Updated: Apr 19, 2021
When you observe a bilingual music class with Mi Casa Es Tu Casa®, you will notice many different behaviors. Some children sit quietly on their parents' laps without making a move, others are on the floor observing while we all dance, some are constantly walking throughout the room while we focus on sign language, and others are looking out the window while the rest of the class is playing the drums.
There are two main things going on in each of these very natural behaviors: a learning style and a learning stage.
Knowing more about your child’s learning style, and the stage he or she is in, will allow you not only to support your child’s learning process, but also to relax and enjoy your time in and out of the class, because you will be able to understand and support your child, instead of worrying or getting in the way of your child’s natural learning instincts.
The Learning Styles
Take a look at these 3 main learning styles and see if any of them resonate with your experience in class.
Are you able to distinguish whether your child is mostly an observer, a listener or a mover? Do you yourself identify with any of these?
The Learning Stages
Music and language development are incredibly similar in many aspects. Both processes continue throughout our lives and move back and forth between 2 principal stages: the outcome period and the silent period.
The outcome period is very easy to spot and usually is very rewarding to an eager parent.
In older kids this looks like moving their hands to try to reproduce the beat or movements we do in class. Some children also sing in their own little way during or after class. The outcome period is a natural and wise way that children use to test what they have learned.
The silent period is often the most difficult for parents to deal with because there is very little outcome being produced, if any, and for an uninformed parent, it can be very frustrating.
The silent period, however, is one of the most important stages of your child’s learning process and one that should be recognized and respected. During this time children go back to being very silent and observant. Their brains are taking in a huge amount of information and decoding it to understand all the variations in language and music.
Naturally, we are all born in the silent period (when we are not crying, that is). While babies develop vocal muscles and organs so that they can be coordinated and strong enough to reproduce intended sound, they also need input, mainly from their parents, to know what sounds to go for when their brains are ready to enter the outcome (or testing) period.
Later in life, after being in the outcome stage for a while, little children become silent again because their brains, at some point, realize there is a discrepancy between what they have been producing and what the input is from the outside world. For example, a child might have been saying stawbaby for a while and then stop saying that word completely for a period of time. If parents keep providing the word strawberry (the stimulus), the child will one day say clearly, “strawberry.” But she needs the silent period to process the differences and "rearrange" the way she was previously producing that same word.
The same thing happens with music development where children might stop actively participating in class to absorb all the input, process it, and then come back with an output. Children can switch back and forth between the outcome and silent periods over months or even hours! You might see your child be completely silent in our class and then turn into an outgoing rock star at home. Now you understand that on these occasions, your child is in the silent period to learn as much as possible in class and in the outcome period at home in the comfort of her family intimacy.
Let us know in the comments below if you found this post useful and what you learned about your child. See you in class!