Parent's WeJoySing Testimonial & LOVE for Mrs. Lynnette!

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Janelle Pickens, Speech Language Pathologist and owner of Cornerstone Speech Therapy, shared an excerpt from an email she received from one of her speech therapy families who started their child in WeJoySing.  The excerpt “sings” the praises of Mrs. Lynnette and WeJoySing’s methodology.
“We had the first visit to New Albany Franklin UB Church for music and movement learning program for toddlers last night. What a fantastic program it was! Mrs. Lynnette, the lady that conducted the program, was terrific! We had a quality time with our child yesterday. He was very focused, and this lady was so amazing that she was able to get him focused most of the time.
He used to say 'UL' when someone calls on his name. When Mrs. Lynnette asked, 'What is your name?" He said his name to our dismay. Then she asked what his age was. He said 2 without any hesitation. That was amazing! This lady was energetic and most effective in getting the children focused.  Kids get drawn to her in a matter of minutes. I believe that's something she may have developed over the past few years.
I think it is a joyful way for our child to learn and grow. Not only did the kids but also we had a quality time yesterday.”

Music is such a JOYFUL way to learn, listen, play, and grow!   Thank you, Janelle for sharing this delightful WeJoySing testimonial!

PLAY & Have FUN!!!

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“I don’t like to sing” said one child during introductions at our first class together in his morning preschool.  Although, this may have shocked his teachers and even me, just a little, I wasn’t bothered by it.  I simply looked at him smiling and said, “that’s ok, I’m sure we will still have a lot of fun!”

I wasn’t upset by his first comment because I’ve seen and heard this before.  A child is unsure of singing or an activity in class but within minutes, even moments, they are joyfully playing along with their peers.  I’ve also seen kids who stay extremely close to mom during their first class steadily gain confidence and bravery as they begin to play instruments or do movement more independently each time they attend.  I’ve talked with parents who tell stories of their shy little one singing WeJoySing songs “all the time” at home, while in class, they prefer to observe. 

One of the most beautiful aspects of WeJoySing is that the entire 30-minute class is a playful environment for the children.  During class, they are enjoying the story line being told with each activity and they are eager to get to play a part in the story.  The children are doing what comes so naturally to them which is playing.  And, another beautiful thing is that they have no idea how much they are learning about music, language, social skills, math and so much more.  In this video, Landry and Dempsey are learning “expressive speech and the foundations of "sing!"...Yep, it sure doesn't sound like singing though. However, they are exploring ALL the PITCH POSSIBILITIES in their voices! This is the first step to in-tune singing. Research indicates that in order to SING one must be able to explore all the different pitches available in your voice.

Not only have I witnessed the fun other children have while I’m teaching, but I’ve seen it with my own boys.  I love hearing my boys enthusiastic, “yes!” when I ask if they are excited to go to music class.  They practically run towards the building once they are released, yes released, from their seat belts…parents of toddlers, I know you understand.  

What a joy it was to go to our first class this fall, after a summer break, and see both of my boys smiling, singing and dancing, “the more we get together…” as if we had been doing it every day since Spring. 

It is important to note however, that while we have a lot of fun in each WeJoySing class, there is also an incredible amount of learning and growth happening for each child.  The curriculum is loaded with fun and developmentally appropriate activities that teach music, language, math, social, listening and even physical skills.  Children learn how to keep a steady beat which helps develop their language and reading abilities.  They joyfully learn to listen to instructions, stories, and music. They will learn spacial awareness and physical movements while dancing and moving around the room.  They will learn how to help clean up and take turns.  Parents will see their children growing and learning these skills but the children are simply doing what they love best, PLAYING!!!     

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While teaching, I truly hope each child learns, grows and develops these various skills.  I love that music makes learning FUN!  Oh, if you were wondering about the child “who doesn’t like to sing”…well, as we continued class and got to our first movement exploration song, “Come children, let us go…put on your running shoes,” I looked over and saw this student moving all around the room with the biggest grin on his face.  

Joyfully Singing on My Way!!
Mrs. Kinsey!!

17 Month Old Re-Enacts WeJoySing at Home -AMAZING!!

“Bounce, Bounce, Bounce….STOP…SHHH,” directed little Elliott as she re-enacted her WeJoySing “Heart Strings” class at home. Mom grabbed her camera, captured these delightful memories and shared them with Mrs. Karen, Elliott’s WeJoySing teacher, and Mrs. Jo, WeJoySing’s President.  They were thrilled to see the tremendous amount of language development and sequencing of thought emerging during Elliott’s musical play.

The power of music during our play time with our children extends far beyond smiles, giggles and bonding. While the child is actively involved in the work of playing; his/her musical, mathematical, language, and emotional intelligences are all being ‘wired’ in the brain.

 Language Development:
*Elliott’s use of the ‘B’ sounds as she bounces teddy and her use of the ‘T’ sound while she taps her leg demonstrates her phonological awareness and approximations towards the words ‘bounce’ and ‘tap’!
*The rhythmic bouncing, stopping and shushing show Elliot’s sequencing skills which will assist her in future sentence construction as she gains more language skills.
* Bouncing an infant or toddler provides an ideal experience of steady beat. “The child must be rocked, patted, bounced to develop a feeling of the beat. Meter and beat are often used in early rhymes and favorite books which will assist in expanding language development.” (Music and Movement for Infants and Toddlers: Naturally Wonder-Full.  By John M. Feierabend, Ph.D.
*Elliot is clearly in the transitional stage of learning where she can now transfer to her teddy bear the things we once did to, for and with her! The class bouncing activities have been internalized by Elliott and she can now ‘do it herself’!

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*The exposure to a variety of vocabulary, both in the action words Elliott is using and in the lyrics she will begin to repeat soon, will enhance Elliott’s future repertoire of vocabulary. “For if you wish for children to develop a sophisticated spoken vocabulary, they must also hear a sophisticated vocabulary.” (Music and Movement for Infants and Toddlers: Naturally Wonder-Full.  By John M. Feierabend, Ph.D.)

 The sheer number of words a baby hears affects his language ability later in life. Notice the graph here as it relates to vocabulary development in children who are talked to and within their formative first years of life.

GRAPH from pg. 40 in WeJoySing manual, From article: Inside Your Baby’s Brain

Elliot’s videos clearly reveal that she is ‘talking’ excessively to her little baby! Wouldn’t you love to know just what she is saying so vibrantly and lovingly to her teddy?  Obviously, her WeJoySing musical experiences have made a lasting impression on this 17 month old little life!

These early impressionable years are extremely important in our little ones’ development. The amazing, joy-filled moments of music and play in their lives have far-reaching effects on their overall development and are happily disguised as play! So Bounce, Bounce, Bounce awaaaay!!

Joyfully
Mrs. Kristi!
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MUSIC a "SUPER FOOD!"

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Have you even noticed how children, even infants, are automatically drawn to music?  They instantly respond with energetic movement, dance, and even join in song! Why is this? The answer: music is activating both the left and right hemispheres of your child’s brain. Research indicates that we are not only left or right brain thinkers, but both sides of our brains need to be engaged at the same time to create the best outcomes. Music not only hold words, a left-brain concept, but also rhythm and melody which are right brain concepts.  VOILÁ!!   MUSIC is a SUPER FOOD!!  When your child responds to music, she is busy thinking, moving, playing and LEARNING through this joy-filled musical experiences!

Music is a “Super Food” way to live, love and learn because it holds the powerful element of PLAY. Active music making feels and looks like play to you child. She will stay at a music activity longer because it feels like play.  I mean, how many times have you heard “Sing it again Mommy!” or “More Mommy More!!” Joyful music play causes the child to thirst for MORE therefore, essential early skills are being developed through this joyful musical play. Play is the child’s “work.”  It is how she learns. 

MUSIC – “5 SUPER FOOD” BENEFITS
Did you know that we are not born with “skills?”  Skills are taught, modeled and learned.  And guess who is the most important “skill teacher” in your child life?  YOU!! And, the home is your child’s most important learning environment.  So, HELP!  How can we as parents and caregivers teach, model and guide our children to master essential developmental skills using music?  Let’s consider these

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1.   Listening Skills
“Listening is the most important skill our children need to be successful in school. Children are coming to school without this skill,” states E. Cunningham Ph. D in her book Book Smart: How to Support and Develop a Motivated and Successful Reader.   My first reaction to this statement was, “Oh My! This is rather disturbing!  What are we going to do?   Answer: Give our children MUSIC a “Super Food.”  But, you ask, “How is music going to teach my child how to listen?”  Glad you asked!  Answer: Music is First a Listening Art!!  Music holds the wonderful element of PLAY that causes the child to thirst to listen.  The music ‘begs” the child to listen because he wants to play the games, sing the song and be a part of the fun. The child must listen to do this. He must listen to sing, move, play, and relate to others.

What to do at home?  Add the “Super Food” of Music to everything you do at home. Build your song and music repertoire by participating in a Parent/Child music class in your community.  Go to your public library and check out high quality children’s literature that is based on Song.  Instead of reading the book, SING the book!!  Sing songs you remember from your childhood. Make-up your own songs. Sing about putting toys away, making dinner, going to bed, counting stairs up and down. Put on some good music and dance or play rhythm instruments with your child.

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2.  Language, Reading & Math Skills
We just learned that singing games, dancing, and playing rhythm instruments, help to develop listening skills and auditory discrimination (the ability to hear differences in sounds) But, did you know that these skills are necessary tools in developing speech, reading and spelling skills.  Many pre-reading skills are part of music: rhyme, sequencing, patterning, word rhythm, prosody, vocabulary, meter and eye-hand coordination, to mention a few.  (Coburn)
 Learning how to speak, read and write are not simple or easy tasks!! But, MUSIC can be a “Super Food” that nurtures these skills for your child.  Studies at Northwestern University found that the following five skills trigger language acquisition: “phonological awareness, speech-in-noise perception, rhythm perception, auditory working memory and the ability to learn sound patterns.  Their research revealed that children who received music training along with reading training performed much better than those who received other forms of non-musical stimulation, such as painting or other visual arts. Each of the 5 skills were exercised and strengthened by music!!!
A study in Germany found that “music improves cognitive and non-cognitive skills more than twice as much as sports, theater or dance.” The study also found that students who take music lessons “have better cognitive skills, better school grades and are more conscientious, open and ambitious. WOW!  I find this amazing!!  (German Socio-Economic Panel)
Here's another mind-boggling fact!  When a child actively participates in music, 90% of the brain is being used and developed.  When the child sings, all 8 “centers” of the brain work simultaneously. These types of experiences build connections in the brain, which can later be used for math, reading, science, sports, and music. (Coburn)

What to do at home?  Sing the Alphabet Song and songs that teach letter sounds. (Ask your preschool teachers…they’ll have a list!!!)  Teach your child finger plays because the finger motions correspond with the words being spoken!  Play rhythm instruments.  Begin by tapping the steady beat (the heart-beat of the song) then progress to playing the rhythm (“the way the words go.”)  Sing traditional folk songs and nursery rhymes with your child because the words of the “folk songs” follow the rhythmic patterns of our spoken language.  Teach your little one tongue twisters and enjoy the laughter!!!

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3.  Social Skills  
Want to help your children become more sociable and friendlier? Give them Music a “Super Food!” Research conducted by the University of Miami found that children in preschool settings become friendlier and more sociable when musical activities are a part of their daily routine, as opposed to schools where it is not.  (Coburn) 

What to do at home?  Instead of “telling” your child to “put your books away,” SING “Books away, books away. Time to put your books away!” Did you know that children listen better if we sing instead of talk!  Amazing!!  I remember my own stressful Mommy days and how the joy of music and singing turned our day around, from stress and gloom to calm and giggles. Enroll in a Parent/Child Music Class where your child will be surrounded by other children. You will find that “something special happens between people who share music together!”  Life long bonds are formed between not only the children but also the parents!  Empathy, emotions and social interaction are modeled and learned in this play-filled musical environment!  Music is meant to be shared with others!!  Making music together is a social event!!  Music is a “Super Food” towards social development!

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4.  Movement Skills
The child’s most favorite response to music is to move. In early childhood music IS movement. They go “hand in hand!”  Music combined with movement helps the child develop gross motor skills, coordination, balance and spatial awareness.  Can you believe that 50% more of a learning experience is retained when a movement is added to the instruction? (Coburn)   Well, just think…  How did we learn “The Ensey Wensey Spider?”…with MOVEMENT!!   Movement helps to make the learning experience more concrete for the child.   What a great “Super Food!!!”
Marching to and keeping the steady beat is not only for the marching band! It’s for “readers” too! Keep the beat help me be a better reader? Yep!  That’s what I said! Northwestern University studies suggests that “moving in time to a steady beat is closely linked to better language skills. “We know that moving to a steady beat is a fundamental skill not only for music performance but one that has been linked to language and reading skills,” states Dr. Nina Krause.

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What to do at home?   Clap your hands, stomp your feet, tap your head, wave your arms, tap your foot, nod your head, jump up high, twist side to side as you sing some of your child’s favorite songs.  Get out your pots and pans and make a “kitchen band!”  Put on some fast-paced marching music and march around the house playing your “kitchen drum!!”  Purchase high quality rhythm instruments for your child to explore.  Encourage the child to tap “big big big big” on his instrument while the music plays or as you sing together!!   Clap the steady beat while you say nursery rhymes or tongue twisters. 

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5.  Self-Control & Regulation Skills
Musical activities help children learn to tell their bodies what to do, when to stop, when to go, and even when to clean up. If the child is moving with the music and the music stops, the child will often STOP more readily than without music.   (Coburn)
Music is a “Super Food!”  It energizes us. It calms us. It can make us happy or sad. It triggers the brain to learn and it helps us deal with the world around us. Coulter states, “Being actively involved with good music is healthy for us on every level: mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.  (Coulter)

What to do at home?   Find a variety of musical recording that helps to calm, energize and center your child.  Play these recordings when “the time is right!”  Snuggle with your little one or rock him while filling the room with calm soothing music.  Better yet, start singing your favorite lullabies or cherished songs from your childhood.  Every night after prayers, my Mom would sing to my twin sister and me, “I love you a bushel and a peck, a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck!....”  Those moments are still near and dear to my heart and those memories are ages ago.  Humm, must be the the power of Music a “Super Food!!”

 Mrs. Jo’s Favorite Books for “Super Food” Music!  

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Both of these publications come with a delightful CD so you can learn the music along with your child!!  Trust me! You’ll be humming many of these songs before you know it!!

 

May your parenting be filled with joy and music as you share, explore and integrated “Music, a “Super Food” into your child’s daily diet. 

 “Sing”cerely,
Jo Kirk, President
WeJoySing, Inc
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BOUNCING YOUR BABY IS MORE THAN PLAY!

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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! 

More Than "Cute"...This Is AMA'SING'!!

“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’!!!    

    

WeJoySing's Zebedee Muller now Singing BASS!!

 Zebedee at age 5

Zebedee at age 5

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

 Oh My! Look how Zeb has grown...age 16

Oh My! Look how Zeb has grown...age 16

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!”

 The Muller Family - Music is Important

The Muller Family - Music is Important

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.

 One of many beautiful photos by Zebedee

One of many beautiful photos by Zebedee

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!”

 

WELCOME ALLISON JACOBS, Newest Member of the WeJoySing Staff

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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.

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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!”

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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

"Rover" Sparks JOYFUL CREATIVITY in 2-3 yr Class!

 I Found Rover!!!

I Found Rover!!!

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! 

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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! 

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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!
Mrs. Cathy

When Parenting is Hard, Create Giggles & Relieve the Stress with MUSIC: 11 Helpful Tips

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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).

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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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

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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!

Happy Singing,
Mrs. Megan

Bouncing on Mommy's Knee to Playing the Piano: Part II - A Life of Music, Simone's Story

“Often a single experience will open the young soul to music for a whole lifetime.” Zoltan Kodaly.  

 Simone (20 months) and Mrs. Beth

Simone (20 months) and Mrs. Beth

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!” 

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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!

Joyfully Submitted,
Mrs. Kristi

Bouncing on Mommy's Knee to Playing the Piano: Part I- A Life of Music, Cora's Story

“Often a single experience will open the young soul to music for a whole lifetime.” Zoltan Kodaly. 

 Cora in her 2-3yr old class - Independency!

Cora in her 2-3yr old class - Independency!

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!

 Cora enthralled in music & Literature at 5 yrs old

Cora enthralled in music & Literature at 5 yrs old

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.”

 Cora delighting in learning whole, half, quarter eighth & sixteenth notes in Music & Me II class

Cora delighting in learning whole, half, quarter eighth & sixteenth notes in Music & Me II class

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. 

Joyfully
Mrs. Kristi!

 

"Exhale Worry, Inhale Joy & Peace!"

 Cheryll & daughter

Cheryll & daughter

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! 

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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!  

 Let's play!!  Pull boy, pull low!!

Let's play!!  Pull boy, pull low!!

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. 

 sharing with a new friend

sharing with a new friend

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!!! 

 Just you & me!!

Just you & me!!

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. 

 Bring It on!!

Bring It on!!

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!!
Jouyfully,
Mrs. Kristi

QUANTUM51 Joins the WeJoySing Family!

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!!!   

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"Movement" is Serious Business for Your Child

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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.”

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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."

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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!!
Mrs. Kristi

I’m a Believer and There’s Nothing Quite Like It!

It was obvious that I believed in the power and importance of music when I chose to pursue music education as my profession, however…

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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.  

 Click to View

Click to View

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.

Joyful Believer!
Mrs. Kinsey

How to Guide Your Child to be "Forever Young!"

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.)

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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.

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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.

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 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.

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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!!
Mrs. Cathy!