Archive for August, 2013

Finding the Best Early Childhood Experience

Posted on: August 20th, 2013 by ctpadmin

When searching for a preschool and/or childcare experience for you child, it is important to keep several things in mind.  What are your goals for your child?  Why is one place better than another? Is your child safe? How can you be sure your child is learning?

About 40 years ago when my kids were small, I was the main breadwinner in the family and needed affordable, quality childcare for them.  There were no centers nearby, so I searched out a family day care.  The thing I loved about this home-based care was that the woman in charge loved the kids, read to them daily, and created a schedule for them.  Later, after a break in care with this provider, I was forced to find another caretaker.  I approached a friend from church who had kids my children’s age and seemed to have a similar set of values as our family.  After several months, my two year old would wake every night saying – “I a bad girl.”   After several agonizing days, I realized that the situation for day care was safe, but not at all what I would like for my child.  I quickly found another that truly nurtured my child and cared for her as though she was her own.

Now that we are in the business of early childhood education and extended day care for young kids, I reflect on these experiences to try to help you find the optimal situation for your kids or grandkids.  I suggest you look for some of the following:

•Welcoming atmosphere

•A clear mission to serve children

Screen shot 2013-08-20 at 12.40.44 PM•Clean facility, inside and out

•Safe environment, inside and out

•Knowledgable, warm, attentive staff

•Good communication with parents

•Healthy snacks

•Enough toys and books

•Clear operational policies

•Interaction between children and staff – Are kids encouraged to explore and question, or just “warehoused”?

•Staff with CPR/ First Aid certification

•Staff with education in Child Development/Education

There is much information available through the internet that will give you many ideas of things to look for.

Choosing an early childhood facility is a very personal experience.  Please take the time to visit several, do research on many, and speak to other parents who have children in places you are considering.  Remember price and location are not the only things to consider. Word of mouth is the best assurance of quality care!

What are the things that you find important in looking for an early education center with extended care?  I’d love to hear from you.

How Does Music Enrich My Child’s Life and Education?

Posted on: August 15th, 2013 by ctpadmin

 Screen shot 2013-08-20 at 12.49.30 PM

Better, the question should be – How does music enrich our lives?  First, consider what life would be like without music?  Weddings and funerals would be drab.  Parades would be boring. Dances wouldn’t exist. There’d be no radios at the beach; people wouldn’t have music to which they could exercise; there’d be no nostalgic moments when reliving a special event; our souls would be less full. Music connects humankind to its soul.

As a long-time music educator, my first goal is to teach music for music’s sake.  Music is truly a universal language that has its own grammar.  By understanding aspects of that musical structure and grammar, people can grasp musical meanings at a much deeper level.

One can truly experience the agony of loss when hearing a Beethoven

Symphony or can celebrate the joy that comes with Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance. One can be moved to express deep emotion when listening to Billie Holiday sing the blues. Music moves to the depths of the human spirit, allowing humans to express things musically that words cannot manage.

During my high school teaching career, I would take performing groups on trips because I believe that education happens not only within the classroom walls, but also in the world. We had traveled to Boston and were spending time in the Museum of Fine Arts. All of a sudden one of the students asked if we could sing in the rotunda.

We broke into one of their favorite pieces, O Magnum Mysterium by Victoria.(You can hear this piece on YouTube here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5dn7HgiT2QY). This was an advanced motet, even for college students, but these young people understood the amazing power that music had as they sang in an impromptu performance (their best ever) in the rotunda of MFA.  I know it was an experience that to this day defies verbal explanation, but it was an opportunity for all of us to express our awe at the beauty surrounding us as well as creating a lifelong memory.

Additionally, there are many other aspects of music that are beneficial for children (and adults): Here’s a good article about the importance of music education

http:// www.foundationformusiceducation.org/archives/1830.  It says that:

•Music develops discipline

•Music calms

•Music lifts the spirit

•Music fires the synapses in the brain making it more active

•Music stimulates creative thinking

•Music performance creates an opportunity to respond in response to someone else – sympathetic listening

The above cited article concludes with a quote from a former teacher of mine, Lorna Heyge, Ph.D.  She says:

“While educational leaders turn to early childhood music because it promotes brain development, they will stay with music because of the joy and stimulation experienced in actual music making. Music learning requires total involvement-that is why it appeals so much to young children.”

What a blessing it is to have children start with music at a young age and stay with music for a lifetime of pleasure and ability to express that which is difficult to express!