By Jennifer Smith - Mini Maestros Music Director
The middle of a term is an exciting point where we see a lot of progress all of a sudden. Because children are familiar with some of the term's repertoire by this point, they have more confidence to respond in various ways to show their understanding of what is happening in the music and in the classes. Remember that, like adults, most children prefer to wait until they are sure of what is going on before they join in wholeheartedly with activities. Now that the term's songs are familiar to them, they know what to expect and feel more confident and secure in lessons.
Mini Maestros teachers know the subtle things to watch for which show that children understand and are enjoying what they are learning. Once you know what you are looking for, recognising children's small signs of progress is exciting and a cause for celebration. For babies, a lovely sign of development in classes is when they watch and focus on what other babies and adults in the class are doing. They will store this information away and, when they are ready, will copy what they have seen. 1-2 year olds at this point in the year are good at showing us what actions they would like to do. This can be easily missed if we are just waiting for a verbal response, but if you look at the children's bodies you might see them tapping their feet or patting knees and waiting for you to notice. 2-3 year olds have more confidence in class to contribute their ideas for new lyrics in known songs, such as Miss Polly Had a Dolly. 3-4 year olds are singing with more confidence, clarity and a greater awareness of pitching. 4-5 year olds start to play their chime bars with more fluency and a steadier sense of beat. They can now articulate the difference between beat and rhythm, two of the most fundamental elements of music.
When you think back to the first lesson of the term and compare it to this week's class, what small signs of progress have you seen in your child?
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