Sometimes when I look out over my classes as they hop, sing, bounce and laugh together, I pause to think about how I got there. How did I find myself standing in a big room with a squishy floor beneath my feet and a pink scarf wrapped around my shoulders like butterfly wings. In college, as I pursued my undergraduate degree in Music Education, it seemed that every ten minutes someone asked me why I wanted to be a music teacher. Growing up, the answer then was ‘because both of my parents are teachers,’ implying that what was good enough for them was good enough for me, I guess.
Then, in 2004, the summer after my freshman year, I took a life-changing trip to Cambodia. (I can’t believe that was nine years ago!) I experienced so much beauty and peace while I was there and learned about the country’s rich, but sometimes difficult, history. In some parts of Cambodian society, children are intentionally uneducated so they can be sold into slavery. How horrible. Ever since my trip, I have realized that the education of children is precious and important. Becoming a teacher suddenly ceased to be a family occupation, and became a calling of my own.
When considering at what makes up a holistic education for a child, I believe that no education can be complete unless it is rich in music. Music is a natural response to life, foundational in development, a sifter for human emotion, and a vessel for learning social norms. Here are some highlights from my first year teaching Kindermusik:
From a mom, Betsy:
My husband and I were getting Sara ready for bed and singing Sarasponda, when Sara filled in the ‘Oh!’ at the end of ‘ah say pah say Oh!’ Miss Sarah said that would happen one day!
From a mom, Ingrid:
Every night now, my husband and I have to rock Petra in a blanket before bed. She loves rocking… Oh, and then we have to rock all of her stuffed animals… I blame Miss Sarah!
From me, Sarah:
Getting to see my son, Noah, stomp his feet and spine ’round and ’round for the first time in Miss Lisa’s class.
Seeing Kara’s first steps!
Seeing Rebecca’s first steps!
Seeing Olivia’s first time sitting by herself!
Seeing shy Hudson’s first steps in public.
At St. James: Kevin joined Kindermusik this spring, and had chosen to observe all movement activities rather than join in. Then, one day, Ms. Lindsey paired him up with Mary Jane, stood him on his feet and said, “You’re partners with Mary Jane for this dance.” (Have I mentioned how awesome Ms. Lindsey is, by the way?!) We just watched as Kevin opened his mouth to surely protest, but then Mary Jane wrapped him in a big hug. Kevin hugged her back and danced his first ever Kindermusik dance to Mazoo!
At St. James: Tory also joined Kindermusik this spring, and wouldn’t even sit in our circle the first week… The next week he would only sit in Miss Lindsey’s lap… The next week he sat close to the circle, but not in the circle… The next week he played instruments… You should see him now! He has the cutest one-foot-at-a-time bunny hop that you’ve ever seen! (Complete with flopping bunny ears!)
Jody: Harper started Our Time in the fall where she would smile shyly from her Mom’s lap. I got to witness Harper’s journey into talking. Mom said: We always have to listen to the Carpenter’s Hammer rhyme in the car, and she says ‘see saw see’! Upon returning from a trip away, Mom said: We went on a trip last week, and Harper requested my phone. I asked her who she was going to call, to which she replied, ‘I call Miss Sarah!’ (I’m beaming!) Harper now comes into class jabbering away with words enough for us all!
So, as I stand here on my squishy floor, wrapped in my pink scarf, I believe that what I’m doing is not only fun, but important! I feel special that ‘Miss Sarah’ is one of my students’ first words, as ‘Miss Lisa’ was one of my son’s first words. I like to think that our greatest world leaders were once given the opportunity to bounce, hop, sing and laugh, too, when they were little. I am honored to be one of the first pieces of the puzzle in educating these future citizens and world leaders.
So parents, you know what I’m going to say: Bounce, hop, sing and laugh with your little ones… It’s oh so fun, and oh so important.
This post brought to you by Miss Sarah. Get to know more about Miss Sarah here.