Denali Wilkinson may be only 10 months old, but she recognizes KidzPlex when her mother carries her through the door. She perks up right away, said mom Sarah Wilkinson, because she knows she’s on her way to a Kindermusik class. Last week, Denali and eight other toddlers crawled, stood, played and sang (in their own special way) during a Kindermusik Sign & Sing class on the second floor of KidzPlex, 609 Road 25.
Instructor Susan Rowland used a large teddy bear to sign while she and the kids’ parents sang melodies such as “Mamma’s little baby loves shortnin’, shortnin’, Mamma’s little baby loves shortnin’ bread” and “the bear goes over the mountain.”
Rowland kept the group busy not only with music but with a big ball game, bubbles and play stations with dolls or plastic fruit to help the children link the item with its name.
It’s a quick 45 minutes and a lesson in three languages: music, English and American Sign Language.
While Sign & Sing is aimed at children ages 6 months to 3 years old, Rowland teaches a number of other Kindermusik classes for newborns to kids age 7.
Enrollment begins Feb. 6 for the next session of Kindermusik classes taught by Rowland, who has a maestro rating by Kindermusik International.
The Kindermusik program is designed with a child’s brain development in mind and it’s not just about singing, Rowland said.
There’s a purpose behind each activity, she said.
For the tots in Sign & Sing the music and sign language helps them with motor skills and language development, she said.
“A lot of children sing before they speak,” she said.
Singing activates a different part of the brain from speaking, so putting it all together has a child using more of his or brain, establishing a better foundation for later learning, she said.
Sign language gives both hearing children and those with hearing impairment another way of communicating with a parent when the words aren’t there yet, she said.
For older children, the use of simple instruments also can improve motor skills. Learning to play, sing and move with sense of rhythm can help a child later on with math or playing sports, Rowland said.
The program encourages creativity and can benefit a child’s cognitive and literacy skills, a Kindermusik brochure said.
Each class has an at-home activity pack, which depending on the class, can contain CDs, books or simple instruments.
“It comes with a lot of family time in mind,” Rowland said.
Those interested in Kindermusik can call 523-1298 for more about materials and costs or to register for the Grand Junction classes.
The next sections of Sign & Sing are set to start in March.
Kindermusik International’s Web site is www.kindermusik.com and contains further information on the program as well as parent reviews and ratings of instructors.
By The Daily Sentinel