Early Childhood Education

STEP offers two Early Childhood Education classes for babies and toddlers as young as 0 months to 3.5 years.

Our classes feature live music every class! You’ll hear violin, viola, or cello in a classical or traditional music style. No pre-recorded music!

Both classes meet as part of our Saturday morning group classes, from September to April. Classes are 45 minutes in length, and are held at Memorial University’s School of Music.

Music With Your Baby – Infant/Toddler: ages 0 months to 2.5 years

$300 + $40 materials: 18 classes & 2 performances, September 2019 – April 2020

The Music With Your Baby class for parents with babies and toddlers blends elements from several early childhood music education philosophies, including Kodaly, Dalcroze Eurhythmics, Orff and Suzuki Talent Education. In addition to our nurturing, supportive environment for classes, each Early Childhood Education class participates in our semester-end group concerts. 

You and your child will have fun singing, making creative movement, learning rhythms, counting in multiple languages, learning basic musical concepts, enjoying story time and occasional concerts by young STEP students.

Your child benefits by learning from other children, to take turns,  and to sit with a teacher. There’s free time at the end of class for the children to read books and interact with each other, too. As a family, you’ll learn a traditional nursery repertoire of songs and games that can be incorporated into your daily routine at home.

Music With Your Baby – Transitions: ages 2.5 years – 3.5 years

$300 + $40 materials: 18 classes & 2 performances, September 2019 – April 2020

This program is based on the Infant/Toddler class. It uses a similar structure and many of the same songs. This class is designed for young children who are interested in playing a string instrument but are not quite ready for structured private or group lessons. As the child is developing enough dexterity and maturity to handle the instrument, and instruction environment, this class will nurture the transition to more formalized Suzuki instrumental lessons.

Children will continue to engage in music and movement exercises, listen to concerts by visiting Suzuki student performers, and add more advanced skills to their repertoire, such as more precise rhythm, musical terms, naming the parts of string instruments, and dynamics. They also learn the off-instrument skills to prepare them for eventual violin or cello lessons, like finger dexterity songs and games, and early bow-hold games with wooden bow violin/viola/cello bows.

As a family, you’ll have the opportunity to observe and participate at least once throughout the year in a mock private lesson setting, and you’ll be encouraged to start observing our other group classes with young violinists and cellists. Guest lectures from other Suzuki teachers while your child reads or practice their concerts manners provides you with the beginning of Suzuki parent training. Your child’s concert manners are also developed during mock concerts by our teachers and students!

“My son has been in STEP for a year. Both he and I enjoy singing all the songs (and actions) we have learnt in class. We hope he will continue on and learn a musical instrument, but for now, it is nice to have such a fun activity that we can do together.” – Elizabeth Chia

A note about observation: Dr. Suzuki modelled his approach to music education on how children learn to speak. So in the Suzuki method children learn through immersion in an environment in which adults and children around them are playing music. Children love to watch each other and are highly motivated to learn what they see other children doing. So bringing your child to observe lessons and group classes is a key part of the Suzuki experience. Don’t worry if they don’t appear to be paying attention – they are usually taking in more than we think! And don’t worry if they get restless – you don’t have to stay for the whole class. Just quietly slip out when they get restless and come again another time. 

How to register: Our Early Childhood Education classes have on-going registration throughout the year. So don’t worry if you have just heard about it! Simply email step@suzukinl.ca to sign up. Fees include all the year’s classes, participation in two concerts and other program-wide events and can be pro-rated to your start date.

Parents are encouraged to follow our Early Childhood Education Facebook page. Here we will post class reminders, research articles and news stories pertaining to early childhood education, and ideas for making music with your infant or toddler.

Benefits of Early Childhood Education Participation:

Enjoyment: All participants, from infant to toddler to parent, enjoy themselves and learn many new and exciting skills in these classes

Stability: There is a set order of activities: young children feel safe in knowing what comes next, which helps develop patience and the discipline to wait

Literacy: in each class there is a storybook read, which promotes early interest in reading and literacy

Enjoyment in Repetition: Each child has a turn with the drum or other instrument, and the students enjoy watching their peers and waiting for their turn! Parents enjoy watching the development of all children in the class.

Learn to Listen: Many of the activities promote interesting and specific listening and the children learn to become active and discerning listeners. These skills are much appreciated by parents and educators alike when the student is older.

Singing and Movement: Young children learn about their environment primarily through movement. Activities are designed with this in mind. Singing is a wonderful community activity and is the best way to develop a musical ear.

Sense of Rhythm: Many activities encourage a steady beat and children learn early, by imitating their parents, and then learn to keep a beat on their own.

Counting: There is a great emphasis on counting in activities, and students may learn to count in several languages (depending on the diversity of the class).

Learning to interact with the teacher: There are many non-threatening opportunities for the child to willingly go to the teacher to perform a desired activity. This promotes independence and willingness to learn.

Socialization through music: All over the world, music is a social, not an esoteric, activity and children in this class learn to love music and make friends from the beginning.

“Our daughter joined Evelyn’s ECE class when she was just eight months old and it was immediately clear that she enjoyed the music and activity. Now, three months later, she jumps and laughs in recognition at the first notes of her favourite songs and rhymes from class. This is gratifying for all of us!” – Emily Urquhart