WeJoySing begins each 1-12mo and 13-24mo class with a "bounce!" We've known that bounces help to regulate your child and develop language, listening and movement skills. Resent research by Laura Cirelli at the University of Toronto, Mississauga is discovering that bouncing our babies is one aspect in developing their pro-social behaviors: taking actions that help others and benefit the group. READ MORE of this NPR Report!
“Aaaaw! Isn’t this video cute!?” Yes, it is! BUT it’s MUCH MORE. It’s actually AMA’SING!!’ Let’s look at this marvelous video through the lenses of “childhood development” to identify what is “really” happening as Eli sings. I think we’ll discover that his little mind, voice and body are extremely busy. He is spontaneously creating, thinking, working and organizing thoughts, movements, words and music. So, what is Eli doing “on stage” and “behind the scene” in his mind and body at the ripe old age of 2 years old? Let’s “break it down” to see what is happening:
To begin, Eli decides to:
1. make up a song – demonstrating that songs contain words and melody
2. use a guitar to accompany himself – demonstrating that instrumental harmony can be added to create more musical interest
3. position himself on a chair for greater success and comfort – demonstrating understanding of his physical abilities and comfort.
To create his song, he must have:
1. a working knowledge of the English language
2. an understanding that a song has words
3. an imagination that helps to form the text/story of the song
To play the guitar, demonstrates his subconscious understanding that:
1. instruments can accompany one’s singing
2. instruments add a harmony to the song
3. playing the guitar while sitting is easier than standing
4. one hand strums the strings, the other hand fingers the chords
“my hands are not doing the same thing!”
(parents - do you grasp the complexity of this?)
5. One hand will be strumming the “steady beat” – or something close to it
To sing while playing the guitar, his little mind, body and voice are busy:
1. Selecting the words for the text
2. Deciding the rhythms to use with these words
3. Choosing the melodic pitches for his melody
Research in early vocal development indicates that the child has a personal pitch
center. Eli’s melodic range is very narrow because it is centered around his personal pitch. 4. Putting words, rhythm and melody together, ALL at ONCE!
5. Adding the guitar sends this creativity to a NEW LEVEL!
6. Safely holding the guitar
7. Strumming the guitar to add greater interest/harmony
This little fellow is Ama’SING!!!’ One could say, he is doing at least 10-part harmony with himself during this creative process…so many things are happening, layered one on top of the other…all at the same time!! Ama’Sing’!!!
It was a surprise and blessing when Zebedee’s mother, Mary, contacted Mrs. Jo 15 years after “little” Zebedee first stepped foot into a WeJoySing class! Mary called to invite Mrs. Jo to Zebedee’s Vocal Ensemble concert with Bexley High School. “We don’t have extended family that live here; they live in Australia. I started inviting people from our church; but I got so excited watching Zebedee develop and really have a passion for the music he is singing. It brought up the memory of WeJoySing, where he started and I wanted to share with you ‘Look! This is where he is today!’ The work that you do Mrs. Jo is extraordinary, influencing people and children in their lives…it’s so worthwhile…and here we are!”
“I wanted to share the news and get the word out that [WeJoySing] is GREAT!” Mary, Mother of Zebedee
In Zebedee’s younger years, Mary wanted all of her sons to have some musical exposure and Zebedee did not seem overly interested in any particular instrument; so after doing a good deal of research, Mary discovered WeJoySing! The sessions were mostly attended by Zebedee and his father, Tim, at Capital University.
Tim recalls, “We looked forward to walking to class and having our own little adventures while getting there. We got to know other families and enjoyed some fellowship as we were all there for a common purpose. Some of our favorite memories were the catchy songs, the ones that stayed in your head. Something about a pram, still sticks in my head. Oh a Hunting We Will Go..We’ll catch a lamb and put him in a pram…Oh we liked those catchy tunes, even making up some of our own words to the song!”
Zebedee remembers his father coming with him, cheerfully recalling, “He certainly liked to sing too. And he’s very bouncy…and hyperactive…and a little crazy..yeah, very crazy! Probably one of the reasons why I’d keep on singing the songs at home is because he’d keep on humming them, knowing they’d get stuck in my head!” Mary chimed in to add that Zebedee is a little more critical of Dad’s humming now a days as he says, “That’s not quite how you sing it, Dad!” Zeb stepped in to add, “No, I tell him that’s completely off!” Zebedee still recalls the details of the room, doing all kinds of rhymes and different fun songs. “It was always a joyful experience! It helped me to become a better singer. It was the highlight of every week, like a break from everything else!” Mary reiterated that WeJoySing was FANTASTIC for Zebedee in that he got very involved, dancing and humming. “He would come home singing and that continues to this day…He has never stopped singing!”
“WeJoySing was a major part of encouraging Zebedee’s interest in singing. Thank you, Mrs. Jo for WeJoySing and for developing it!” Tim, Father of Zebedee
Zebedee, now 16 and a sophomore, auditioned for Bexley High School’s acclaimed Vocal Ensemble. He stated that the auditions were very competitive, and he was thrilled to be invited to the ensemble where he now sings bass. Zeb is also currently taking voice lessons. When asked about his passion for singing and performance, Zebedee noted there was a gap between WeJoySing classes and singing in formal settings. “I started to sing again when one of my friends encouraged me to join the 5th and 6th grade choir, then I joined the Middle School choir for 2 years. In my Freshman year, I started to get into music more and my friends wanted me to get into the Vocal Ensemble. I didn’t know if that was one of my goals, but I auditioned and got in! The songs we perform are a mix including Mozart, folk songs, South African songs. It’s an interesting experience and always enjoyable. This year the Vocal Ensemble will be traveling to Prague, Austria and Germany singing mostly at churches and outdoor concerts. We’ll be singing several selections in the country’s native language!” Zebedee noted that music is a part of his life as he practices for his performances, but also when he is irritated or in a bad mood, he finds music to ease those feelings.
Zebedee plans to attend either a college in America or Australia and major in Biology or some kind of Environmental Science. His great interest in ecology and photography are explored through another passion of his, wildlife photography.
Mary feels strongly that music must be a part of a child’s growing up experience and WeJoySing provided an amazing start! “It was joyful. It was exciting. Zebedee truly looked forward to going to lessons each week. It’s a really good program and I have never had ANY regrets for starting Zebedee out in WeJoySing.” She continues on to encourage other families who are looking for a place where their child will develop a love for singing, playing instruments or just a value of music to sign up for WeJoySing! “Some years down the track, this is where your child could be!”
What a JOY it was sharing the magic and delight of music and movement based learning with you and your 'little' one. Hope to see you and your baby in WeJoySing real soon!
Allison Jacobs is honored to join the WeJoySing staff family and share her love for music with you and your child! Allison grew up in Northeast Ohio in a small village of Minerva nestled on the historic Lincoln Highway (US Route 30). The entire village has a total area of just 2.23 square miles and a population of just under 4,000.
Allison cannot remember a time when music was not a part of her life. She grew up playing piano and always loved picking up new instruments and teaching herself how to play them. In high school, her involvement in musical ensembles confirmed her future goals to become a teacher of music. Allison earned her Bachelor’s degree in Music Education in 2016 from the University of Mount Union in Alliance, Ohio where she participated in a variety of musical programs including the women’s chorus, flute choir and marching band.
During her elementary music student teaching experience, it became increasingly evident how much she loved this line of work. Allison states, “I’ve always loved working with young children, but I really found my passion for early education while earning my degree in Music Education.”
Allison married her wonderful husband, Josh, a month after college graduation and they moved to Wooster, Ohio to serve at a Christian camp and retreat center. Allison’s husband grew up in the Dublin area, so recently, they and their sweet fur-baby, Milo the cat, moved to the Dublin area to be closer to family. Allison notes, “I ended up falling in love with both Josh and this city!”
Allison enjoys walking in nature, hanging out with loved ones and visiting locally owned coffee shops in search of that awesome cup o’ joe! Coffee is not just an enjoyable drink for Allison, she states, “one of my lifetime goals is to open up my very own, cozy little coffee shop!”
Allison is thrilled to begin building relationships this summer within the WeJoySing family as she remarks, “Singing, dancing and playing with kids while building a foundation for success not only in music, but life. This is exactly what I am looking for in my career.”
Submitted by: Mrs. Kristi
Don’t you just love the creativity of 2 and 3 year-olds? This week in the 2-3’s class, we went searching for Thumbman’s dog, Rover, who was hiding in the mulberry bush. In our efforts to find Rover, we began to walk around the “mulberry bush,” which was a hula hoop on the floor. Suddenly, Samantha declared that she had found Rover. I clapped and celebrated with her. Then we continued with the game. She interrupted me to tell me again that SHE HAD FOUND ROVER, inferring that, clearly, I did not understand that there was no need to continue searching for him!
Not to be outdone, Hadley announced that she had found a chicken in the mulberry bush; and then the floodgates opened, and everyone was calling out what they had found in the mulberry bush, including birds, other dogs who are friends of Rover, and various other farm animals. Then Luke joyfully announced that he had found a SKUNK in his mulberry bush! Well, it seemed to me that the prudent thing to do at that point was to run (in place) to get away from the skunk. So, that’s what we did!
I must admit, I was giggling all the way through this, because their ideas were so creative, and their enthusiasm purely contagious! I hope you had as much fun with Rover this week as I did! Who knows what we might find in the mulberry bush next week! COME JOIN US and FIND OUT!!!
With Great LOVE for my Creative 2-3 year olds!
I love my son more than words can describe and I have so much fun with him every single day. And as a former teacher, my patience runs pretty deep. However, parenting is hard! And patience runs out, emotions run high, we run out of ideas for fun things to do, we need something to lighten the mood or encourage silliness. I have found that MUSIC makes all the difference in the world for me and my son by filling our moments and days with so much joy, even during times that might normally be frustrating. Music is a big part of who we are, and our lives are the better for it.
I’d love to share how we work music into various parts of our day! (Songs my son and I have learned in WeJoySing are in bold).
In the car: We have a rotation of 3 cds that have been favorites for a while. From the time my son was very young, we read a lot of books, and one favorite was We All Go Traveling By, a sing along. There’s a cd that goes along with it that we play in the car, and my 2.5 year old requests it every time we get in the car (“cd 2, number 2”) and now sings the entire thing. Other favorites include Raffi’s Singable Songs for the Very Young, Laurie Berkner’s Rocketship Run, and Rob Cantor’s Disney Junior Music Nursery Rhymes
Diaper Changes (which, during certain phases, the mere mention of has been known to cause tears): We sing during every diaper change, and it makes the process so much more enjoyable for all parties. Current favorites include: The Ants Go Marching, The Hokey Pokey, Party in the USA (yep! “Put my hands up, they’re playing my song”), Head Shoulders Knees and Toes, Baa Baa Black Sheep
Bath time: The Prune Song, Baby Shark
Getting somewhere (let’s walk to the bathroom, to the exit, to clean up, upstairs to bed, etc): We Are the Dinosaurs, Rig a Jig Jig, I Don’t Care if the Rain Comes Down (I’m gonna walk/crawl/run all day!)
Lullabies while rocking or cuddling: All the Pretty Little Horses, Go to Sleep, There’s a Little Wheel A Turnin’, Grey Squirrel, Lady Lady, Je T’aime, Edelweiss, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Baby Mine (from Dumbo!), Baa Baa Black Sheep
When you’re waiting in a waiting room OR your kiddo is calm OR needs cheering up... (mostly fingerplays): Ten Little Fingers (I can make them do tricks...), Big X Little O, This Little Piggy, Slowly Slowly Very Slowly, Open Shut Them, Tony Chestnut, Mama’s Little Baby Loves Dancing Dancing (hold your child), Five Little Monkeys, The Wheels on the Bus, Little Bunny Foo Foo
Songs to sing with your child on your lap: Little Red Wagon, Pony Boy, I Had a Mule, This is the Way the Ladies Ride, Mother Father and Uncle John, Trittity Trot to Market, Minka, The Noble Duke of York
My favorite songs are those that the words identify or label what we are doing! For example, think The Little Rascals. Instead of singing “I’ve got a dollar, I’ve got a dollar, I’ve got a dollar hey hey hey” substitute “washing our hands, washing our hands, washing our hands hey hey hey.” Or to the tune of BINGO “There was a boy with blonde hair and Breck was his name-o, B R E C K…” Or to the tune of Do You Know the Muffin Man “We will change your diaper now, your diaper now, your diaper now…” I would love to hear other examples of how you all do this at home!
Other ways to incorporate music into your day:
Read books that are songs: Some of our favorites include We All Go Traveling By, Pete the Cat’s Old Macdonald/5 Little Ducks/Wheels on the Bus/Old Macdonald, Over in the Meadow, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Five Little Monkeys, Ten in the Bed, Down by the Station.
Create a spotify playlist that you can play anytime throughout the day: Breck requests his playlist quite often and we’ll either listen to it while playing, dance or sing to the songs. He has requested songs to be added, and I have added ones I know he loves. Right now a few titles from our list are: The Goldfish, There’s a Spider on My Head, Old MacDonald, BINGO, Baa Baa Black Sheep, Who Built the Ark, The Wheels on the Bus, Milkshake Song (you take a little milk, and you take a little cream…), Down By the Bay, Baby Beluga, If You’re Happy and you Know it, The Alphabet Song, Mouse in My Toolbox, Life’s a Happy Song (from the Muppets)
Get your child a CD player: My son has his own that I’ve taught him how to use. Kids catch on SO QUICKLY. He knows how to switch cd’s and search for songs he loves!
Make instruments available: My son particularly loves using bells to sing Jingle Bells, Bells Horses, Tick Tock, Little David Ring Ring Your Bell
My hope is that this post inspires you to incorporate music into your family’s day in new ways and gives some ideas if you’re looking for new songs, or just need reminders of old ones you’ve learned in WeJoySing or sung before!
“Often a single experience will open the young soul to music for a whole lifetime.” Zoltan Kodaly.
It was through the kindness of a stranger who felt strongly about WeJoySing that Malinda first heard of this music and movement-based class. “I love music and, in the home, we had a keyboard and little instruments for Simone to play with at all times. We listened to age appropriate music with 1 voice and one or two instruments from early on. I wanted to encourage that musicality in Simone, so we joined the class when she was about 18 months old.” In the beginning, Malinda notes that Simone was very sensitive to all the stimuli and she remembers spending quite a bit of time out of class or on the sidelines calming her daughter. Malinda was very in tune with her daughter’s signals and because she was always by her side, class slowly became safer and more accessible to Simone. “The parent-child interaction in the class made it so her sensitivity decreased, and her enjoyment factor became greater. Because it was a small enough dose, she could learn to manage.”
Simone participated in WeJoySing with 3 teachers and the family found it was always a quality experience. “I have been thrilled with every instructor along the way! We have never had to move around to find a good fit like I have in other activities. And that Mrs. Jo is kind of like the pied piper with kids, she draws them in!”
Simone has always looked forward to attending classes and now that she is older will still pick WeJoySing Music & Me classes whenever a conflict arises in her activity schedule. As Simone progressed through the sessions, Malinda noticed her daughter’s memory improved and she had a great sense of rhythm, so much so that Simone’s ballet teacher also remarked about it. When it came time that Malinda wanted to involve Simone in piano lessons, she consulted with Mrs. Jo as to what method would be best for her daughter. Through the guidance of Mrs. Jo, Simone has found success in her piano lessons as well. “To this day, I am impressed at how Simone can pick the correct keys to play for the tune she wants to make. I believe it is because her ears were trained through the WeJoySing classes over the years.”
Malinda highly recommends WeJoySing to families looking for something to do with their children. As her daughter has progressed from the Heart Strings classes into the Music & Me classes, she notes that the parent meetings and the time the teachers took to point out the philosophy behind the methods was beneficial. The parent-child interaction built into the classes is an excellent way to see and learn what is going on and even though Simone is more independent in the Music & Me course, her joy is apparent as she runs to grab Malinda to participate! While some musical skills require individual instruction, like Simone’s piano lessons, Malinda values the sense of community built within the WeJoySing classroom. “Over time families have come and gone in the classes, but some families have stayed over the years and I value that she has relationships with others outside of the school setting.” Thanks to the glowing recommendation of one WeJoySing parent, Malinda and Simone have a bank of memories, skills and joy to call their own!
“Often a single experience will open the young soul to music for a whole lifetime.” Zoltan Kodaly.
Jill and her daughter Cora can attest to the fact that their decision to join WeJoySing classes, about 6.5 years ago, opened Cora’s young soul to a love of music. When Jill and her family had just moved to Columbus, Jill searched the internet for quality music classes for toddlers and was wisely guided to WeJoySing classes with Mrs. Jo Kirk. Jill recalls “I began the class because they sounded like fun, because the website explained Mrs. Jo’s background in music and early childhood education, and because I wanted some new ideas for ways to play with Cora.”
Sibling Classes Opportunities for Pretend Play
Cora has taken classes since she was just 1.5 years of age. When her younger brother was born, Cora accompanied him in his classes too. She brought a doll and pretended to be the mommy playing with the doll through the whole class!
4 Reasons to “Stick with It!”
Jill states that they have continued the classes through the years because:
1 "Cora loved them – during class, she often just observed the class, but when we were at home she would reenact the class and sing the songs."
2 "I felt like Mrs. Jo got Cora - she understood Cora’s need to watch and process the class and helped me to understand that was part of Cora’s learning style."
3 "I learned a lot as a parent - going to the class was like getting a cliff’s note version of an early childhood development class."
4 "Above all, Mrs. Jo is one of those rare persons who adores each child as an individual - it’s not just that she loves children generally, it is that she loves my child specifically for who she is, and each other child in the class for who he or she is. Number 4 is above all the most important, and I get the sense that WeJoySing chooses teachers who share that quality with Mrs. Jo.”
Incorporate Music in Family Life
While music instruction was not the main motivation for joining the classes, Jill notes that the entire family has a greater appreciation for music now and they have incorporated music into several aspects of their lives. Music has helped encourage Jill’s reluctant toddlers to get coats on, has enhanced bedtime routines and Cora now loves singing, dancing and playing piano and states she wants to learn every instrument. When asked what encouraging statements Jill would offer to other families contemplating WeJoySing, she answered, “There are lots of classes that kids can take, but very few have the same caliber of teachers, and that is what sets WeJoySing apart.”
Stay Tuned for Part II: when you'll SEE and HEAR Cora and Simone play a piano duet!! Great things develops....when a child has music in his/her life at an early age.
Parents often share as they enter the classroom that they were up late, didn’t get much sleep, haven’t had the best of mornings and need more coffee; but amazingly as they exit, the ambiance is entirely different. It’s as if, WeJoySing had changed their day and empowered them to play, sing, laugh, love, and learn with your child. Cheryll Pillitteri is one of the mothers who has raved about WeJoySing empowering her to be a more joyful parent. I asked Cheryll to explain, it in her own words, her perspective on being a WeJoySing mama!
How did you learn about WeJoySing?
I was just scrolling through Facebook, and the spouse of a friend who moved to New England a couple years ago shared a photo of a session of WeJoySing with the comment “one of the things we miss most about Columbus,” and something compelled me to reply to her along the lines of “Wow, that’s a big statement!” She assured me that it was a load of great fun that helped her days pass way more peacefully with her kids, and she deeply missed the chance to continue the experience. So, I had to look into it!
What encouraged you to sign up?
I called and asked a couple questions, and was informed that I could come observe/participate in a trial session that would be free – and if I wanted to register afterward, the fees would be prorated to only include the remaining sessions in the season…This demonstrated that the business side wasn’t about making loads of profit; it was about making huge fans and happy hearts, and as a mom, committing to new things with kids is sometimes scary. Thankfully, the WeJoySing team was nothing but gentle with us!
How did you feel entering your first observation class? How did you feel leaving it?
Gotta say, prior to walking through the door, I was VERY nervous. We’re not really musical people at home, I don’t have the best voice, and I generally feel super awkward in social situations. Not to mention, we were pretty new to this part of town, and I hadn’t really been successful at fitting in to things that the other moms here were so effortless at doing – plus I had an unpredictable 3 year old with me! But during the class, everyone just focused on making the kids happy, and we were sort of basking in the fun of being young and making a loosely coordinated (but joyful) noise. There was a very thoughtful balance of high-energy songs and calm-down songs, and we were still humming the tunes in the car on the way home. I gave a big sigh of relief, and welcomed the priceless opportunity to exhale my worry about the things that didn’t go well that morning or that week and breathe in the peace of seeing happy kids just glow with fun and love… so, obviously, I was hooked.
What benefits did you see in your daughter after attending several sessions?
I didn’t even realize we were missing certain things in our life, but I definitely noticed them when they entered – Alice started listening better to adults, engaging with other kids, playing peacefully on her own, and is so much more curious overall about music and lyrics and dancing as ways to learn. I can’t believe she would remember songs after singing them just once! I also believe it came to us right at the timing of a developmental milestone where toddlers start to observe and interact with people (other than mom), and participating in this group activity launched her over that transition like a firework. I know it probably would have come eventually, but WeJoySing really lit the fire of personal connection in her, which was in my heart, the biggest benefit. An example I’ll carry forever is that she remembered one of the boys was too shy to play along with a certain song, and when he finally tried it, she turned to me and said, “yay, he did it!” with genuine support and excitement. If that’s not worth the price of registration, I don’t know what is!!!
How did WeJoySing benefit you as a parent?
Alice is our second child, and it’s painfully true that second kids sometimes get a watered-down version of a weary momma. Going to singing sessions with her helped me show her that there were going to be some things she could do with me while her older brother was off doing his own thing (in our case, kindergarten.) So, it definitely gave me an easy way to do something special and memorable with her. However, the most amazing benefit of WeJoySing to me over some other weekly routine was the toolbox it offered me to rescue our days from a rough sea. Through the power of song, dance, and simple connection, I finally realized that my relationship to my kids was not a one-way street; I was in the habit of giving and doing things for them so much that I hadn’t realized that there are things that they give and do for me. Fresh infusions of fun, joy, love, and perspective is the big shiny gift I won from participating with this program. It might seem out-there, but when I’m feeling depleted or frustrated, I can call on one of the sweet easy songs we learned through WeJoySing, and my daughter will join in and blast that heavy burden away. Major lifesaver.
What would you say to other families contemplating WeJoySing?
WeJoySing isn’t like rigorous singing lessons – the aim isn’t to turn little darlings into pop idols, but if that’s in the cards for you, it’s not a bad first start, either. For kids who are shy, it’s great; for kids who are NOT shy, it’s also great. For first time parents who need to get out of the house, it’s great; for been-there moms who need to do something with a younger sibling to deepen connection, it’s also great. For families who haven’t had a lot of group interactions through preschools or other clubs, it’s such a warm, welcoming and easy way to break that shell. I believe that the world today is gasping for joy, which starts in families, and the tools and methods learned here are as good as any others out there. I feel better equipped to summon joy now than I did before, and for that, I’m eternally grateful!
Thanks you Cheryll!!
Quantum51, 5940 Wilcox Pl, Dublin, OH will be adding WeJoySing classes to their Winter curriculum options!! WoooWhooo!! More class options in the Dublin area!! Call 614-868-0107 for more information!!!
As noted on the WeJoySing website, “songs, movement and musical games of childhood have been called “brilliant neurological exercises” that introduce children to speech patterns, sensory motor skills and essential movement skills.” This movement that looks like play to adults is serious work for our children. Erika Wills, a Physical Therapist Assistant at Licking Memorial Health Systems, provides her observations of the benefits of WeJoySing classes on gross motor development.
How long have you attended WeJoySing with your son?
“I have been attending WeJoySing classes for about a year with my son Sawyer who is 2 ½ now. As a teacher of the arts, I appreciate the structure and fun WeJoySing provides for children of that age group. Not all classes for that age group have such luck staying structured but playful.”
As a Physical Therapist Assistant, what do you see in WeJoySing classes that meets gross motor needs?
“I appreciate that each age group targets specific skills and can be modified by a teacher who is knowledgeable. The rhythmic movement is so valuable to the young ones. Movement in WeJoySing classes is inspired by the need to move towards friends or instruments which is much more organic. I also like that it gives parents ideas for movement at home.”
The awareness of the body as it exists in personal space as well as how it functions in movement and coordination is the Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence in Howard Gardner’s theory of Multiple Intelligences. Music and movement are so closely tied together in WeJoySing classes and all children benefit from developing that intelligence. As stated by Zoltan Kodaly, whose methodology drives the WeJoySing curriculum, "Movement is the child’s most favorite response to music. Movement is the body in melodic and rhythmic exploration."
Watching children of all developmental levels achieve motor skills within the WeJoySing class is yet another perk added to the list of benefits from attending. So, as you and your young child bounce, shake, turn, march and slide through class together, revel in the brilliant neurological work that is being done in your child’s brain!
Moving Right Along!!
It was obvious that I believed in the power and importance of music when I chose to pursue music education as my profession, however…
I’m A Believer…Music for Babies
I’ve always been a believer, BUT I wasn’t quite sure what to expect the day I taught my first WeJoySing class of “wee one.” I was a bit anxious because the youngest children I had taught were 5 years old. This would be different, no doubt, and it was different, but it was FUN! On my third day at one of our child care centers I had my first “ah-ha!” moment as I watched the little ones crawl and scoot towards me. They recognized me and my fun bag, full of instruments and manipulatives! They joined me in celebrating the end of a song, bounced and danced as we sang, and clapped their hands joyously at the end of our time together. Slowly, I was beginning to see firsthand the miraculous ways even infants learn and enjoy life through music.
I’m A Believer…Music a Key for the Hesitant
I’ve always been a believer, BUT now I’ve heard some of the most shy and timid 2 and 3-year-old children, sing tunefully with a smile across their face. I’ve seen little ones play their drums right on beat and stop together, waiting and anticipating, celebrating their beautiful playing together. I’ve witness a child, who has physical challenges, gallop correctly for the first time ever, as his classroom teachers cheered him on triumphantly.
I’m A Believer…Music for My Children
I’ve always been a believer, BUT then I watched my own boys, sing, dance, and play as we participated in our first WeJoySing classes. I couldn’t stop smiling the first time my boys and I sat together with Mrs. Krista. I watched their smiles brighten as we walked towards their WeJoySing class and they realized where we were going. I’ve witnessed them singing and playing at home together.
I’ve always been a believer, BUT then my 3-year-old started to sing and my 9 month old, began dancing in his high chair with his smile just beaming. I’ve used the “toys away, toys away, time to put the toys away” song at home, silencing the whining and then celebrating with them, once we’ve finished!
I’ve always been a believer in the power of music but now I’ve witnessed its’ power in my children’s lives and there’s nothing quite like it.
Bob Dylan’s song, Forever Young, nearly captures everything I’ve ever wished for my children: abundant blessings, the fulfillment of dreams, strength of character, happiness and love. (In case you’re too young to remember Bob Dylan, Blake Shelton has done a very nice re-make of this song and Simon & Schuster have publish a Children’s Book of the song.)
May God bless and keep you always.
May your wishes all come true.
May you always do for others,
And let others do for you.
May you build a ladder to the stars,
And climb on every rung.
May you stay forever young.
May you grow up to be righteous.
May you grow up to be true.
May you always know the truth,
And see the light surrounding you.
May you always be courageous,
Stand upright and be strong,
And may you stay forever young.
May your hands always be busy.
May your feet always be swift.
May you have a strong foundation,
When the winds of changes shift,
May your heart always be joyful.
May your song always be sung,
And may you stay forever young.
May you stay forever young.
But I also think this song speaks to us as parents. It’s easy to go on auto-pilot when we’re with our kids because we have “real-life” things to think about. But it’s important for us to spend time with our children in their world, not just drag them along in our adult world. We need to teach them that to be forever young is to be young at heart: to run and play and giggle and sing and act silly. These are the things that make for wonderful memories and precious bonding moments with your children. And as a WeJoySing teacher, I hope that the songs, stories and games and that make up our WeJoySing classes are the tools that you will take with you, to help make ordinary days special for you and your child.
It seems to me that the last 3 lines of the song sum up the essence of WeJoySing. As we approach the holidays and the start of a new calendar year, this is my wish for all our WeJoySing families: May your heart always be joyful, may your song always be sung, and may you stay forever young.
Forever Young & Young at Heart!!
Music is my medicine. Looking back, even into my childhood, I realize it always has been. On the days when I was home sick as a little one, I would curl up in my pajamas with my favorite stuffed animal and listen to my Sesame Street record. As a moody teenager, I would play back all those songs I had taped off of the radio when I needed to be alone. As I took a break from studying music theory and history in college, I would grab my portable CD player & favorite CD and go for a walk. And now in those few, rare, kid-free hours, this stressed out momma of two puts down the car windows, pops open the moon roof, and blasts my favorite music as I drive around town.
Music touches the heart and soul in such a magical way. It helps us celebrate. It conveys our love. It expresses our gratitude. It validates our feelings. It helps us grieve. It allows us to vent our frustrations. It meets us where we are, and can change a bad day to good.
I have spent countless Monday evenings racing to my oldest child’s WeJoySing class, trying to silence the fighting in the backseat, and trying desperately to hold onto my last bit of sanity. I did not feel very joyful. I just wanted to drop off my children and come back in 30 minutes! But I walked in, took a breath, sat down, and reluctantly started to sing. I found myself turning into a smiling, laughing, happy mommy. My crying, screaming, fighting children turned into smiling, laughing, excited little people. They were motivated by familiar songs and new instruments to explore. They wanted to share their joy with me. Music was their medicine as much as it was mine!
As a WeJoySing instructor, I see this in my classes every week. I see you, stressed out momma. I see your exhaustion. I see you barely holding it together. And, I rejoice with you as your unhappy little one begins to smile, and sing, and celebrate. I rejoice with you as *you* start to smile, and sing, and celebrate with him.
Music is powerful. Music is good medicine! Here’s hoping our precious 30 minutes together each week is your medicine, too.
Love & LaLa’s,
You won't believe this!! These 2 videos were sent to me RIGHT AFTER I READ "What Does Joyful Learning Look Like!" (Oct. 28 post) Mrs. Megan's blog is all about the little ones who don't look like they are "participating" in class...you know, the children that sit in Mom or Dad's lap and just watch. Parents often ask themselves, "Is my child "getting anything out of the class?'
Well, TAKE A LOOK at these 2 videos. This little fellow literally sits on Mom's lap throughout his whole WeJoySing class. His facial expression is intense and he hardly smiles. He rarely reaches for an instrument when offered. But look what he DOES HOME!! EVERYTHING!!!
I am deeply grateful to this Mommy because here's the proof that there is valuable learning taking place as the child sits and observes the class. Observation is HOW this child learns, processes and internalizes the plethora of information experienced during class.
Research in early childhood development indicates that if the adult "steps in" and tries to manipulate the child or force "participate," the child's learning process is literally interrupt and the child will most often "shut down!" During class, JOYFUL LEARNING can LOOK LIKE OBSERVATION!!
These two videos bless my heart to pieces because:
1. Music continues at HOME! THAT'S what WeJoySing is all about! - repetition in learning;
2. The music "play" was initiated by the children. Mom had to run upstairs to "capture" these magical moments;
3. The little guy was joyfully "DOING" everything - down to the minutest detail - ON HIS OWN!
4. The learning was experienced with someone he values, his sister.
5. Sister is in an older WeJoySing age group, BUT knows all of brother's WeJoySing songs and activities, therefore is able to initiate the play-filled learning!
6. JOYFUL LEARNING at HOME!!
La La's and Hugs!
From a Happy MRS. JO!!
Excitement abounds when your child eagerly rocks back and forth and loudly sings “The More We Get Together” perfectly echoes the teacher’s singing and movements, or when he proudly plays the drum in front of all the other children when it’s his turn. I ask you, “Can there be any better confirmation that our children are having fun, learning, and loving music class?!” BUT, does joyful learning always have to look like this?
My son, Breck, loves to stay close to me during his WeJoySing class, mostly sitting in my lap and prefers to be held during most standing activities. This is especially true when he’s in a large group! He hides his eyes when it’s his turn to say his name during “The More We Get Together,” and he’s not interested in playing his drum on command when it’s his turn. He often quietly but intensely watches his teacher, Mrs. Lynnette, instead of playing the instrument in his hands. I have wondered: is he “getting anything” out of class; is he having fun; what is he learning when he isn’t “actively participating” during class?
Learning Styles: Doers-Watchers-Listeners
A significant portion of my life as an elementary school educator has been spent studying child development. However, I realized that despite what I KNOW to be true about children and the way they learn, I wasn’t acknowledging the fact that each one of us, including my son, has a wonderfully unique learning style. Some people learn better by watching, some by listening, some by doing. We all have different strengths and types of intelligence that impact the way we learn. These components, combined with our personality and temperament, make up the way that we learn best.
I needed to consider my son’s learning style and personality when thinking about his experiences in WeJoySing. At home with his Dad and me he is downright enthusiastic, energetic but, is much more reserved in larger groups and in public places. He becomes more cautious, careful, and hesitant. I needed to realize this wasn’t a flaw or something to be worried about, but a special part of his personality that I needed to nurture and BE COMFORTABLE with, instead of feeling the need to force him into active participation. That would come when and if HE was comfortable with it.
With this new perspective my view of Breck’s WeJoySing experiences began to change. I began to recognize and identify ways in which he has LEARNED, GROWN, and expressed JOY.
- Although he doesn’t always sing “la la” when he receives his stamp in class, he will spend the car ride home and the remainder of the night periodically glancing at his stamps and SINGING “la la.”
- Although he may simply watch Mrs. Lynnette while we play sticks and sing about Jack and Jill, I often hear him waking up in the morning singing “up, up, up, up, up” as his voice raises in pitch
- Despite his seemingly disinterest in having a drum “solo” during class, he will pull out his own drum at home and play the steady beat, singing and humming to himself while he drums. His class time is spent processing all this information!! Amazing!!
- Only 12 months ago he would sob when he had to return his instruments. Now he eagerly walks over to Mrs. Lynette, waits patiently in line with his ready hands, and smiles proudly as he returns to me.
- Typically, Breck wants to be held during movement songs, but finally, in his 7th week of his 4th WeJoySing session, he held my hand while walking, jumping, dancing, and running to music. And on the same day, he held the parachute by himself and walked in a circle with the other kids in class! I celebrated his independency and self-assurance that “I can do this!!”
- Although he is shy when in a larger group, at home he dances, sings, and plays instruments as I practice the songs for my own WeJoySing classes.
- Although he doesn’t always want to play during class, he finds his bells at home and yells “horse” until I sing “Bell Horses” with him. He even eagerly hides the bells behind is back at the end!
- Although he doesn’t raise his hands up and perform the motions to the apple tree song, he will shout out his favorite color “PURP!” (purple) when Mrs. Lynnette asks what color the apples should be.
- Although he will sit quietly in my lap and stare intensely at Mrs. Lynnette as she sings (while other children play their instruments), as soon as the song is over he’ll shout “more, more!”
Joy doesn’t look the same for all kids. Participation doesn’t look the same for all kids. Learning doesn’t look the same for all kids. And praise God, they are not all the same! Each of our children has a unique way of learning and expressing themselves. How special is that? It’s our privilege and responsibility as parents to CELEBRATE our children just the way they are.
We can nurture our children’s sense of comfort and participation by continuing to model our enthusiasm for music, by fully engaging with our children even when they don’t seem to be responding, and by celebrating their efforts in all circumstances (even when it looks like non-participation).
Breck is not the kid who “looks” like he is having the time of his life, imitating everything the teacher does during class. He is not the one who eagerly participates in every activity. But when I take the time to think about all the ways he has grown throughout his time in WeJoySing, it becomes clear that he IS LEARNING and that he LOVES music.
My son is not only developing musical skills while in WeJoySing, but he is learning the incredibly important skills of how to listen, how to wait patiently, and how to celebrate another child’s turn. Breck is developing important fine and gross motor skills, building his vocabulary, and enhancing his verbal abilities. He is making mind-body connections in ways that only music can facilitate. He is developing relationships with his teacher and other students, and forging an even stronger bond with me, his mom, through this shared experience.
I love teaching WeJoySing, but even more than that, I love sharing in the JOY of WeJoySing with my son. And I love doing it HIS WAY.
Joyfully to YOU our WeJoySing Family!
I was born in Shelby, Ohio and lived in the country where my 3 younger siblings and I loved to play outside. When we were inside, our favorite pastime was singing and making up dances to songs (and convincing our dad to videotape our dances!) We moved to Stow, Ohio when I was 9 and I quickly got involved in softball, tennis, choirs, marching band, and community service. My parents still live in Stow.
Mom sang to me ALL THE TIME and took me to the library story time, where I learned more songs. I have never stopped singing. I started playing piano and sang in choirs at 5 years old. I played trumpet, French horn, and mellophone in middle and high school and was involved in concert, marching, and jazz bands throughout that time. In college, I pursued my interest in singing and was fortunate to be a vocalist in an all-female a cappella group and a bluegrass band. Currently, I sing with my worship band at church once a month (and with my son every day!)
My husband, Remington, and I are high school sweet hearts who stayed together while attending separate colleges and finally came together in Columbus. We love living in Columbus! Brecken, our 2 year old son, is our little miracle and the light of my life. We all love spending time together playing outside, cooking, reading, singing, and just being silly. We also have two adorable and loving adopted dogs named Mason and Claire.
I hold a Bachelors degree in Psychology and Educational Studies, as well as a Masters in Early Childhood Education and a Masters degree in education from Kent State University. Over the past 9 years I have been a classroom teacher for students ages preschool-2nd grade at Chapelfield Elementary in Gahanna. Teaching is absolutely my passion and my calling. I currently stay home with our son and am so blessed to get to teach and learn from him every single day. I am so blessed to get to spend each day with my funny, curious, spunky little boy. I am also LOVING teaching WeJoySing and getting to use my teaching background in a brand new way.
My husband and I were heavily involved in CrossFit and Olympic Weightlifting prior to Brecken. I have always been interested in fitness and joined a gym where I could nurture that interest and pursue some personal fitness goals. In 2014, I competed in Olympic Weightlifting at the Arnold Classic and qualified to compete in a National Olympic Weightlifting competition in Washington D.C. later that year! It’s still surreal to think that I got to compete at that level, and I am so thankful for the opportunity to have had the experience.
I love to cook and wanted to share that passion with friends and loved ones through my recipe blog: Don’t Worry Live Healthy . Although I am not currently active on the blog, I have quite a large collection of recipes already shared and plan to start working on it again in the future. It’s a fun creative outlet and a way for me to share my recipes with the world!
Can't wait to get to play with you and your child at WeJoySing! We'll have a delightful time singing, learning and playing together!
Being a WeJoySing teacher doesn’t just mean playing with children for 1/2 hour weekly. It means you make a special place in your heart that grows to an enormous size as your love for the children blossoms. You become a part of their family and they become a part of yours.
This summer, my heart hurt almost as bad as it did when I took my daughter to college. I felt like I was cutting some apron strings, only the apron wasn’t mine to begin with.
The Townsend family has been a part of WeJoySing for almost 4 years. In those 4 years, I have seen a tiny little 6 week old baby, James, grow into such a beautiful, vibrant and loving little boy....a little boy who can’t wait to sit next to me when he arrives to class. A little boy who always has news to share with all his friends. The one who sings at the top of his lungs when we sing, “I Love My Little Rooster.” And finally, a little boy who loves to kiss my leg while I’m teaching and cries when he waits to take turns being Mrs. Lynnette’s partner. Oh, I love that little boy, James, and I appreciate his love for music....and me.
In 4 years, I’ve grown to love my chats with James’ Mom, Carolyn. Our chats were honest and sweet. We would talk about life and how difficult it can be when you are a young mother. Then one day I found myself trying to keep Carolyn safe when she was carrying James’ sister, Lydia. There were some complications as Carolyn carried Lydia but she was determined that James would still make it to WeJoySing. Lydia was born prematurely and I remember fervently praying that she would flourish each day because I knew that a little boy was waiting to take care of his little sister. It was a beautiful day when Lydia joined us in class and then she began her own classes. The dimples that precious princess has are priceless!!! I rejoiced with her family as Lydia got stronger with each passing day.
This summer, they came to WeJoySing for the last time. They have moved to New York and the commute to get back to WeJoySing class is just too far! As I waved, and held my tears until they got out the door (Carolyn thanked me for that!), I felt as though a piece of my heart was leaving, because the more you love the more it hurts when saying goodbye. My hope is that the music and joy we shared will continue to grow in their lives and will somehow, keep us connected.
Can music really help in my child's language, speech, movement and social development? Grandmother Suzanne, who brings her grandchild to WeJoySing, answers that question and shares her first hand experience of the POWER OF MUSIC in her grandchild's life and development. She writes,
"WeJoySing has been the BEST thing for Lindsey who is in the Help Me Grow program because of speech delays. Mrs. Julie was Lindsey's first WeJoySing music teacher. Lindsey started very young and was a non-walker. She was in Help Me Grow for speech therapy as well as physical therapy because at 22 months old she wasn't walking. It's important that you know that Lindsey took her first steps in Mrs. Julie's class when Mrs. Julie encouraged Lindsey to come and put her instruments away. It was so moving!! She doesn't always do everything in class but she sure "takes notes" and then we do a lot of it at home. It has not only stimulated her but it gives her a bit of confidence!
Again, thank you for all WeJoySing has done for Lindsey! It has also give her mom and me hope that her speech will develop just as her walking did, no matter how long it takes!!
Suzanne, thank you for sharing Lindsey's inspiring story with us! WeJoySing will continue to provide her with only THE BEST so that one day, she will "talk a leg off of you!"
With Great Respect and Appreciation,