Thursday, August 30, 2007

Take Time

"Bearing and raising children is not some pesky, peripheral activity we engage in, but the whole point."
Ann Crittendon
The Price of Motherhood

Keep that one on your fridge.

Take time. Look into their eyes. Come sing and dance like it's heaven on earth.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


While other popular activities like dance, gymnastics and soccer do provide certain benefits, only participation in Kindermusik promises more life-impacting growth in all areas of your child’s development – including cognitive, physical, emotional, language and social development – for now and for life!

Activity Benefits


Dance / Gymnastics

Organized Sports

Helps develop social skills through group interaction

Provides for physical development

Gives parents a chance to socialize

Builds self-esteem

Prepares Child for possible future as an athlete

Prepares Child for a future dance career

Leads a child toward a lifetime of joyful music-making

Provides a flexible, but structured routine

Enhances brain development for other skills like spatial and complex reasoning, listening, and reading

Allows a child to creatively express and explore individual strengths with art, vocal, dance, and instrumental activities

Improves memory and the ability to learn new information

Develops a child’s language and auditory skills

Is process, not performance, based

Supports the home as the most important environment for learning

At Home Materials make the weekly experience live at home again and again

Compiled by Theresa Case, M.Ed.

Thanks Theresa!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Have you reserved your SPOT???

Spotted this car around town? If you do then you have permission to take a SPOT for your own car!
Classes will start the week of Sept. 10! Have your reserved your spot? Please do!
Click here for to register online.

If you are still not sure and have questions then at least email your question to me:
If you'd like to copy and paste one of these questions or add your own:
How can I afford it?
What do I do with the baby while I'm in class with my 2 year old?
Would dance class be a better option for my daughter?
Would gymnastics be a better option for my child?
Would Kindermusik and preschool overwhelm my 3 year old?
Do you have any classes where I could take my baby and two year old and 4 year old and 7 year old?
What is your Sign Language class like?
Can Dads come?
Can Grandma's come?
Can the babysitter come?
What if I'm due in Oct. with the new baby and have to miss classes?
What if I sign up and it doesn't work out?
What if my child is VERY active?
Can I come and try a class for free?
What do you do with Babies???
Would this be better for my preschooler than preschool?
Can you bring a class to our location?
Do you do birthday parties?
Do I have to buy the materials?
Are you still offering the deal for babies under 5 months receive 5 weeks Tuition FREE?
Can I bring twins to class?
Do you have a sibling discount?
What if my 3 1/2 year old has separation anxiety?
Do I have to drop off my child?
Will you come and speak to our mother's group about music?
Will you come and speak to our mother's group about child development?
I know there are other questions on your mind....please ask.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Shadow PuppetsBegin your day with a prayer of gratitude!

This song, by Louis Armstrong,is one that I often use as a prayer. Beautiful lyrics and a wonderful tune that can stay with you all day keeping spirits up when stress can be high. "One who sings prays twice"..... Teach that to your children. I'll teach them lots of songs...come on in!
ps Anne says "I had that song stuck in my head all day". It's a good thing.
Thanks Molly!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Imagination is more important than knowledge....

Isn't it a treat to sit back and have a good laugh at these two actors sharing their imagination with us!
I laughed out loud!

I am looking forward to the laughs we get in the Kindermusik Imagine That! class. We nurture your child's imagination because like Einstein said: Imaginagion is MORE important than knowledge. All the knowledge in the world won't do anyone one any good with out a healthy dose of imagination.

I'm counting the days!

Thanks Lori for sharing!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Classical Parenting:

Didn't we hear lyrics like this when we were growing up?

Pachelbel Bedtime

Parenting is HARD work and we all feel like this from time to time.

Your Parenting Style

So now that we are parents do you have ideas of things your parents said and did that you promised you would never say to your own children?

Some of the parenting techniques I love about Kindermusik are:

.... the tips on child development that have made a difference in my parenting
.... the chance to nurture my relationship with my child in a joyful setting like the "rocking songs", eye to eye contact when we sing to each other, frolicking with the knee bouncing chants, lots of hugs and laughter, seeing my child bubble with joy and music
.... having music as a tool in our home environment
.... the encouragement and support of the Kindermusik educator
.... practicing MY listening skills
.... nurturing my own skills as my child's best teacher
.... the chance for toddlers to practice being in control of themselves in a safe setting
.... learning and practicing the power of affirmation
.... much, much more.

We will still have frantic moments but maybe the horrible hurries and the stubborn stretches and the tumultuous tantrums will be fewer and farther in between.

This morning at 7am when I heard the garbage truck on our street I groaned and said to myself Oh, dear we missed it. I looked out the window and there was the truck in front of our house setting down our empty garbage can. Thanks Claire! What a gem.

Friday, August 17, 2007

You can hear us on the radio!

So quite a few of you are responding to the FREE CD offer! One week left to register for fall classes and pay the deposit for your own free copy of the "Best of Kindermusik" CD.

Click on this link to hear Leigh Levine, Kindermusik educator in Allendale, and her daughter Rebecca saying what you'll be saying come Sept. 10th!

See you then!

Thanks Lyn!

Thursday, August 16, 2007


Ensemble is the French word for "Together". When people play together in a small musical group it is called an ensemble. This Air Drum ensemble has to watch and listen very carefully to each other (while doing math in their heads--measuring time). Each performer depends greatly on every other individual in the group to make it work. Musicians have a really good understanding of community from an education steeped in social experiences such as playing in ensembles! In our Kindermusik Young Child classes we work up to 3 or more parts in an ensemble of instruments playing different rhythms and melodies. And like the performers in this video...we have a lot of fun too!

Thanks Julie S. for the fun tip.

Toy safety:

I'm as concerned about the toy recall as you are and my first thought was "What about Kindermusik instruments?" I'm happy and proud to let you read the announcement that I received today.

Kindermusik International: A Message About Toy Safety

Recent news reports have highlighted the recall of some toys found to be unsafe. These reports have understandably raised concerns from parents. I want to be sure you know that Kindermusik shares this concern.

For years Kindermusik has gone to great lengths to assure the safety of our products. That is why parents have come to trust the Kindermusik brand. Kindermusik products are engineered to be educational, entertaining and safe before they enter into production. Production samples of each product are then rigorously tested by an independent testing lab to ensure that our toys meet the highest safety standards.

All Kindermusik products have comfortably passed international safety standards in mechanical and fire hazard tests. Our products have also been tested for potentially hazardous materials and have easily met safety standards for those materials.

Two of our core values at Kindermusik International are to “Always do what is best for the child”, and to “Be open, honest, and direct”. At all times, and especially at times like these, our core values guide our actions. That is why we bring this information directly to Kindermusik educators so you are well equipped to answer questions from your parents.

As you have come to expect from Kindermusik, we have taken great care to test that our products are safe, and we will continue safety testing with vigilance. Please refer any further questions regarding the safety of our toys to Kindermusik International 800-628-5687 or


Michael G. Dougherty

Chairman & Chief Executive Officer

Kindermusik International

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Music and Math and Money

Kindermusik Our Time class at Kindermusik of Holland
Tuition $135
Home Materials $57
Total $192
Money is a hard topic.

Some families look at the bottom line of the cost of a Kindermusik class and give up in a panic. I'm not so good at the hard sell but give me a chance to nudge you....from the perspective of the child.

A mom I know was asked why she didn't reenroll her daughter in Kindermusik.
She admitted that she LOVED my classes but she said sheepishly..."I was just too cheap".

Thank you for being honest. Can you blame me for offering other considerations?

What kind of investment are you able and willing to make for your children at a time when their brain's potential is the highest it ever will be? Are you willing to invest in a research based program that has been shown to make a difference in a child's performance in school?

And for a 15 week class $192 is a great value. You don't need to by any pink tutu's, special shoes or recital tickets.... or sell cookies, candy bars or pizza...(or buy them!) It's not fattening (Kindermusik is part aerobics for the adults!) It's great for your own commitment to reduce stress. It's a great way to be with your child.

The materials stay home with you and they don't stop being useful anytime soon. They are the oft requested CDs even of 10 and 11 year olds....(my daughter still LOVES them!)(Hey! I still love them!) The books are great for beginner readers and the instruments are sturdy and make great music for years to come.

But it still is expensive. And expenses are already a challenge and $192 is a big chunk for the budget.

Let's talk about a payment plan.

How about $82 now to enroll and $110 at the first class? (Classes begin the week of Sept. 10)
Or another option: $82 between now and the first class and $55 on Oct.10 and Nov. 10?

What about asking grandparents for Kindermusik Gift Certificates for birthdays and holidays? Beats the gifts that you are trying to sneak off to the Goodwill dropoff! Sometimes grandparents really want to be asked; they wish they knew! And it's a gift that keeps you thinking about them weekly!

Do you know that siblings get a $25 discount?
Did you know that if your baby hasn't had Village yet I have a $20 off coupon?
Did you know that if your baby is 5 months or younger (forget the coupon!) you can have 5 weeks tuition FREE?

Kindermusik averages out to be less than $13 per class.

Come on back. We've missed you.
Miss Yvette

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Holland Symphony Orchestra FREE Concert

Bring your whole family, lawn chairs or blankets, and your dinner picnic this Saturday 8/18/07 to Kollen Park. Holland Symphony presents it's Community Pop's Concert "Under the Big Top".

Fun things begin at 6:30 with an instrument petting zoo, Kindermusik fun, Holland Area Arts Council fun and information sharing from Meyer Music, Holland Civic Theater, and the Holland Chorale.

The concert starts at 7:30pm with music like Kabalevsky's The Comedians, Stauss' On the Beautiful Blue Danube and the Thunder and Lightning Polka and Sousa's great Stars and Stripes Forever.

Proper etiquette for this concert includes humming along, clapping freely, sipping sodas, children dancing....adults dancing too.

For more info or for season tickets to great concerts see HSO's website.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

I've been trying to tell you!

Baby Einsteins: Not So Smart After All

Led by Frederick Zimmerman and Dr. Dimitri Christakis, both at the University of Washington, the research team found that with every hour per day spent watching baby DVDs and videos, infants learned six to eight fewer new vocabulary words than babies who never watched the videos. These products had the strongest detrimental effect on babies 8 to 16 months old, the age at which language skills are starting to form. "The more videos they watched, the fewer words they knew," says Christakis. "These babies scored about 10% lower on language skills than infants who had not watched these videos."

It's not the first blow to baby videos, and likely won't be the last. Mounting evidence suggests that passive screen sucking not only doesn't help children learn, but could also set back their development. Last spring, Christakis and his colleagues found that by three months, 40% of babies are regular viewers of DVDs, videos or television; by the time they are two years old, almost 90% are spending two to three hours each day in front of a screen. Three studies have shown that watching television, even if it includes educational programming such as Sesame Street, delays language development. "Babies require face-to-face interaction to learn," says Dr. Vic Strasburger, professor of pediatrics at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine and a spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics. "They don't get that interaction from watching TV or videos. In fact, the watching probably interferes with the crucial wiring being laid down in their brains during early development."


Here's my personal story: One day we got a call from our phone company and internet provider and they were wondering why did I not choose the full package of phone/internet
and cable TV. I was standing in the kitchen and the children were here and there around listening in (they are so drawn to adult conversation....ever notice that?). Claire, who was 16 at the time caught on and she came and stood near. I answered the telemarketer by saying we didn't choose cable TV because we didn't have a TV. There was a remarkable pause on the other end of the line. I thought I heard his teeth drop. "You don't have a TV?" he asked. "What do you do then?" Here's where Claire couldn't help herself. She shouted so he could hear "WE READ, WE READ!!!" I told him he should try it but he said "I just don't think I could".

At a conference I attended this past July, David Gentile presented a session on Media Vilolence and How it Affects Children. He said that in America 99% of people have a TV. That's more than those who have telephones and running water. 26% of 2 to 4 year olds have a TV in their bedroom. And the article above says that 90% of 2 year olds are spending 2-3 hours daily in front of the TV.

If you do read the rest of the article quoted above you'll see that what I've been telling you in class that's missing from TV is the contingent response provided by another live human being is the crucial link to learning. The actual moment of learning, the spark, happens when you react to your baby's action. If the baby taps on the TV screen the TV just can't react! Even a computer can't react in the complex way a human face and human voice and human touch can.


Sign of the Times

Heather Honeck and I are team teaching Sign and Sing this month. Those are some lucky families that are getting two teachers for the price of one! And Heather is a speach and language pathologist too! We've been singing and signing about bears....and little Haley's favorite book is Brown Bear! What a great opportunity to take some highly motivating signs and some attention getting strategies to jump start the children in signing!! I'm seeing signs all over the class. And I must say the moms and both Nannas are extra great students! You are so open, creative and gentle. I can tell that you are enjoying this precious time with your children.

I thought you all would enjoy listening to the author, Bill Martin, Jr. read his book. He tells how he was inspired to write it too. I believe this one came to him complete with melody and rhythm...just listen to him sing it! Brown Bear Brown Bear

One other thought for today is about conceptualizing. This is what we call grouping different words under one sign. By that I mean in class we use the sign for music also when we want to sign "sing" and "song" or we use the same sign for quack as duck or the super handy sign for icky or yucky which is really the sign for dirty. It struck me that grouping words together may help little children's brains grow creatively. Our brains are programmed to search for patterns, make connections and "fill in the blanks". We are really showing them how to do this with conceptualizing our signs in our Kindermusik Sign and Sing class. We help them create categories for words that are related in meaning, pointing it out in an obvious way: with signs.

Here is the link for the American Sign Language dictionary that I really like a lot.

Thank you Sharon for the Brown Bear link.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

I'd like to teach the world to sing.....

Sometimes, especially when fall classes begin, I imagine that I can hear all the children and families around the world in their Kindermusik classes singing, tapping and dancing to the same music....All those hello songs beginning on the hour! The echo's of laughter at the knee bouncing chants reverberating around the world! Well, here's another chance to feel connected with others all around the world. Join us for this free world-wide event: Demo Days at Kindermusik of Holland. Our Demo Classes will be Monday, August 20. There will be different times for different levels. Please email or call to make a reservation 616-392-7182. Tell your friends and send out the word to the whole world!

Special Announcement:
If you are already enrolled (and deposit paid) for your fall class of Kindermusik by August 25 I have a special surprise for you....There's a free bonus CD coming your way! I know many of you have already taken care of this and popular times are taken already. Enroll for your first choice today.

Come Follow Me! To Kindermusik.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Look closely:

"Here is a face. Eyebrows up. Cheeks raised like so when mouth is open...teeth show. Good feeling. I see how it works. This is happy." She files that information in her memory for using later.

From the first hour after birth babies are programed to study faces. Programmed to look directly into mom's eyes. Study the mouth. Study neck muscles, face muscles to know what happens with the face in speech and emotions. They are programmed to study this so the can know how to do it themselves and how to read the faces of those she is relating to. How should a reaction look when two people interact? When they greet when they love each other, when they are angry, when they are worried.....There is so much work to be done in learning all this!

I've met mothers who were so amazed at their desire to stare at their newborn babies for hours! They didn't know it was programmed in to them too!

A friend's husband collected this tidbit of information for me: 7% of a communication's understanding comes from the words directly. 38% of what we understand comes from the musical elements: tone, melody, rhythm, timbre, dynamics etc. (spoken lovingly, angrily, excitedly etc) and 55% of our understanding comes from body language.

In our Kindermusik Village class (newborn to 18 months) we have a ritual dance around the room that usually incorporates stopping to greet another baby/adult couple. We wave, smile, touch hellos together baby to baby or baby to adult. I've been studying babies during this time lately. I see how seriously they take their job of studing faces. It's as if I can see them storing information. This is what it looks like when mommy greets her friend. This is what mommy looks like when she greets a person she doesn't know so well....Those babies eyes search their partner and the new adult's faces very intently.

In the old days before strollers, before the portable car seat how did we ever get baby from one place to another? We carried our arms then up on our hip where they could see all of everything we do! We had no idea of all the work they were doing even as newborns. Now they are tucked away in the car seat closed up in the stroller with the canopy pulled over so the sun is not on their beautiful skin. In the grocery store, church, park, farmers market, everywhere...even at home they are tucked away in the car seat.

Do you think they are missing something?

And people ask me what do you do with those newborn
babies in Kindermusik? We give them the opportunity
to do their work.

Come and see for yourself.
Special offer for babies under 5 months: 5 weeks tuition free. (materials not included)
Register online
or call 616-392-7182
or email

If your child is over 5 months old you haven't missed the boat. The best time to begin is now. And you know ....a good beginning never ends......

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Hello Kindermusik Friends,
August is here. The Temperature is HOT and the Music is COOL! Bring the family down to 8th Street this Thursday (Aug.2) from 6:30 to 8pm to hear and see the Street Performers. Painters, violinists, singers, string quartet and ME! I'll be fluting and I'll bring my guitar and I promise to bring some egg shakers and jingle bells so the children can play and dance along.
Should I have a drawing right there? Well, I'll have some kind of surprise!
August IS here and some classes are filling up. If you have a chinese puzzle of a schedule you'd better get Kindermusik lined up now. Register online Any questions...don't hesitate to call or find me at the farmer's market!
Do you know anyone with a baby under 5 months? I'm still running the deal of 5 weeks tuition free. Send them our way...or send this email to them.
See you downtown!