Even though we can't be with each other in person, Mi Casa Es Tu Casa® has found a way to continue offering connection and music to its families. I even think that when we make it to the other side of this shutdown, Mi Casa Es Tu Casa® will be better than before.
In March, with the pandemic threatening to take it all away, Mi Casa Es Tu Casa® responded by doubling down. Their creative efforts, and the time they took to listen to what families needed, led to this past session's interactive online classes, in-depth interviews with specialists like Carrie Contey, video recordings of songs, and the Saturday videos rich with DIY projects and tips for making the most of upcoming classes.
You can even finally play the songs from class on your phone! Last week saw the launch of the Mi Casa Es Tu Casa® app, in development since November.
Personally, I know why my daughter and I chose to continue with music classes as they transitioned to online. But I wanted to find out why other families were sticking with Mi Casa Es Tu Casa®.
So, I spoke with families with children from babies to 4 years old—some new to the classes, some longtime participants. In a series of posts, we’ll get to hear why, even as we all grow tired of the constant Zooming in our lives, these families are continuing with online music classes.
In the final post in the series, I’ll share my own story and that of my 5-year-old daughter.
For Melissa and her 4-year-old daughter, the classes provide a sense of continuity and safety in uncertain, scary times.
Sense of Safety
Melissa and her daughter have been attending classes for two years—that’s half her daughter’s life. “Mi Casa Es Tu Casa has been such a bright part of our lives,” she says. For them, with so many changes and so much uncertainty, the opportunity to hear the teachers’ soothing voices and “keep singing through these strange times was a no-brainer.”
Designated Bonding Time
If you’ve attended one of the music classes at Mi Casa Es Tu Casa®, you already know that the most important adult in the room is not the teacher leading the class: it’s you. In the online classes, that has not changed. Parent engagement is what it’s about.
Melissa gets it—she sees the classes as a time for her to connect with her daughter. “Despite having extra time together [because of quarantine], it's almost more difficult now to be truly present with my child because I'm trying to get other work done while also keeping my daughter engaged. Class time is truly sacred and a time when we are just having fun together, singing and leaving behind worries and to-do lists.”
Spanish Language Development
Before school shut down, Melissa’s daughter was in a dual language preschool, and her Spanish language abilities were flourishing. Melissa wasn’t willing to lose that momentum. With the songs constantly playing at home, and their special time to sing together during class, her daughter is able to continue learning and practicing Spanish at this crucial age. Melissa catches her daughter talking and singing to herself in Spanish around the house, in a big part, thanks to the ongoing music classes.
Personal and Interactive Classes
The fact that there are two teachers in every online class adds to the vibrancy of the songs, dancing, puppetry and laughter happening on the other side of the screen. And Melissa really appreciates that one teacher sticks to Spanish, while the other does a bit of translation here and there so English-speaking parents can keep up.
“The online classes are so personal and interactive,” says Melissa. “Laura and Ana engage with all participants frequently throughout classes and every family has the opportunity to share and be actively involved. I feel true connection to other families that I never met before online class.”
And perhaps just as important to Melissa is the time to connect "outside" of class. She and her daughter always log on early and are always some of the last to log off: “Laura and Ana are always in the classroom before and after class to check in and say hello which makes things even more personal.”
Melissa ended her thoughts by pointing out that these are not the only classes her daughter has been doing online, “During this time we have been doing school and dance classes online as well.” But she stresses that “the experience and personal connection from Mi Casa es Tu Casa® is so far above and beyond any of our other experiences. With other classes I am often negotiating with my child to participate and stay engaged, but with the energy and thought that Laura and Ana bring to classes, keeping my daughter interested is NEVER an issue.”
New to Mi Casa Es Tu Casa®?
In the next post from our series of interviews, we’ll hear from Elizabeth and her 20-month-old daughter. Unlike Melissa, online classes were Elizabeth’s very first experience with Mi Casa Es Tu Casa®, and outside of these classes and FaceTime with family, her daughter gets zero screen time.
Anyone can try an online class for free. Go here to schedule a demo!
Alice Gray is a writer and editor living in Austin, Texas. She has attended classes at Mi Casa es Tu Casa® since her daughter was 2 years old, and is a big believer in the benefits of early childhood movement, music, language, play, and connection.