Mini Maestros - It's Not Just About The Children.
By Judy O'Neill - Mini Maestros Ringwood & Vermont South Franchisee
As a mother of three small children, who had just moved into Heathmont, I knew no one.
When visiting the Maternal and Child Health Centre I noticed a poster advertising Mini Maestros. I enrolled my eldest son, Chris, because it was very obvious, even in utero, that music was going to be his first love. Music is now his career.
The other reason I went on to enrol all of my children in Mini Maestros was for myself!
Each week, I so looked forward to having fun with my children and chatting with the adults. It will come as no surprise to adults who attend my classes to say that I was one of the chatty parents. I was regularly and "lovingly" shushed in class by Jenny Fogarty, the teacher and founder of Mini Maestros.
Fast forward 5 years and leading into my youngest son, Conor's last term of Mini Maestros, I was asked by Jenny to join the Mini Maestros team as a teacher. And now, this is my 20th year of teaching this amazing program.
Recently, I asked carers who attend my classes to help me with the research for this article by completing the following statement:
“As a parent/grandparent/carer, attending Mini Maestros classes with my child gives me......."
I was overwhelmed by their thoughtful responses, which I have separated into three categories:
1. Special bonding time with my child:
* Carers felt a sense of pride, excitement and amazement.
* They enjoy spending one on one time with their child.
* Sharing the love and joy of music in it's many forms through singing, listening, making music, performing and dancing.
* Carers told of feeling a tighter bond with their children because of Mini Maestros classes.
* Clients also value having fun with their child in "a supportive environment".
* They enjoy watching their children take the skills they have learnt in class and using them at home.
2. The opportunity to enjoy my child’s development:
* Development of social skills through interaction with other children
* Musical skills
*Learning to follow instructions
*Performance and public speaking skills
*Sharing and turn- taking
*The largest response - The development of their child's self- confidence
3. Social interaction for me as well as my child.
* Many carers commented on the social interaction of classes being important to them, including interaction between their child, and other children and their carers.
* Carers welcome the opportunity to make new friends. They enjoy the chance to have fun with all of the children and carers through music, dancing and laughter.
* Some carers enjoy having a coffee after class with their class members.
* One grandmother really enjoys chatting to the varied age group of adults; it “keeps her in touch with the world”.
* Watching their children's friendships develop inside and outside of our class also brought joy to carers.
In a world now full of electronic screens, large and small, it is exciting for me to know that face-to-face interaction continues to be very important for adults and their children.
A heartfelt thank you to everyone for your responses.
I have a story for you...
About 10 years ago, I had a telephone conversation with a carer who rang to apologise for missing class for a few weeks. Her three children had been sick consecutively over 4 weeks and she told me she "was climbing the walls." She then went on to say:
"I am so disappointed that I haven't been able to get to class. I nearly asked my partner to take the day off work today to look after the children so I could go to class to catch up with everyone!"
Mini Maestros - it's not just about the children.
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