Children get strong cues from routine and context. Creating a special place or setup for music time prepares children to transition from other activities and helps them engage with the class experience more fully. Here are some easy tips to make music class a special event:
- The optimal space for the class is on the floor. Move furniture, if necessary, to make sure there is space to sit, stand, and move around a few steps, even if your child does not yet walk.
- Define the space by putting down a cheerful picnic blanket or throw to sit on and bringing out a basket with your musical instruments or props.
- Clear away as many distractions as you can from the space, especially toys
- Create anticipation before class as you prepare the space. If your child is old enough to walk, involve them in setting up space with you.
Remember that you, the grown-up, are still the most important teacher and model for your child. This is especially true in a virtual class, where we are trying to create a meaningful, live experience for your child. We strongly recommend that, as much as possible, you:
- Sit with your child and react personally to what is going on in class. It is not important that the child maintain focus on the screen. YOU are the one who follows the teacher. Your child will eventually try to copy what you do.
- Do not be shy about singing. You will be on MUTE most of the time anyway, so only your child will get to hear your wonderful voice.
- Do not be shy about moving and dancing. Movement is a big part of your child’s overall development. If you want to dance more privately, just move out of the camera’s view. WE don’t need to see you, but your child really does.
- Remember that even if you are a beginner level Spanish speaker, you are your child’s model in class. In addition to modeling music making, you are modeling important behaviors such as openness to new experiences and enthusiasm for learning something new!
For you and your child to make the language and music your own, you need to become familiar with it. Between class times, create opportunities to share your songbook, recorded music, and online Family Playground materials as a family.
- Listen to your music as often as you can. Repetition is not only essential for learning; it will also make your actual class time richer and more meaningful.
- If your child is old enough to handle the CD, get them a personal CD player so they can play their favorite songs independently without need for a “screen”.
- Make your songbook accessible for your child to pick up and “read” like any other picture book. Look through a few pages at a time together and point out what you or your child notices.
- Play your music throughout the day or at certain “Music and Spanish” times you make part of your daily routine. Move and sing your own way or copy the moves you saw in class.
- Visit the online Family Playground and take advantage of the resources in an age-appropriate manner. For example, if your child is very young, you can watch the sing-along videos yourself to learn more about the songs and get tips for how to“play” with them outside of class time.