Classes Strike the Right Chord; in Association with the NHS You're Never Too Young to Get Moving to Music and Classes in a Northumberland Village Are Helping Tots with Essential Aspects of Their Development. Health Reporter JANE PICKEN Has the Details

Article excerpt

Byline: JANE PICKEN

SINGING along to well-known tunes and bouncing around to the beat, babies and toddlers are learning all they can about being active thanks to fantastic sessions at Lynemouth Children's Centre, near Ashington, Northumberland.

For nearly a year, the Get Kids Moving To Music classes have been making a difference to tots in the area, as well as their mums, by teaching them about sounds and songs and using dancing or movements to accompany them.

The classes are always varied and include a number of different activities such as learning about tempo and rhythm through dance or using instruments to imitate everyday sounds.

They are run three times a week by mum-of-three Suzanne Dunn, who is an educator for Kindermusik, the company which created Get Kids Moving To Music.

"It's a fantastic experience," said Suzanne.

"The children leap about, crawl and bounce and this can have huge health benefits for the youngsters.

"The fact that you are introducing movement to them at such a young age is great, but I'm also associating it with enjoyment by adding the music.

"Hopefully this will instill in them an early love of movement which could encourage them to take up dance or a sport to keep up that interest."

Classes have been created for newborns to 18 months and then from 18 months to three-and-a-half years.

Each one follows a basic structure.

Children and their parents will start with a welcome song.

All the youngsters' names are incorporated and movements are brought in to accompany certain words.

Then the class will move on to dancing along to other songs, many of which are already familiar, such as the William Tell music or classical symphonies that most people would recognise.

Suzanne will often throw in an African or Irish folk song - and even Chinese water music to provide variation.

Props including scarves are used to encourage movement and instruments such as little drums, tambourines and shakers are also used.

"One of the activities we do is called focused listening," said Suzanne, who qualified as a Kindermusik educator around three years ago.

"I'll get the children to listen to a certain sound, such as water running into a bath, and then the group will try to imitate the noises they have heard.

"I think this is particularly useful as a lot of children come from very noisy households where there are lots of background sounds like the TV or other children and they don't know how to listen with focus."

The class will then end after 45 minutes with a story to wind down and a goodbye song.

Music and movement specialists Kindermusik aim to improve children's development by using sounds and activities which focus on language skills, literacy, listening, problem solving and social skills. …

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