Elkhart daycare adds Music Together classes
Posted: 09/23/2012 at 1:15 am
By: Marlys Weaver-Stoesz
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Step by Step Child Development Center children from left: Ti'Aijah Ashford, Sincere McConnell and Javion Brown participate in a Music Together course lead by Goshen College professors in Elkhart Friday, Sept. 21, 2012. (Truth Photo By Jennifer Shephard)
Timyron Conner (front) smiles as he is surrounded by fluttering scarves as he and friends wave them to music as they participate in a Music Together course led by Goshen College professors on Friday at the Step by Step Child Development Center in Elkhart.
Truth Photo By Jennifer Shephard
Kiari McNeal, front, sings with enthusiasm as he and leader Deb Kauffman participate in a Music Together course lead by Goshen College professors at the Step by Step Child Development Center in Elkhart Friday, Sept. 21, 2012. (Truth Photo By Jennifer Shephard)
Friday was the first day of Music Together classes at Step by Step Child Development Ministries in Elkhart. Through the classes, instructors use music — singing, rhythm and movement — to teach much more than music.
Deb Kauffman, Goshen College’s Music Together director, explained that the classes help emotional and social development, such as classroom self-regulation and how to be involved in a group setting, and physical development, as movement is also a part of the curriculum.
“We would say music learning supports all learning,” she said.
“We’ve found it to be wonderful for parent-child bonding,” Kauffman added.
Goshen College has been offering Music Together classes at its Music Center and several other Elkhart County locations for the past few years. Kauffman said that officials are working to expand the program to a larger variety of locations, including those that include children who may not otherwise have access to this type of program.
Tracey Weirich of Elkhart led the three classes — a class each of babies, toddlers and 4- and 5-year-olds — Friday at Step by Step.
Each class begins with the “Hello Song,” where the children and adults sing “hello” and “so glad to see you” to each person in the group. Later songs brought rhythm activities, movement reminiscent of riding in a car or fishing to go along with the songs’ theme, and dancing with scarves.
“Don’t think that babies aren’t musical — they most certainly are,” Weirich said during the infants class, pointing out how some shrieked, made other sounds or bounced in response to the music. This summer, in fact, Goshen College piloted a Music Together class for infants.
Maria Crockett, Step by Step director, said she thought the program was “awesome.”
Even on the first day, she said, she saw children responding to the activities. Crockett noted that some of the kids who are often more active seemed to be more observant during the Music Together class.
She had been interested in incorporating some sort of music class into the school, she said, and through the center’s transition team connected with Goshen College’s Music Together program.
She was thankful for everyone who had helped the entities connect, she said. The classes will be offered weekly through December, Crockett said, and hopefully beyond that.
“I hope as we start them out as infants,” she said, “from the womb to infancy to school-age, to keep them interested in music, all types of music.”