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At Home with Language

October 15, 2010

Parents, did you know that your involvement in language development is crucial to your child’s ability to speak, read, and express himself or herself clearly?  In this Tuesday’s (10-12-2010) New York Times Science Times section (page D5) it says “Babies have to hear real language from real people to learn these [language] skills. Television doesn’t do it, and neither do educational videos; recent research suggests that this learning is in part shaped by the quality and context of adult response.”  In other words parents are the key to their child’s success in language. The article, entitled “Understanding ‘Ba Ba Ba’ as a Key to Development’ describes how doctors listen for your child’s babbling noises as well as observe how you interact with your child.  Babies learn the patterns, sounds, and nuances of language from the parent’s example, when you “provide that stimulation specifically in response to [your] baby’s babble”. For example, when your baby is looking at an apple and says: ‘ba ba ba’, the research, the article says, shows that parents should respond by naming the object – apple. In doing so, you are helping your baby learn the word. The babbling shows their attention and eagerness to know about the world around them. So listen for these times when your baby is engaged, and have a conversation that points out the words according to baby’s interest. In doing so, your child will learn the words and his brain will learn how to say the words. Later, speaking these same words will be easier because the brain already knows how to pronounce them.

Kindermusik classes help you and your child engage in language play. We’ve been pointing to new words, listening to sounds, practicing “yummy in my tummy” and even learning to read music.  All of these activities develop your child’s ability to listen, focus, learn new vocabulary, speak clearly, and analyze how sound and movement (or written notes) go together. Kindermusik At Home Materials help you create the same language learning experience at home. For example, making a drum requires a conversation: “What should we make the drum out of?” “a can, paper, lid, and stickers”. “How does it sound when we tap it on the bottom? “It makes a louder sound..”  Another example – making cookies (real or pretend) also requires a conversation about the process of making cookies and describing how well they taste.  Of course Kindermusik CDs are so AWESOME.  The recordings are professional and sound pleasing. Listening to the songs gives you and your child great joy as you remember your fun Kindermusik experiences, but singing also increases your child’s fluency and vocabulary.  You can also ask: “What did the carpenter use to build the house?”  “A hammer and a saw.”  “What else do you need to build a house?…  Asking such questions encourages comprehension and critical thinking, because it takes much more to build a house besides a hammer and a saw.  Maybe some nails, wood, drills, glue, concrete, door nobs, etc.  After discussing such items, try the rhyme again:  “A carpenter’s drill goes….  and his glue goes…. he drills and drills and glues and glues and builds a house for me.”  Changing the rhyme to fit new words and making up those sounds encourages your child’s creativity.

Ultimately, you want your child to be at home with language. Your support, your example, and your participation in your child’s education through the Kindermusik At Home materials will prepare your child for listening, attention, comprehension, critical thinking, and creativity.  Try it and have fun!!

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