Zumbini Is Session-Based, And This Is Why It Works

Zumbini Is Session-Based, And This Is Why It Works

One of the questions I am asked most frequently about Zumbini is why I don’t offer drop-in classes. Why is this only a session-based class?  While I try to reply with as much information as possible, I knew this was something that required a little longer of an answer.

One of the biggest reasons Zumbini is only offered in a session-based format is because young children learn best from consistent repetition. Children do love one-off experiences, don’t get me wrong, but if we are looking for a way to help children develop and grow, they will need consistent exposure to whatever they are learning. For instance, if you only take your little one to a pool once a year, more than likely they will not be a swimmer. If you take them many times with lots of time to practice their skills, they will learn to swim.

This is the same with Zumbini. If you only come once, you little one will have a ton of fun, but they won’t have time to develop skills that are hidden in all of that fun.

Each class we have some songs that are the same as the week before and some that change. We do this so that children who are more shy or unsure the first week will feel more confident to participate the next class.

Another example is with the instruments we use each week. You’ll notice that each week we have one instrument that we all play together, either bells, eggs, drums, or tapping sticks.

If you only come once, your child only has one opportunity to play this instrument and won’t’ experience the others. But coming over a session of multiple weeks, your child will have multiple chances to experience this instrument. Each time they have an opportunity to play this instrument, they have a chance to grow and refine whatever skill they are currently working on. Maybe the first time they use the drums they are patting like crazy excited to make loud sounds, the next time they may start to pat to the beat of the song, and later they may follow the more complicated arm movements the adults are modeling. This type of growth can only come from multiple weeks of exposure to the drums.

Another important reason this class is session-based is because of the social and emotional development that can only happen over time.

For many children, entering into a group of people can be overwhelming. Add in the music, the singing, and the loudness that is a group of kids and some children are not comfortable participating in the beginning. They may need weeks of seeing the same adult and child faces or weeks of experiences the same routine in class before they start to feel safe/comfortable enough to participate. This is completely normal for young children (and parents too!) By making sure the same people will be present week after week, we are creating a space where everyone can feel confident to participate.

About 3-4 weeks into the session I always notice a change in the dynamics of each class.

Kids still move as want, but more often they are joining us in the circle. They still grab the instruments they want (as they should at this age), but they also internally start to know that we have more than enough for everyone. When we play peek-a-boo, children start playing with people other than their caregiver. I love seeing kids start going up to other kids to pull off their friend’s scarf to say boo! Seeing the same children who were previously shy start to smile or giggle as they sing or clap along is amazing!

Sometimes I also asked why they have to get the music for this class (sometimes mentioning they have music from another class that they never used.)

1) Zumbini music is way more fun than any other class, trust me I know a bit about children’s music as an educator and a mom, and 2) we actually use that music week after week in this session. We want children to continue growing their skills outside of our weekly 45-minute class. When your little one hears the session music in the car or at home, their brain is getting used to patterns in the songs, they can start to anticipate what is going to happen, and they overall are more familiar with the songs. This gives them the confidence to participate in our class each week. They internally are thinking, “I know this song, I want to sing along “ or, “This is my jam, I know when to dance and when the FREEZE part is coming!” When they have this confidence, they are willing to try new things and that is the basis for growth. That’s what we use that music throughout the session and ask you to have fun together at home too!

I know as a mom that sometimes it’s just hard to make commitments, to block off the same day/time each week knowing that kids throw off most plans we make.

(I’ve been there myself with sleepless nights or someone pooping right as I was getting out the door to get to the same class commitment each week.)

Keep coming each week, keep giving them space and time to develop their natural skills and talents, and keep being amazed at them.

Know that you are doing something awesome for your child and they will thank you with a macaroni necklace one day.

Click here to read more about learning in Zumbini!

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