Jeanna Hoyt, a 19 year Kindermusik instructor, is thrilled to start a new adventure by sharing her musical expertise in a class designed to support children with special needs through the power of music.
What inspired you to start a class for children with special needs?
I had a little girl, Tessa, with Down Syndrome in my Kindermusik class from the time she was 4 months old. Now she is 4 years old and her mother suggested that I do a class for children with special needs so other families of children with special needs could benefit from attending a Kindermusik class.
In terms of development, what skills are the children acquiring?
Whole child development is happening when children are a part of the Kindermusik classes. They are acquiring skills in all areas of development: cognitive, social-emotional, and physical, and they are learning how to interact with each other. Through the music, they learn to find a steady beat. If you have a steady beat it helps with reading, writing, and everything. Steady beat competency impacts gross and fine-motor skills. The ability to keep a steady beat helps children walk with a steady gait, run, pedal a bicycle, dribble a ball, and even use scissors and write smoothly.
How does music positively influence children with special needs?
It is so rewarding to watch kids blossom in class. You see a growth in language. It is amazing to watch children who are nonverbal light up and try to sing to the music. If they aren’t verbal they are able to communicate through the music. I also do a group dance where everyone works together to encourage a sense of community. Some children with special needs have difficulty making friends, so I utilize group dance to build community.
Are classes different than your other Kindermusik classes?
Yes and no. I try to structure it the same and still include a story time and a rocking time (to help children find a steady beat) with more flexibility built in. Parents have told me they appreciate this class format. I do not expect kids to sit during certain times. If a child is having a difficult time, I give the child the flexibility to move around the room or let them have a little space. Of course, the parents are there and we try to encourage participation and make it fun and exciting. I also try to keep the class flowing, moving at a faster pace, and include more opportunities for movement. Jeanna Hoyt is looking to add more classes. Contact her firstname.lastname@example.org if interested.
When: Thursdays 1-1:45pm
Where: Genesis Center – 2309 Packard Street
How to sign up: annarborkindrmusik.com
Ages: Typically for students from Birth – 5 yrs. Flexible.