First, why is parent education important? (After all, the benefits of Musikgarten are soooo obvious!) With many activity options for babies and toddlers available, parent education is your #1 defense against the natural tendency of families to try Musikgarten for a while and then leave to try something else. Parent education helps parents to feel included and it will separate your program from others out there.
Make sure every parent in your program understands the benefits of Musikgarten. The key to parent education is to do it early and often! Send out parent emails or newsletters weekly, post reminders in your studio if you’re able, and host free parent orientation, education sessions or webinars. Here are some lessons you should share:
- Class is for children AND parents. The words “music lessons” can conjure strict teaching methods or repetitive practice sessions that don’t exactly scream “fun!” Heather McEndree of Music for Me! at Cumberland Valley School of Music in Chambersburg, PA told us, “I share in my promotional materials that the classes for babies and toddlers are for parents and their children to experience and share music together, through singing, dancing, bouncing, and interacting with the music. The instruments at that level are at the appropriate developmental level for the children: rhythm sticks, shakers, and drums.”
- Parental involvement is key! Teacher Bobbi Morgan shared her observation, “I teach the same Family Music for Toddlers lesson for 7 different classes each week. When parents participate joyfully in a musical activity in class and continue the activity at home, the child comes to love it and know it.” To encourage parents to stay engaged at home Bobbi advises, “I ask parents to pick an activity that they and their child enjoyed in class and assign them to practice it daily as ‘homework.’” Let parents know how important they are to their child’s enjoyment and success in Musikgarten.
- Musikgarten is 100% KID-approved! Parents want to know their child is having fun, so let the kids do the talking! They’re ultimately your best testimonials. Share what you hear students say just like Cindy Freeman, an Early Childhood Music School Director in Williamsburg, VA, who sends out a parent newsletter with a unique feature she calls “From The Mouths of Babes.” Last month, Cindy included this observation, overheard in her Keyboard 2 class:
“Is class over already?” asked one of Mrs. Freeman’s students. “Wow! That was so short!” chimed another. “It just seems short,” explained Avery, “because we’re in a magical, musical place!”
What have you overheard that would help parents appreciate the benefits of Musikgarten? Share your idea with us and we may include it in an upcoming newsletter, blog or on Facebook!
- Musikgarten is more than just learning songs! Backed by scientific research, Musikgarten benefits children at each stage of early childhood development – cognitive, physical, social, and emotional. “When children are immersed in the magic of live music making they leave the environment not only craving more but also feeling a sense of well-being and wholeness,” notes teacher Cindy Freeman. Remind parents that studies show music education positively impacts language and literacy development; improved pattern recognition skills which are the basis for mathematical learning; and social and emotional development.
- Music Literacy is the cornerstone of Musikgarten. Even if you are just teaching Babies and Toddlers, remember that we are doing important work in terms of the children’s music aptitude and their potential to become musically literate. Talk about this often, as it is what sets your Musikgarten program apart from every other early childhood music program available.