When Rachel and I began working in our new group space, we were both incredibly excited. The space is only feet away from our instrument storage, the room is large, and the building centrally located in town. Even with all of the positives of our space, we had a few challenges to overcome.
Though the space is mostly empty, it is used by several different people so we needed to adapt it to make our clients a little more comfortable and willing to participate in groups. Here are some of the small changes we made to make a big different for our clients.
Adding a Colorful Area Rug
Having a rug helps define the space and creates a central location for children to come forward during story time or gather to play with larger instruments or movement props. It serves as a wonderful reference point when giving directions as well (ex. “Come sit on the rug”).
An area rug can also help cover unsightly or distracting things on the floor. The shiny outlet cover in this picture was a huge distraction during our first class and was quickly covered for future gatherings.
Not only is our rug functional, it adds to the overall aesthetic of the space, making it more “ours”. It’s also easy to roll up and store away after every class.
Storage on Wheels
Our rolling storage cart may be my favorite purchase thus far. This 3-drawer cart allows me to organize the instruments we are using in the group and store things out of sight of our group members.
Because my toddler-age group members like to explore on their own, I face the drawer pulls toward the wall so the drawers cannot be opened without turning the cart around. This usually discourages clients from getting into the drawers and give me more freedom to lead the group.
At the beginning and end of class, it’s so much more convenient to roll the cart back into our storage area then carry multiple bags and bins!
We try to provide little things to make our clients feel more comfortable.
Anticipating their needs helps them feel more at home, willing to participate, and likely to come back again. Having small things like hand sanitizer and tissues can make a huge difference when someone is in need!
Listen & Learn for Little Ones is an early childhood music class for children ages 0-3 and their caregivers. Created and led by music therapists Rachel Rambach and Katey Kamerad, this class is designed to instill and foster a love of music as well as develop basic skills for both musical growth and daily life.
The Listen & Learn for Little Ones curriculum is comprised of both original and familiar songs that you can start singing along with at the very first class. Activities are designed based on specific goals and objectives. Skills that are addressed through the Listen & Learn curriculum include (but are not limited to) fine and gross motor movement, rhythmic foundations, intonation, peer interaction, turn-taking, and academic concepts.
As a parent or caregiver, you attend the class with your child to provide support and encouragement — and capture photos and videos of music making in action! Each 45-minute class combines structured activities (movement, singable stories, group instrument play, etc.) with free time for children to explore various instruments and interact with one another.
All classes are held at Capital City Music 3700 Wabash Avenue, Springfield, IL 62711
In my almost 10 years of experience leading early childhood music classes, I’ve had the opportunity to meet so many others who do similar work. We’re therapists (of the music, physical, speech, developmental, and occupational sort), music educators, music specialists, general education teachers, volunteers, parents, and the list goes on. But the bottom line is the same: we all help kids learn and grow through music.
I’ve been writing songs and sharing them on my blog since 2008, and those songs make up much of my early childhood music class curricula. This summer I partnered with a fellow music therapist, Katey Kamerad, and we have been collaborating to provide early childhood music programs ever since.
Katey and I put lots of time and energy into songwriting, recording, crafting, and creating print materials for each and every class session we offer. We go through this process every 6 weeks or so, and while it is exhausting, we absolutely love the work.
But we know that not all leaders do. Maybe you are passionate about marketing but not songwriting. Perhaps putting together your curriculum together completely stresses you out, but you are passionate about putting songs into action with your students. It very well could be that you just aren’t interested in writing your own songs, but you need fresh material.
No matter which category you fall under, we created this site for you. We’ve taken the classes that have already been put into action here at our studio in Springfield, IL and packaged them up so that you can do the same. The songs (including lyrics, chords, and recordings), instructions and material lists are all there and ready for you to implement in your own early childhood classes.
And this is just a jumping off point for us. We have lots of plans in the works for other resources and materials, and in the meantime will be sharing tips, techniques and tool right here on the blog.
So please stop by regularly, and don’t hesitate to share your feedback! We’d love to hear what you need most when it comes to resources for leading children through music.