One of the questions asked most frequently about Zumbini® is why we don’t offer drop-in classes.
Why is Zumbini® only offered as a session-based class?
One of the most important reasons Zumbini® is only offered in a session-based format is that 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 their skills, they will need consistent exposure and repetition to whatever they are learning.
Let’s put this into swimming terms- 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, your 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 repeated from the week before. We do this so children who are shyer or unsure the first week will feel more confident to participate in the next class.
If you only come once, your child only has one opportunity to play this instrument without experiencing the others. But coming over a session of multiple weeks, your child will have multiple chances to experience every 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 towards. Maybe the first time they use the drums, they are patting like crazy, excited to make loud sounds. Maybe the next time, they may start to pat to the beat of the song, and later, they may follow the more complicated arm movements from the adult model. 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 of a group of kids, and some children are uncomfortable participating in the beginning.
They may need weeks of seeing the same adult and child faces or weeks of experiencing the same classroom routine before they feel safe/comfortable enough to participate. This is completely normal for young children (and parents too!) Ensuring the same people will be present every week creates a space where everyone can feel confident to participate.
And about 3-4 weeks into a session, I always notice a magical change in the class dynamics.
- Kids still move as they want, but more often, they join 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 caregivers. 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 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 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!)
2) We actually use that music week after week in the session. We want children to continue growing their skills outside our weekly 45-minute class.
When your little one hears the same 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. Overall they are more familiar with the songs. This gives them the confidence to participate in our class each week.
Internally, they think, “I know this song; I want to sing along!” or, “This is my jam; I know when to dance and when to FREEZE!” When they have this confidence, they are willing to try new things, which is the basis for growth. That’s why we use that music throughout the session and ask you to have fun together at home too!
As a mom, I know how hard it is 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 while trying to get to the same weekly class commitment. It was either a sleepless night or someone pooping right as I was getting out the door to get to the same class commitment each week.)