What is Suzuki Early Childhood Education?
The Suzuki Early Childhood Education program was created over 20 years ago by Dorothy Jones and her daughter, Sharon Jones. At the urging of Shinichi Suzuki, the founder of the Suzuki Method for teaching violin to very young children, they began to create a structured curriculum which is now used worldwide.
This weekly class is centered around music and nursery rhymes, using real musical instruments. The basis of the program is that every child has unlimited potential. Babies and toddlers meet at the weekly class with their parent or caregiver. Here the environment is key. The class environment is designed to be rich, unpressured, and calm where learning can easily take place.
A Unique Baby & Toddler Class
There is nothing else like it.
There is no baby and toddler music class in Northern Virginia that is comparable to a Suzuki Early Childhood class. In addition, we are the first Suzuki School in Northern Virginia to offer this unique opportunity, Suzuki Early childhood Education, for babies and toddlers.
No Recorded Songs in Class
We just sing!
The babies and toddlers hear the teachers and parents singing! At home parents use the CD or downloads to learn the songs. They can sing to their babies and toddlers, watching them learn the words through repetition. Even more exciting is that parents get to enjoy playing with their child while they say the nursery rhymes or act out the songs which are on the CD or download. When baby returns the next week to class, s/he begins to recognize what they have been doing at home.
A complete education from infancy to the 4th birthday
Babies join our class as soon as mom is ready. The weekly class is planned so that children develop confidence and independence as they learn. Some children may “graduate” at age 3 and move on to violin lessons. Others stay in the program longer. Some children who begin violin lessons at 2 1/2 or 3 still continue to attend the Suzuki Early Childhood class! Children don’t have to start taking instrumental lessons, but if they choose to do so, they have all the skills for lessons in place.
We even encourage expectant parents to come to class so that they can develop a prenatal listening program at home. There is plenty of research about that value.
We Teach to Mastery
Our Suzuki baby and toddler class differs from most baby classes because we teach skills until the child masters them.
The founders of the program know and we have observed that children are very comfortable when they know what to expect. They may like little surprises, but not when the entire curriculum is changed or something is added that is “too big” for them to process. The comfort of hearing the same songs and rhymes allows their brains to process. Therefore they can learn new skills without the added pressure of new “material.” They don’t want new. The very young want the familiar!
Individualized for each child
This class differs from other baby classes also because it is able to add “layers” to individualize activities for children as they develop.
There are 2 curriculums used in alternating weeks. As the year progresses, the baby or toddler develops skills. Then teachers add a “layer” individualizing instruction for that particular child so that s/he keeps learning. The other children see and hear the “layer” but it is selected for one particular child in the class that day.
Suzuki was all about beautiful tone!
And the Suzuki Early Childhood Education class is all about creating a beautiful tone. When we play the triangle, it is amazing that the room of babies and toddlers becomes absolutely silent as the children listen to the beautiful tone. Each child has the opportunity to play the triangle and listen to the sound. Everyone stays silent. It is remarkable!
When we play the glockenspiel, we encourage the child to listen to its lovely tone. Children pay attention to the instrument’s sound. We teach them to hear and appreciate it from a very early age. Even the lollipop drum and the wood block can make a beautiful tone when hit in the right spot. We teach children the difference between a good sound and not. And of course everyone loves the beautiful tone of the xylophone. When children play it, they create that lovely sound and they are close enough to it to enjoy.
Suzuki Early Childhood Education Teacher Training
Perhaps the greatest difference between the Suzuki Early Childhood Education program and other baby and toddler classes is the comprehensive teacher training.
Educated and experienced teachers who receive a great deal of training make this a unique program! Training is not a casual undertaking. There are 5 Stages of teacher training. A teacher cannot take more than one stage of training each year. Each stage includes 30 hours of class time.
By the time a teacher has completed the entire course of Suzuki Early Childhood Education training, s/he will have studied for 150 hours. In our Suzuki Early Childhood class, you will find two experienced and trained teachers. By the end of the summer of 2018, Eric Davenport will have completed Stages 1, 2 and 3 (90 hours). Jeanne Davenport has completed Stages 1 and 2 (60 hours).
Training is held at a location where a Suzuki Early Childhood Education class already exists so that during each of the five days of training a one hour demo class takes place. Both Eric and Jeanne have studied at the American Suzuki Institute at the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point. Jeanne also studied in London, ON, where the Suzuki Early Childhood Education program was created by Dorothy Jones and Sharon Jones.
During the training week, the teacher trainer gives specific assignments to teachers to interact with the demo class each day.
Teacher assignments include teaching or supporting class activities. Sharon and Dorothy Jones have trained a handful of Suzuki instrumental teachers from around the world to be teacher trainers for the Suzuki Early Childhood Education class.
Outside of the daily demo class assignments, the training schedule includes preparation for and analysis of the class activities.
The teacher trainer reviews with the class the curriculum for the demo class before the children arrive. There are two separate curriculums to learn, each with 20 activities. In addition, teachers learn to add “layers” to each curriculum as a child demonstrates s/he is ready for more challenge. Teaching strategies, observation & recording techniques, child development, and implementation of the 7 concepts of Suzuki Early Childhood Education are topics in the class.
Why Choose Suzuki Early Childhood Education?
You won’t find another baby and toddler class like it. We form a tight community in each class. Parents interact with one another and the teacher. Even the young children find friends that they see each week. That is all in addition to the learning that occurs in the class because of this specific curriculum and the highly trained teachers is phenomenal. Parents observe the learning in their child as well as in other children. They support each child’s development. A community of learners is created from the tiny baby to the three-year old and their parents.
“…then children are seedlings. Unless the seedlings are well cared for, beautiful flowers cannot be expected.” Shinichi Suzuki
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