Transitional Ages & Stages

How do I know if my child is ready for the next class level?

The Kindermusik philosophy springs from genuine respect for each child's individual rate of development. Class activities and at-home materials are designed to honor, support and celebrate the wonderful uniqueness of each child. Classes have overlapping age ranges to help parents accommodate their child's own needs. While a child should be at least the minimum age to enroll in any given class, there are three critical "transitional stages" when parents have an important choice to make about which class is most appropriate and beneficial for their child: at age 1½ (moving from Village to Our Time, when broaching age 3½ (moving from Our Time to Imagine That!) and at age 4½. If your child is near a transitional stage, the following guidelines may help your decision.

MOVING FROM VILLAGE(Foundations) TO OUR TIME(Level 2)

Children ready for this next level show many of the following characteristics:

Physical

  • Improved walking skills, feet are together, knees flexible (vs. the "just walker" who has a wide-based, legs apart gate with locked knees)
  • Beginning to imitate/explore a variety of traveling movements — run, jump, leap

Cognitive

  • Reliably point to correctly identified body parts
  • Can follow two-step direction
  • Understands what "one" means (vs. a handful)
  • Learning to use toys and objects in symbolic ways (moving beyond just enjoyment of sensory properties)
  • Can interact in a directed activity
  • Able to shift attention with transition
  • Connects to an activity; initiates a play sequence
  • Reliably responds to own name (refers to self by name in secure environments)

Emotional

  • Uses gestures and language to deal with frustration (as opposed to just crying or whining)
  • Sustains interest and attention in activity for several minutes (Note: not wanting to give something up, such as bells or sticks, can be a sign of maturation)

Language

  • Can express wants and needs symbolically (gestures, words)
  • Has vocabulary of 20 words; receptive language is still stronger than expressive
  • Reading with caregiver becomes cooperative. Child will select book, sit, relate to the story and interact

Social

  • Interested in what other children are doing
  • Capable of distal communication (i.e. following verbal instructions from farther away)

Musical

  • Moves to music, perhaps to steady beat

 

MOVING FROM OUR TIME (LEVEL 2) TO IMAGINE THAT! (Level 3)

Children ready for this next level show many of the following characteristics:

Physical

  • Has a taller, thinner, adult-like appearance
  • Balances on one foot; jumps in place without falling
  • Holding crayons in pincher grasp rather than fist

Cognitive

  • Knows if they are a boy or girl
  • Can do matching games
  • Knows some basic shapes and colors
  • Developing divergent thinking skills ("What animals do you like?")
  • Beginning transition from concrete to abstract thinking (humor aids this process)
  • Sits and listens to stories for up to 10 minutes

Emotional

  • Recognizes needs of another person; can be empathetic
  • Separates from parent without crying
  • Development of humor

Language

  • Beginning to master rules of language; speaks in full sentences (4-5 words); asks questions
  • Vocabulary growing from 300-1,000 words
  • Can relate a series of activities; tells stories ("We went to the grocery store, then to grandma's and I played with the kittens.")

Social

  • Recognizes the needs of others
  • Turn taking becomes harder than earlier, but beginning to understand reasons
  • Learning about patience

Musical

  • Recites rhymes
  • Sings simple, whole songs