed their concern that their child does not show reactions or participate in class and therefore have never enrolled their child in a regular session. Many of these parents told me that they only attend demo classes with their children because of this concern.  I responded by emphasizing that the child may be an auditory or visual learner and that they are just soaking it all in rather than participating. Also, they may be a kinesthetic learner, a child that has to be moving to learn effectively, but that they are still processing what is going on around them.  If the child is in the room, they can’t help but absorb what is happening in the room.  According to Maria Montessori, the young child’s brain is twice as active as the adult brain and is designed to soak up their environment between the age of 0 – 5, so they can become a part of the culture they are born into.

Music Together is not a performance-based experience and each child will respond in their own way when he or she is ready.  Oftentimes the children who either were kinesthetic and circled the room the whole class or the ones who were completely still in class, not moving a muscle, go home and do all the motions where they feel most comfortable.  Parents will come to class the next week and rave about how their child knew more movements than the parent!

A child’s participation in a demo class is very rare indeed. Think of all the stimuli that she is experiencing…new faces (children and adults), new music, new surroundings. The list goes on and on. It usually takes a child 6 weeks to feel completely comfortable in the class.

We need to remember to let our children learn at their own pace and in their own way, and not put our own expectations on them. The most important thing we can do is have fun in class and model joyful and enthusiastic music making!  Children are geared to take in all the loves that their parents have.  If we are consistent in showing passion while making music, we will be giving our children the gift of music that will last for a lifetime.

Edie Elkjer
Music Together Teacher

2 Responses to “Letting Children Learn at Their Own Pace”

  1. 1 Kelly Daniel February 7, 2013 at 5:30 pm

    Great reminder, Edie! My twins have been in classes at Heartsong since they were 5 months old. Obviously, at that age, they laid there motionless most of the time. We noticed, though, at about 6-7 months that my daughter would smile and kick her feet if we sang The Hello Song and my son would only (and I mean ONLY) calm down if we sang The Rain Song from the Triangle Collection. The next session, they still mostly sat and watched, occasionally crawling around, but near the end of the session we noticed them filling in resting tones. They still NEVER do this in class, but do it all the time at home. This session, we’ve seen my daughter sing out in class, on pitch but with no words, my son is exploring his loud and soft voices on his own at home, and they never stop dancing, again only at home! They are definitely learning! We just don’t see it until they have time to think about it and practice at home.

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The Joy of Family Music

Heartsong Music teaches Music Together®, the internationally recognized early childhood music and movement program for children from birth through grade two and the adults who love them.

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