You’ve likely noticed how your child will repeat the same thing over and over and over, whether it be an action, a sound, a behavior. Sometimes it’s enough to drive you nuts!
Did you know that your child is repeating that something until he or she has it mastered? Have you noticed that once that occurs, they are on to something else? Predictability can be tedious for adults, but children thrive on sameness & repetition.
Here are some facts about THE IMPORTANCE OF REPETITION IN YOUR CHILD’S EARLY YEARS…
~Repetition builds and strengthens neural connections, which trains your child’s brain to think faster.
~Those neural connections have a motto… “USE IT OR LOSE IT”!
~Repetition builds muscle mapping, which can even affect emotional and cognitive behaviors as well!
~Routines and rituals are a form of repetition we use in class every week. Greeting rituals help children feel comfortable, acknowledged and ready to learn. They build a sense of security, create familiarity and safety within a new environment. In fact, those are our primary goals for the first few weeks of class.
Repetition of activities not only aids in learning, it is helping to create our Kindermusik class community!
You may have begun to notice our routines and rituals are starting to transfer outside of the classroom, too. Is your child singing the hello song over and over? Is she repeating a sound, action or behavior she experienced in class? Is she asking for the same song repeatedly? That’s repetition in action!
From infancy on, children count on routine & ritual for comfort & security. Routines offer children cues for what is expected of them and give them a sense of control over their environment. A child who knows what will happen next and what’s expected of him/her is better able to participate, act independently and with more confidence.
The Seven-Year Continuum: REPETITION
Are you noticing a pattern in our class activities? We sing hello, massage, and do leg and arm exercises all in a predictable pattern because your baby likes, and needs, structure. It helps her feel safe and secure. Yet within that reliable structure we often change and expand activities. Every time your baby explores something new, it stimulates the creation of new neural pathways in her brain. The more she repeats those new activities, the stronger those neural connections become. By doing those new class activities again at home, you’re helping to make the connections become even stronger.
“Cells that fire together, wire together.” This is a direct quote from research done by a Canadian psychologist, Dr. Hebb. In other words, repetition increases the number of cells that fire together stabilizing the neural pathways and allowing the brain to remember that thought or action. A balance between novelty of activities and repetition is important for optimal brain development. Each time a child is exposed to a new object or experience, new neural connections are made in the brain, but not all connections remain intact. It is through repetition that connections are retained. “Think of it as the construction of a road. The first time you walk through a field, you hardly leave a path, but the more frequently you travel that way, the grass becomes a dirt path, etc., etc., until you’ve got a six lane highway. But similarly, if you stop travelling that way, eventually the grass takes over again.”
~Deb Carbone, Kindermusik Educator since 1995
Ever tried playing a game with your child and you unintentionally do it differently than what they’re used to? Ever tried rushing through the reading of a book while making up the story to go with the pictures? Most 3 and 4 year olds will get quite upset that you are breaking the “rules” or changing the story. Children at this age are still very much creatures of habit. They like things done the same way each time and rules are extremely important to them.
Repetition provides opportunities for children to make choices and state preferences within the lesson. “How else can we move?” or “Which sound do you like better?” allows the child direct input in creating the musical experience and fosters independent thinking. Turn taking is a key element of Imagine That so that everyone gets a turn and everyone is acknowledged. Turn taking also provides a natural opportunity to provide the repetition children need on each activity. Children need and want to repeat what they’ve learned as a means to master skills. Both sharing time and the home materials allow for this repetition to happen.
Step into any Kindergarten class, and you will notice just how important the repetition of routines and rituals really are. Next time you watch your child’s Kindermusik class through the viewing window, notice what they do as soon as they enter the classroom? How do they keep their materials together? When do they play their instruments? How are the hello and goodbye songs managed? All that repetition and routine helps with something called self-regulatory behavior–a vitally important skill necessary for success in school.
Studies have shown that children currently enrolled in Kindermusik showed higher levels of self-control than those never enrolled and those previously enrolled. This suggests that in order for children to reap the benefit of increased self-control as a result of Kindermusik participation, it is important to have repeated and recent Kindermusik experiences and remain enrolled in the program. Read more about this study, below…
Repeated, not sporadic enrollment makes all the difference!
In 2005, a study was conducted by Adam Winsler, Ph.D, and graduate student, Lesley Ducenne, in the Department of Psychology at George Mason University. The researchers were looking at “The Effects of Kindermusik on Behavioral Self-Regulation in Early Childhood”.
The 15-month study included 91 children between the ages of 3 and 5 who were split into three groups: 23 students currently enrolled in Kindermusik, 19 students previously enrolled in Kindermusik, and 49 students of similar family backgrounds from local preschools who had never had Kindermusik.
The children were observed doing a variety of tasks that required self-control such as slowing down their motor behavior, delaying their gratification, refraining from touching attractive but forbidden toys, quietly whispering, and compliance with instructions to initiate or stop certain behaviors. Parents also completed surveys.
The results proved what Kindermusik educators are already well aware of—the longer you stay in Kindermusik, the better.
Specifically, the study showed that:
- Children currently enrolled in Kindermusik showed higher levels of self-control than those never enrolled and those previously enrolled. This suggests that in order for children to reap the benefit of increased self-control as a result of Kindermusik participation, it is important to have repeated and recent Kindermusik experiences and remain enrolled in the program.
- Four-year-old children who had been exposed to Kindermusik for longer periods of time are better off in terms of self-control—namely a child’s ability to plan, guide, and control their own behavior—than similar children with less Kindermusik history.
- These experiences, stop-go, high-low, fast-slow, short-long, and loud-soft, whereby children’s motor behavior is guided by the music, appear to be good exercise for young children’s emerging self-regulatory skills.
Licensed Kindermusik educator, Beth Frook of Clifton, VA, on whose classes the research was conducted, shares her reaction to the results and the role that research plays in her Kindermusik classes. “The research is important because is adds impetus to a parent’s decision-making. It’s more than just saying, ‘Ok, we’ve done Kindermusik, let’s try something else.’ It encourages a parent to go beyond the smorgasbord approach to children’s activities. A lot of times parents will say, “We’ll do art, then soccer, then swimming.’ A study like this encourages families to look at the value of re-enrolling. Repetition is vital for a child’s learning and currently in our culture, it’s not viewed that way.”
No other program provides more ways for your child to thrive than Kindermusik, and now we know that continuous enrollment is the key!