Have you ever noticed how your little one loves doing something over and over again? Even if it drives you crazy, they will ask you to read the same book, hear the same song, or play the same game repeatedly! When young children use repetition, they learn and refine new skills their growing brains need daily.
Think back to something you were learning how to do. Maybe it was riding a bike, learning to code, or following better eating habits. None of these things are achieved on the first try (typically). It takes a lot of repetition until they are mastered. While we may consciously plan how and where to practice our desired new skills, young children naturally do this daily.
When a young child is learning to master a new skill, they go through a lengthy trial-and-error process as their brains discover the best way to achieve this skill.
It can be painstaking to watch them fall or fail as they learn, but with time and practice, they can usually achieve what they desire. Through this repetition, their brain is figuring out what does or doesn’t work, the best way they can do this skill, and the most efficient way. Once these neural pathways are set, they can easily do this skill. Amazing right??
We can encourage their natural development by giving them time to repeat experiences over and over. That is one of the main reasons why Zumbini® is only offered in a session format.
Children need consistent opportunities to experience and grow their skills at their own natural timeline. When children only try something a few times or at irregular intervals, they can’t really develop that skill.
For instance, the first time children come to class, they may be focused on getting comfortable with their new space, trying to figure out what is going on, and just taking in everything that happens in 45 minutes. When they come consistently, they are comfortable with their environment, know our predictable routine and expectations, and can develop whatever skill they are naturally working on at that time. Whether it is singing along, tapping to the beat, jumping off the ground, or discovering how to use musical instruments, it is essential that they have this time each week to build upon these skills.
Imagine what it would be like if the rules kept changing every time you went to drive: left turn on red on Mondays, opposite side of the road driving on Tuesdays, etc. It would be chaos!
This is also why we have very predictable routines and expectations each week in class.
Each week in Zumbini®, we follow the same routine of dancing, singing, scarves, instruments, singing, dancing, more instruments, lullaby, and goodbye. We do this so that children know what to expect. If we kept changing our routine, they would be more focused on what is coming up next rather than the skill they are trying to build at the current time.
Session after session, we also use many of the same movements when dancing or playing instruments.
This helps to build a child’s confidence as they are able to master a skill that previously may have been challenging. It also gives them many chances to repeat and practice until they master this skill. While we (the adults) may feel like we are doing the same thing again, think about how different this is for your little one.
They grow and change so quickly in the first few years of their life that every class is a different experience for them. One week they are just starting to grasp bells; next week, they are bringing them to their mouth; and the next week, they are beginning to shake the bells and discover what sounds they have created! These huge milestones come from repeated chances to experience bells each week!
Seeing your little ones grow week to week is the most rewarding part of my job. Thank you for sharing these amazing little people with me!
Make sure to give them lots of time and repetition with anything they are learning to do.
Come to class every week and be amazed at how hard their brains work as they continuously grow and change!