Parents Place in San Rafael has been a valuable resource for countless Marin County parents and families. This spring, they offer a wide variety of programs, from yoga for little ones and music time to workshops for new moms and dads and parents of spirited children. Here are a few of their offerings this season:
Yoga for Children (2 ½–5 years)
Yoga for the little ones! This ongoing series includes a playful interpretation of classical yoga poses, with songs, stories, movement, and quiet breath awareness practices for 2 ½- to 5-year-olds. Parent participation is optional, but supervision is required. This series gives kids an introduction to yoga that is both fun and educational and helps build concentration and mindfulness in preschool-aged children. Please bring a mat. With Juliana Birnbaum Fox, MA. Fridays, May 3 - 17, 11:00 - 11:45 am. $42 per child for three weeks; $21 for each sibling. Register here.
For Dads Only - Effective Fathering (all ages)
During this workshop, parent educator and coach Tom Limbert, MA will use his new book,Dad's Playbook: Wisdom for Fathers from the Greatest Coaches of All Times, as a framework for tackling the issues facing today's fathers. Tom will reveal how a father can walk the fine lines of discipline, respect, and support. You will discuss the values of listening, leading by example, staying in the moment, setting clear limits, and motivating your children. (Signed copies of Tom's book will also be available at a discount to attendees). Mon., May 6, 7:00 - 9:00 pm. Register here.
Marin Mommies presents a guest article from Marin County music educator Cindy Cohen Levy.
There are lots of great classes for toddlers and preschoolers in Marin. Have you ever wondered what a music class might teach your child?
Music classes develop many skills: kindergarten readiness skills, a love of music, and a music foundation to help a child later play an instrument. As far as kindergarten readiness, I call three of the skills the three Cs of kindergarten readiness: Concentration, Coordination, and Communication.
Music teachers can use many methods to hold and build concentration like tapping simple rhythmic patterns for the group to echo or reading simple musical notes. Kids can have lots of fun playing a variety of musical instruments or reenacting classic music stories like Peter and the Wolf.
Now that the holiday break is almost over, it’s once again time to sign up the kids for winter music classes. One thing my kids really enjoy are music programs. They love to sing and dance to the music and play the different instruments offered. We’ve tried a few different classes around Marin and the North Bay, and really like the Kindermusik programs offered here in Novato by Music with Melissa and the Mary Ann Hall's Music for Children. Regardless of which program you choose, there is a music class for every child from newborn to grade school.
If you’re thinking of getting your child involved in a music class, then now’s the time to sign up. Many classes will resume their sessions in the next few weeks. Here’s an updated list we’ve put together of a variety of local music programs and classes. If we’ve left out your favorite class then please let us know, or, better yet, leave a comment and tell everyone why you and your kids love it!
Marin Mommies presents a guest article by Rebecca Wood Breen, LCSW, Parents Place Coordinator, Marin County. She highlights some of the programs and services offered to Marin parents by the Parents Place in San Rafael.
Your 2-year-old constantly throws himself on the floor when he doesn’t get what he wants. Your 5-year-old torments her 3-year-old sister. Your 13-year-old won’t speak to her step-father. And you’re so worn out from managing one domestic crisis after another that going to work in the morning seems like a vacation.What can you do?
Parents Place in Marin County can’t take you away from your challenges and problems, but we can help you resolve them and make life better for yourself and your family. We gear all of our programs toward practical, effective, easy-to-implement solutions that are custom-tailored to meet your family’s specific needs. Our range of services includes:
Support for expectant and new parents, including a free New Moms’ Support Group, Preparing for Childbirth with Yoga couples workshops, Infant Sleep and Infant Massage workshops, and breastfeeding support. We recognize the importance of support and community during this exciting and challenging transition.
The Marin Music Chest has launched its annual scholarship audition program in its ongoing effort to provide financial support to Marin County students studying classical music. Students studying wind and string instruments, piano, and voice are encouraged to apply, and all scholarship applicants must be residents of Marin County for a minimum of two years and have at least two years of music study prior to the audition.
Junior Division instrumentalists must be between 10 and 13 years old and vocalists between 14 and 16. The Junior Division application deadline is February 10, 2012, and auditions will be held March 10, 2012. Senior Division instrumentalists must be between 14 and 19 years of age and vocalists between 17 and 24. The Senior Division application deadline is February 24, 2012 and auditions will be held on March 24, 2012.
Marin's SingersMarin, an association of choral groups and a provider of quality musical education, is now offering a limited number of new member full tuition scholarships to young singers who show the promise of a great talent and demonstrate some financial hardship.
Scholarships are offered for SingersMarin's young women’s groups, Celestial Voices and les étoiles. These advanced level ensembles provide superior vocal and musicianship skills while teaching young women to sing at the highest level of artistic excellence. This program has been in operation since 1996 and has won several local and international awards, including the Marin County Women’s Commission Award for “excellence in serving the community and developing the extraordinary ensemble of young women.” The groups have toured overseas to perform in Austria, South Africa, and other international destinations. Many of the graduates from the program have gone on to have professional careers in the performing arts.
Still looking for fun kids' activities and camps for summer? There's still time to sign up for one of the many classes and programs offered by local parks and recreation departments and other organizations. Find your local recreation resource on our list below. We've also included links to the summer camps offered by the Marin YMCA and the Osher Jewish Community Center.
There are many musicians who perform for children in Marin, but there are only a few who have a cult following among the 0–6 demographic. Susan Zelinsky—AKA Susan Z—is one of those few. You and your child may even have taken one of her classes for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers, or you may have seen her performing her music for grownups at venues throughout the Bay Area.
We caught up with Susan Z and asked her some questions about herself, her music, her family, and living and working in Marin. To find out more about Susan Z, visit her website at www.susanz.com.
Please tell us a little about yourself. What's your background, and how did you get your musical career started?
I always knew I wanted to sing and act when I grew up. My parents were very supportive, signing me up for voice and music lessons as a child, sending me to drama camp and ACT’s Young Conservatory. I learned piano and guitar around 4th grade, choosing to
What is the ideal age for a child to start learning an instrument? The answer is: it depends.
No matter what the instrument your child needs to be mature enough to be able to focus on formal learning—the age of reason, so to speak—even if it’s just for a relatively short period of time. For piano and string instruments, the general consensus seems to be that you can start formal lessons around age five, or even earlier, in a Suzuki program, although some teachers would still wait until age eight or the third grade. For other instruments, waiting a bit longer will actually give your child a better chance of success. The A music school, for example, doesn’t start students on guitar, bass guitar, or drums until they’re age eight, and many teachers recommend waiting until ages nine, ten, or eleven to start lessons on other instruments. According to Dianna Gomez, who is band director at Presidio Middle School and has taught at lower levels, fourth graders have an eighty percent chance of failure. She finds that fifth graders, on the other hand, have about an eighty percent chance of success.