Music impacts language learning at our Melkbosstrand branch

We’re SUPER excited about MUSIC as a catalyst for learning. Our excitement comes from years of experience as we’ve watched the effect that music-based activities have on children. What’s really exciting, is that our experience is continually backed up by research coming from prominent NEUROSCIENTISTS across the world.

If you’re new to Wriggle and Rhyme, we are a MUSIC PROGRAMME for babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers from 6 months – 6 years old.  Our mission is to introduce children to music-based activities in their early years, because:

  • music is such a fun and highly effective medium for learning! 
  • music brings people together!

So, that’s exactly what our classes aim to do!

Music and language learning

There is so much research on the impact of music on brain development in children.

Three years ago, we were so excited to open a branch for BABIES and TODDLERS in MELKBOSSTRAND with the wonderful, Marcelle Grobbelaar.

Toddler playing drum in Melkbosstrand

It is a predominantly bi-lingual community (with English and Afrikaans being spoken fluently in many homes). We were interested to see what impact our music programme would have on English language learning. Especially in homes where Afrikaans is the first language.

One of the most obvious benefits of singing words, rather than only using instrumental music-based activities, is the opportunity to introduce and extend a child’s vocabulary.  

Because of the way that music impacts our memories, words are more readily embedded when they’re sung, rather than just said.  

The experience in Melkbosstrand has been fascinating! Watching little ones explode with new language and vocabulary, as a direct result of the songs that they’re singing in class.

Marcelle in Melkbosstrand

With that in mind, this week, we’re focussing on our MELKBOSSTRAND branch run by Marcelle Grobbelaar. Marcelle runs our baby and toddler music programmes.

Marcelle, what are the highlights of teaching Wriggle and Rhyme in Melkbos?

As mentioned earlier, this is my third year of teaching Wriggle and Rhyme classes from home. My heart is always so touched by the beautiful relationships that blossom in my classes.

I really grow to love each and every child so much!

When families leave Wriggle and Rhyme, I really miss them. What a privilege to be able to welcome new faces again!

Music’s impact on language development

As a qualified teacher with a background in counselling, I am always so encouraged by the ability of music to positively influence language development as well as emotional intelligence. Music gives the little ones a way to express themselves, whether through singing out loud, banging a rhythm or moving to the music. Music is an avenue that brings forth growth and development like no other.

Little girl in bubbles

It’s incredible to be involved with something that I am passionate about. It also benefits my family which is a wonderful blessing.

My own children absolutely love Wriggle and Rhyme and the songs and characters have become a part of our daily lives. Even our extended family regularly have Wriggle and Rhyme songs stuck in their heads after a visit to Melkbos!

It’s been a difficult season for W&R, following closure during LOCKDOWN. What are some of the challenges of this current season for you?

Time and scheduling is quite a challenge with all the constant changes. I feel strongly about being present for my husband and children , so the schedule is a bit like a carefully constructed puzzle. Being intentional with my down-time is something that I need to keep focussing on too. 

Concern over extended family

Being far away from family during this time has also been difficult. Both my mom and stepdad had Covid-19 and were extremely ill.

My mother is a healthcare worker and I’m so proud of her courage and service to our country during this time, despite being at risk. We are extremely thankful for their recovery after a tough battle.

Financial impact

Financial impact during this season is also a reality. Being dependent on an income from a small business has been difficult during the lockdown, as for many others. All of us are very thankful to start up again, but we do realise that it’s quite different than before.

Parents are more cautious to return to activities with their little ones and a lot of families have been hard hit financially by the pandemic. It’s a challenge to have to do more, or invest more of our time to make a decent income to support our families.

Froggy is loving being back in class!

Despite the challenges, what has been a wonderful surprise of teaching W&R during this season?

During this challenging time, I’ve really appreciated being part of a bigger team, and not having to navigate this all on my own.

Regular Zoom sessions sharing our hopes and uncertainties have been so encouraging and made processing it all so much easier. Our Programme Director, Kirsty has been of great help and support, offering solid advice and coming up with creative solutions!

Embracing change

As with any change, you just need a few tries to get into the swing of things.

Setting up differently for class, teaching with a face shield and being mindful of social distancing has become a norm in a very short time.

COVID-19 Compliance Plan

I truly look forward to every class. It’s wonderful seeing the mommies and children again and getting to meet new Wrigglers and Rhymers.

I also thoroughly enjoy teaching my online classes and I’m pleased with how well the little ones participate.

Marcelle teaching one of her ONLINE classes

All in all, the challenges can be tiring and daunting, but are all an opportunity for growth.

Staying connected

Making an extra effort in staying connected to each other. Humans have been designed for connection and relationship.

I am privileged to play a small part in that, by helping people connect through music.

Join Marcelle in Melkbos for an unforgettable musical adventure with your baby or toddler!

Info below or click here – http://www.wriggleandrhyme.co.za