Friday, June 3, 2011


I vaguely remember my preschool years.  The memory I have of my nursery was this big hall that had a low divider on one side that served as our "classroom" and a few toys.  I don't remember any activities I ever did there and I am pretty certain that my parents were not with me in school except to drop me off or pick me up in a calesa.  Preschool then and now are so different.  Today, preschool education/program is so diverse and so parent-involved that it's a whole different animal all together.  One such program being offered now to kids (and even newborns) is Kindermusic.

This is my friend Teacher Suzette.  She runs and teaches in Kindermusic facilities in QC and San Juan.  She is such a believer of this program that I think she can do more justice in telling you about Kindermusic than I will ever be.

When our eldest was three years of age, a little boy in his preschool bit him and his teacher reported this incident to me when I fetched him.  How proud I was when our son told me, "It's alright, Mommy.  Tyler (not his real name) could not express himself yet and see, it doesn't even hurt."  I was beaming at the fact that our little boy understood what some adults could not; he also had so much compassion for "Tyler", a boy with special needs.  He could get along with children of various abilities and had no reservations about making friends with children at the orphanages I brought him to.  Right then and there, I knew that attending Kindermusik classes worked for him and his younger brother as well since I would have children with special needs in my classes and they would easily become playmates.

Kindermusik has always been an advocacy for me.  When I got into KM years ago, it was, and still is, primarily to help families and to keep myself busy.  After closing down a daycare and kiddie salon at a nearby mall that my best friend and I ran for three years, I knew I wanted to stay in the kiddie industry.  That was when I got into Kindermusik.  Being an advocacy, I believe that education and programs such as Kindermusik should be within the reach of parents from all social classes. This is why I started a scholarship program in 2007.  Once a child is a either a partial or full scholar, I make sure that he/she finishes the program until Young Child 4 where we teach the recorder already.  I became the first Filipina to receive the Ruth Anderson grant from the States two years ago, allowing Kindermusik International to recognize my outreach work.  This year, I became the first Filipina to receive the recognition of "Maestro in Outreach".  When I see that an enrolled family has more than two children, I automatically offer a scholarship for the third child, no questions asked.  I want families to experience the program without the financial burden.  I believe that Kindermusik is so beautiful that every child should be given the opportunity to be a student.

Unlike other child programs which only focus on the kinesthetic development of the child, Kindermusik aims to enhance the six domains of child development: the physical, social, emotional, language, cognitive and musical aspects.  All educators are well-trained and need to continue updating their professional development knowledge and skills in order to maintain their licenses.  In my program, I tend to hire educators who are mothers themselves.  For me, this is very important because educators need to empathize with the journeys of parenthood.  After all, how will one understand the needs of a parent when she/he is not a parent herself/himself?  

Kindermusik has four core curricula:
-Village: for newborns to 1.6 years of age--We have infant massage, bi-lateral/cross lateral exercises, circle dances, vestibular stimulation, vocal plays, age-appropriate instrument exploration and bonding time with parents.  
-Our Time: for 1.6 to 3 years of age--Lots of movement here!    We also have lap bounces and more chants and rhymes.  Aside from enhancing your child's speech and movement coordination, we also work on your child's vocabulary.  As proven by Northwestern University, the activities we do in Our Time greatly affect your child's reading skills by third grade.
-Imagine That!: for 3 to 5 years of age--Imagination and mathematics are seamlessly included in the program as we delve into one-to-one correspondence.  Want your child to learn a new language more quickly?  This unit is excellent as we work on intonations and pitch range.  In the U.S. convention I attended, MRI test results show that children in Kindermusik have a greater ability to learn new languages. 
-Young Child: for 5 to 7 years of age--We teach notes and musical notations in a fun way!  We place the staff on the floor--just watching the children compose their own songs is inspiring and fulfilling!  In Semesters One and Two, we focus on a percussion instrument called a glockenspiel.  In Semester Three, we have a dulcimer which is a stringed instrument.  Our youngest child got into guitar and violin because of this unit.  Finally, in Semester Four, the children are taught a wind instrument called a recorder (incidentally, this instrument is introduced to children in Xavier School at a later age).  
All core curricula provide imported take-home materials so that the learning can be carried on at home.

Much to my pleasant surprise, my program has grown through word-of-mouth.  It now has four times the number of students compared to when I started teaching.  For each student who is enrolled in the program, I make sure that I give 101% back to the child.  I provide free transportation to students living around the area and I also deduct the number of unmade-up absences from the following semester's tuition.  I want to make sure that the families are not on the losing end.  They can have as many free trial sessions as they wish and they don't pay until they have decided that they like the program and are comfortable with me as the educator.  

Our two boys are currently in Young Child and they are having the time of their lives.  They love the program so much that even if our eldest is turning 9 years old next month, he is retaking units that he has finished semesters ago.  Parents, doctors and educators have said that their children are excelling in their respective schools because of the program and that they recommend it to their colleagues.  In fact, children in our Young Child class have claimed that the program has helped them in Singaporean Math. One of the girls recently gave the graduation speech in her preschool and the grade schoolers are consistent honor students (first honor).  All of them are confident and articulate.

Interested in the program but not sure how to go about it?  Visit an educator and find out more!  If you are near the Capitol Hills or Congressional areas, you may look for me, Teacher Suzette, and schedule a free trial class.  I hold studio classes at La Mia Scuola, Capitol Hills and Gingerbread House of Learning, Congressional Avenue.  I also hold ABC Music and Me classes at KIDS Academy, White Plains and Apples and Oranges, San Juan.  Currently, there are other educators in my program who are teaching ABC Music and Me.  Our program is offering scholarships, too.  My numbers are 216-5677 and 0917-8530225.

Kindermusic at La Mia Scuola in Capitol Hills
La Mia Scuola's huge open playground

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