"Getting to Know You" - PART I

 "Getting to know you. Getting to know all about you!"  These familiar lyrics from "The King & I" are a great way to introduce  our newest WeJoySing Instructors.  Part I of "Getting to Know You" will feature Kristi Frazier. Her Granville and Childhood League children and families have already begun to bond and share together the delight of learning and growing through musical play.  Enjoy Part I as Kristi shares her life, family, love for education and music!  She writes:

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I grew up in rural Knox County, outside of Gambier, Ohio on a small farm adjacent to my grandparents. I attended Mount Vernon City Schools for my education and obtained my first teaching job there in 2000 after attending OSU-Newark for my Masters in Education. My dream to work as a teacher started with a position as an itinerant preschool teacher where I traveled to pre-school facilities and homes to transition children from Help Me Grow to our District Special Education program. I then served as the teacher and director for our district special needs pre-school which was an incredible journey! I spent one year as a Kindergarten teacher, four years as a First-Grade teacher and four years as a Second-Grade teacher. Each grade level I taught brought about new discoveries about children at that age level and I loved it!

During my childhood, my mother made a point to get me in piano lessons, which I dreaded at the time, but am most grateful for now. I went on to play in the band; clarinet for concert season and trumpet for marching band season. My choral experiences started in the church setting, singing in children’s choirs, soloing and eventually leading the children’s choirs. Choir, praise band, local theater, and belting out songs in the car kept my musical skills fresh. When I taught in the public schools, music was a constant in my classroom, whether it was a transition song to get the kids to line up or the classical music I played for its calming effect; music was ever-present within my classrooms.

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I lived in and taught in Mount Vernon for 11 years before meeting my husband-to-be. He owns a business in Pickerington, so Granville happened to be a great middle ground for both of us. Living just outside Granville makes access to the eastern outskirts of Columbus a breeze, while still providing us with the small-town feel. We currently live on 3 acres with about 2 of it under pasture. We are only pasturing sheep right now, but have had chickens, goats, ducks, cows, rabbits and pigs on our mini farm. Once our daughter Lila, who is just 22 months now, gets older, we intend to bring more chickens onto our mini farm so she can help collect their eggs and tend to them. My favorite animals we have cared for thus far are the goats because they are rambunctious and playful; but chickens come in at a close second.

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            Joining the WeJoySing community with my daughter when she was just 6 months old was an incredible experience. Not only did it provide me with several new songs, bounces and finger plays to do with Lila; it also provided a sense of community with the other moms. We all looked forward to our weekly “La-La” class as the children came to call it! Now when my family visits, my daughter Lila has started passing out instruments to everyone in the room for sing time…perhaps another teacher in the making?!

La La's for ALL!!
Mrs. Kristi

Pediatrician Supports WeJoySing's Early Childhood Music Programs!

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As parents, we want to do everything within our power to support our children’s well-being and development.  It can’t get better when we find “a way” to spend quality time learning and bonding with our children in a joy-filled, child-centered, caring and educational atmosphere that is  ALSO recommended by our pediatrician. We’ve “hit the jackpot!”  WeJoySing is exactly one of those “jackpot” programs.

Dr. Brad Dickson of Southwest Pediatrics supports WeJoySing’s early childhood music and movement based programs and firmly believes that music education plays an integral part in a human being’s full academic and learning experience.  His support is based on conversations with his patients who speak of WeJoySing “always with a smile!” and because of people “like Mrs. Kelly, WeJoySing Instructor, who genuinely care for children and have true passion and intelligence for music and teaching.”

Mrs. Kelly recently interviewed Dr. Dickson about his professional take on the value of music programs like WeJoySing in a child’s young life:

Kelly: Why do you think parent involvement and participation (“playing along with”) is important in a child’s development, especially in early childhood?

Dr. Dickson: Parent involvement and participation is important because the child’s social infrastructure and developmental progression is based on the parent’s interactions with the child.  

Kelly: What are your thoughts about using play, singing, music, and movement in a child’s development?

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Dr. Dickson: Brain development is greatly based on forming new “pathways” and to do this we need to try new healthy things every opportunity we can… from simple things like driving a different way to work, brushing our teeth with the non-dominant hand, to something as enriching and complex as learning music in a loving environment like WeJoySing.  

Kelly: How do you think music and singing can be good parenting tools for things like making transitions and stressful times joyful, and creating developmentally appropriate experiences at home?

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Dr. Dickson: Music in the parenting realm is vital because music is one of those rare things that brings our children a “mindfulness” or a true “being in the moment”... you are concentrating on music and therefore you have to be in the moment.

Kelly: We have the classes split up into developmentally appropriate age groups.  What does the term “developmentally appropriate” mean from your perspective?

Dr. Dickson: To me developmentally appropriate means that a child is comfortable with the pace or complexity of what musical experience is happening.

WeJoySing is a powerful program for EVERY child, and Dr. Dickson especially promotes this program for children with complex mental health issues and challenges:

Kelly: What benefits do you see coming out of participating in a program like ours?

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Dr. Dickson: Multiple benefits...especially with a large group of children that I take care of with mental health diagnoses like Autism, Bipolar Disorder, Anxiety Disorder, Depression and ADHD.  Children with these diagnoses are invariably super intelligent but have an excruciating time showing their intelligence because of a host of complex reasons...music is common ground for any of these children.

Kelly: What else would you like to add from a pediatrician’s perspective?

Dr. Dickson: As a pediatrician who has an ingrained passion to help children with complex mental health issues, I just dearly appreciate people like Kelly and programs like WeJoySing for sharing in the passion to help and advocate for any child with challenges.

We sincerely thank Dr. Dickson for sharing his thoughts on the importance of music in human development, for promoting WeJoySing to his patients and for sharing WeJoySing’s passion and devotion to helping young children develop and grow!