Have you ever noticed how your little one loves doing something over and over again? Even if drives you crazy, they will ask to read the same book, to hear the same song, or to play the same game again and again! When young children use repetition, they are learning and refining new skills their growing brains need every day.
Think back to something you were learning how to do. Maybe it was riding a bike, learning to code, or following some 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 the how and where we will practice our desired new skills, young children naturally do this every day.
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 are learning, but with time and practice, they are usually able to 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 are able to do this skill with ease. 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.
We believe that children need consistent opportunities to experience and grow their skills at their own natural timeline. When children only tries something a few times or at inconsistent intervals, they aren’t able to really develop that skill.
For instance, the first time children come to class they may be focused on getting comfortable with the new space they are in, 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, they know our predictable routine and expectations, and they then are able to 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 the musical instruments, it is important 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 do have a 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 it to their mouth, and the next week they are starting to shake the bells and discover what sounds they have created! These are huge milestones that 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 are working as they continuously grow and change!