Suzuki Early Childhood Education
The Suzuki ECE program was developed by Canadian Suzuki specialist Dorothy Jones and her daughter Sharon Jones. The philosophy can be explained using the following key concepts – a summary of ideas from Dorothy and Lucy Adeney –Tasker (Australian ECE Program.)
Ability Develops Early
Children begin learning from the moment their senses receive information. Therefore children can listen to and absorb music from 6 months in-utero. Although a young baby cannot speak when born, they immediately begin watching others speak and listening to language. Within a couple of months they begin trying to imitate sounds they hear. This follows with musical ability. Although a child cannot play the drum, they watch, listen, and with a parents help, are guided in the motor skills of hitting a drum. They’re never to young to begin learning.
Every Child Can Learn
Suzuki believed that anyone can learn and enrich their lives with music, and also that everyone should. Music is a natural human expression (the rhythm in our heart beats to the pitch of our spoken language). It allows us to express and experience emotions that language often does not do justice to. Music is essential to our being.
Character First, Ability Second
We believe that whilst it is important to learn the intricacies of musical skill, it is the journey of learning that is just as valuable in life for our children. By building long-term confidence in their own ability to learn, we are developing positive, self-assured and respectful individuals. It is their fine character that ultimately leads to a student’s ability to succeed.
Beautiful Tone, Beautiful Heart
One of the greatest gifts we can give our children is the appreciation of beauty. Learning the notes of a piece of music is only the beginning. Playing the piece sensitively with superb tone is our goal. Played well music awakens the senses. In our classes we encourage the children to hear the beautiful sounds and build their desire to replicate them. We use only quality instruments to help ensure we develop sensitive musicians and ultimately people.
Environment Nurtures Growth
We encourage a calm learning environment where children can absorb sound and experiences without too many verbal instructions. Parents play the Suzuki CD regularly at home resulting in the repertoire becoming familiar and comforting to the students when they hear it in class. Every child develops at their own pace and there is no pressure to perform in our class. A positive experience provides self-confidence for them to try something when they are ready.
Success Breeds Success
Every tiny step of language learning is celebrated by parents. We celebrate every step of music learning and character development and encourage parents to notice (and record) the little things. Small steps set the foundation for future success. If a child experiences success in mastering skills and concepts they learn to strive for them.
Encouragement is Essential
During class parents and children feel a real sense of community as familiarity builds not only between children but with parents and also for parents with their children. A strong community environment nurtures the children but also the parents. Children gain an excellent peer group. Our classes are non-competitive and we all notice and appreciate the little things each child learns.
Children Learn from Each Other
The ECE program encourages wide age groupings. Younger children learn more quickly watching older students, while older children tend to be more settled by the presence of younger babies and they enjoy being the ‘experts’, which is important for the development of self-esteem.