STEP is delighted to offer two early childhood education classes. Each class has been created and tailored to two different age groups: 0-2.5 and 2.5-3.
Music With Your Baby – Infant/Toddler (ages 0 to about 2.5)
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. Designed by our STEP faculty, the program has similarities to the much-loved Twinkle Toes program formerly taught by Dr. Evelyn Osborne, and some exciting new elements.
Class Description and Information
Our 45-minute long classes, taught by a Suzuki-trained, professional musician, offer a multi-age music-education experience for children aged zero to about 2.5 and their parents and involve the following musical experiences:
- Creative movement
- Counting in multiple languages
- Basic musical concepts
- Story time
- Live violin, viola, and/or cello music every class (classical and traditional music)
- Occasional concerts by young STEP students
- Multiple ages (children learn from each other)
- Taking turns
- Learning to sit with a teacher
- Learning a traditional nursery repertoire of songs and games that can be incorporated into daily life
- Free time at the end for children to read books and interact with each other
- Nurturing and supportive environment
- Performing in two STEP group class concerts per year (in December and June)
Music With Your Baby – Transitions (2.5-3 years)
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.
The MWYB Transitions class is a 45-minute long class that includes components of the MWYB Infant to Toddler class. Children will continue to engage in music and movement exercises, listen to concerts by visiting Suzuki student performers, and add the following skills to their repertoires:
- More precise rhythm
- Musical terms
- Names of the parts of string instruments
- Off-instrument skills needed to prepare the young child for violin and/or cello lessons (eg. finger dexterity songs and games)
- Early bow-hold games with wooden violin/viola/cello bows
- A rotating private lesson during class time that will give families the opportunity to observe and participate at least once throughout the year in a mock private lesson setting
- Group class observation: children and parents in this class are highly encouraged to start observing other group string classes
- Parent journaling – every Suzuki parent has a notebook with them at every lesson to take down ideas for practicing at home
- Suzuki parent training – guest lectures from other Suzuki teachers while the students in the class read or practice their concert manners
- Concert etiquette – the opportunity to listen to mock “concerts” by STEP faculty and students and practice concert manners
A note about observation
Dr. Suzuki modeled 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: For the MWYB program there is on-going registration throughout the year. So don’t worry if you have just heard about it! Simply email firstname.lastname@example.org to be sent registration forms or have your questions answered by our volunteers or staff. Fees include all the year’s classes, STEP membership, participation in two concerts and other program-wide events.
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 MYWB Participation
Enjoyment: Each participant, from infant to toddler to parent, enjoys him- or herself and learns 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.
“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
“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