Baby/Toddler & Parent
Enrichment Center

Norwell, MA & New for July 2024 … Pembroke, MA!


Benefits of Music for Babies and Toddlers

by Kim Menzel • June 24th, 2021

Why Take Your Child to A Music Class at Over the Moon?

Here at Over the Moon we are excited to teach Rock it Baby and Rock it Toddler to babies and young children.  These classes are so much fun and offer amazing bonding opportunities for children and their caregivers.  But did you know that our music classes are especially designed by a child development teacher?  Read on to learn about the many ways our music programs can benefit your child.

Music comes very naturally to kids.  Our children wiggle and sway to the music long before they walk and run.  Listening to music actually activates every part of the brain and influences how brain signals flow.

Music helps improve speech, builds body awareness, boosts understanding of emotions and even releases ‘feel good’ hormones like oxytocin while suppressing ‘toxic’ hormones like cortisol.

Every music class at Over the Moon incorporates  lap bounces, freeze dances, instrument play and scarf play.  Each of these components provide invaluable developmental benefits!

Lap Bounces–  

Lap bounces are so much fun and excellent for bonding and giggle time.  But did you know lap bounces also strengthen core muscles and help little ones learn ‘up’ and ‘down’ ‘slow’ and ‘fast?’  Children also get to feel a steady beat in their whole bodies while their caregivers gently bounce them which helps boost their understanding of rhythm.

Freeze Dance-

Freeze dances are one of the most popular parts of our music class.  Whether the child is able to dance and ‘freeze’ himself or be held by a caregiver while they ‘freeze’ there are so many benefits.  Freeze dances teach listening skills, the ability to concentrate on one sound while tuning out ambient noise, self regulation and most importantly- to stop when prompted- an essential safety skill!

Instrument Play-

We use a variety of instruments at Over the Moon.  Bells, rhythm sticks, maracas and drums are all so much fun to play together!  Instrument play builds fine and gross motor skills, teaches cause and effect, and teaches patience and perseverance.  Plus it is so fun to play instruments with other kids and learn to corporate, take turns and be part of a team!

Scarf Play- 

When the scarves come out at Over the Moon lots of our little ones put the scarves over their heads right away in anticipation of a rousing game of peek a boo!  Scarves are amazing for tactile sensation for babies as well as building eye tracking skills.  Dancing with scarves helps children express themselves while dancing and that peek a boo game  is not just fun it’s also teaching object permanence and cause and effect!

This is just a taste of all of the fun things that encompass a music class at Over the Moon.  Being in a classroom setting, dancing with peers, and celebrating with bubbles at the end is so fun for our kiddos.  Every class is carefully designed by the instructor to boost development but also boost laughter, fun and friendship.  We hope you will join us!!

Tips for Homeschooling Toddlers and Preschoolers

by Kim Menzel • December 10th, 2020

I worked in education for over ten years but when covid came and our family made the difficult decision to homeschool my own kids and nephews (ages almost 6, 5, 4.5 and almost 4) it was daunting.  I threw myself into research and reading – along with lots of trial and error.

I would love to share what worked and what didn’t work for me during our homeschool journey as an educator, but most importantly as a mom who has been where you are.  

Firstly and most importantly, I want to assure you that your kids are going to be okay. I hear a lot of anxiety from parents about their kids being behind academically but please remember practically the entire world is in the same boat. Teachers know this and are ready to meet your kids where they are when they return to school. Even for the kids who are in-person or doing  hybrid  schooling, this still isn’t a typical school year.  There are reduced hours, as well as  stretches of closures and restrictions that make this year incredibly unique and challenging.  Kids are remarkably resilient- especially our littlest ones-  and our primary goal needs to be taking care of our kids social and emotional needs.  Teachers understand this, they really do. 

I know that we are all in different situations with different time challenges. Perhaps you have an older child in school or distance learning, maybe you are still working yourself.  Maybe you have a baby or toddler underfoot.  We can troubleshoot all of these scenarios and I would love to be a resource to help you make homeschooling as successful as possible for your family’s unique needs. I’ve put together a short list of tips that made things easier for me this past year. I hope they are helpful to you, and I encourage you to reach out with other ideas, any questions, or just to connect with another parent who understands. 

1. Playing classical music in the background during the day can be really calming and soothing to our kids.  I was skeptical when I read this can be helpful but playing Bach or Tchaikovsky really helped to create a calm and creative environment. Ask Alexa to play “The Four Seasons,” by Vivaldi and melt into it.

2. It can be very beneficial to present your learning area in an inviting way.  Educators talk about creating ‘invitations to play’ to draw children in. Take the play dough out and make a face with some dried beans.  Arrange the worksheets in a pleasing way with colorful crayons visible. Put a few of the Magnatiles together on the table.  Make the environment welcoming and kids should jump right in.

3.  One thing that covid cannot take away from us are the changing of the seasons. Children love to learn about things like hibernation, days getting colder and shorter, upcoming holidays, and weather patterns.  Kids love rhythm and predictability so use the rhythm of nature in your activities.  Make paper snowflakes, decorate autumn leaves, use flowers found in the garden to glue to paper to make art work.  

4.  I do feel like I have a greater understanding of my own kiddos learning styles from spending this time with them.  Learning is important but figuring out HOW someone learns best is invaluable.  Some of us didn’t figure out our learning styles until high school or beyond, but one of the unexpected gifts of this challenging time is the opportunity  to observe our children engaged in learning for ourselves. The three main learning styles are visual, auditory and kinesthetic (movement based).  Take this time to observe what kind of learner you think your child is.  My youngest child and my youngest nephew are both kinesthetic learners so I found that having very active learning activities available was key for them.  Follow your child. Pinterest is an excellent resource for lots of engaging and creative learning ideas!

5.  Have fun!  If your child is rolling their eyes at learning the Aaa sound then stand up and have a dance break!  Read your child’s cues and try not to force an activity that isn’t working or doesn’t match their energy level.  Choose activities that are interesting to you AND to your child!

Most of us never intended to homeschool and stay home for months on end.  This is a challenging time and ending your day with a bath, a glass of wine, and some Netflix is also really important!  Take care of you and be gentle with yourself.  Connect with other parents.  Kids are resilient- we will all get through this, and there is a whole tribe of us who have your back and are cheering you on!

Baby Sign Language

by Kim Menzel • February 3rd, 2020

How Learning Sign Language Benefits your Baby

At Over the Moon, you will see us instructors pairing our speech with sign language during our classes. We also offer a Sign Language class for babies and their caregivers.  Many people think of sign language only as an alternative method of communication for people who are deaf, hard of hearing or nonverbal. But it is actually quite beneficial to teach typically developing babies sign language as well! Read on to learn three reasons why learning sign language can be enriching for all babies and their caregivers.

1. Sign language boosts speech and language development.
We often hear the concern that teaching babies sign language will slow down speech development. Actually the opposite is true! When babies learn a spoken language (like English) paired with some sign language, they are using both sides of their brain while learning new words. The more pathways we create when learning, the more places in our brain we are establishing to retrieve the word later. In other words, using both sides of the brain makes for stronger memory and recall! Evidence shows that learning sign can boost IQ, accelerate emotional development, strengthen fine motor skills and hand eye coordination and help with early literacy skills.

2. Sign language can reduce frustration for our kiddos.
When we teach our babies basic signs we are giving them a way to communicate their needs months before they are able to express themselves through speech. A baby can sign for ‘milk’ as early as 8 months but may not be able to say the word milk until several months later. While other babies rely on crying to communicate that they are hurt, hungry, or thirsty, babies who learn sign can tell their caregivers what they want while also boosting their language skills!

3. Quality Bonding Time
Sign language classes provide a great outlet for babies to bond with their caregivers. Over the Moon’s sign language classes offer a knowledgeable instructor, fun curriculum and a community of caregivers all eager to learn sign and to connect with their babies.   It is a wonderful place to create precious memories, and this sweet time can be invaluable for babies and the ones who love them. 

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