News: House passes NEA funding in Economic Recovery Package

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Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed their version of the Economic Recovery Package by a vote of 244 to 188 which successfully included $50 million in supplemental grants funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)! 

This provision was threatened throughout the House process by opponents of the NEA who questioned its effectiveness in providing economic stimulus. Today, the NEA offered the following statement, “the arts and culture industry is a sector of the economy just like any other with workers who pay taxes, mortgages, rent and contribute in other ways to the economy; and that the National Endowment for the Arts is uniquely positioned to assist in job stimulation for that industry.”

Thanks to the thousands of advocates who contacted their Members of Congress and let them know the importance of maintaining funding for the NEA!
However, our work is not finished yet as the U.S. Senate starts their debate on the bill tomorrow and continues through next week.  The Senate Appropriations Committee did not include an arts jobs funding provision in their version of the bill, but advocates still have an opportunity to change the final outcome.

Please take two minutes to take action and ask your Member of Congress and Senators to support the arts in this legislation.  Americans for the Arts has supplied you with fresh research and key quotes that support this funding — your help in communicating this information to your Member of Congress is critical. 
Please help us continue this important work by becoming an official member of the Arts Action Fund.  Play your part by joining the Arts Action Fund today — it’s free and simple.

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New Class Schedule Ready

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The winter class schedule is up on the website. The online registration should be working also.

Babies Have a Sense of Rhythm


It will be months before they talk, walk or even sit up. But at just a day old, babies have a strong sense of rhythm, say researchers.

Newborns are also sensitive to pitch and melody, they found.

Experts said that introducing a child to music at an early age could enhance these innate musical abilities and also help them learn to talk.

The fledgling musical talent was discovered by Hungarian researchers during a study of more than 100 boys and girls who were only one or two days old.

They played the babies music as they slept and measured their brain activity.

The researchers found that their brains computed changes in beat, tone and melody.

For instance, if a key beat was missed from a rhythmic pattern, the baby’s brain registered the change.

A change in pitch, similar to that between male and female voices, also provoked a reaction.

The Hungarian Academy of Sciences study was part of a threeyear European project on how the brain processes music and other sounds, co-ordinated by Dr Susan Denham, of Plymouth University.

She said: ‘What is perhaps most significant is that not only do babies’ brains register changes in beat, pitch and simple melodic patterns but they do so more or less automatically, as they are fast asleep during these experiments.

‘People come into the world with brains that are wired-up to detect patterns’.

Dr Denham added: ‘A lot of music reflects the rhythms and contents of speech. If you are listening to music you will also probably be more sensitive to speech rhythm.’

From the article “Babies Have a Sense of Rhythm, Which Could be Used to Help Them Develop,” in the British Daily Mail.

Routines


We have many routines in our class, including our Hello Song, Instrument Play Alongs, Story Time, Dancing Time, Clean up Time, Rocking Time, and our Goodbye Song. Routines are essential to foster a sense of stability, cohesion, and overall satisfaction with an experience. They allow children opportunities to develop a sense of connection and belonging to the group, and they provide a sense of comfort and security.
LEARN AT HOME! Which of your child’s daily routines can you infuse with music? Perhaps you can find a favorite song with which to wake your child up each day, make up songs for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, sing a song at bath time, or sing a goodnight song. Even diaper-changing time might be made easier and more pleasant with a favorite song!

Reading Aloud


Reading to a child on a regular basis benefits her in several ways. Reading increases her knowledge of the world, vocabulary, familiarity with written language, and interest in becoming literate. I encourage you to read to your child at home as well as involving her in activities where reading aloud is incorporated (e.g. Kindermusik, preschool, library storytimes). Did you know that the larger the variety of fluent readers a child hears, the more they learn?

Up and Down the Elevator


Even the littlest babies love to play this game. My kids would still be playing if I could still lift the big ones! Lift your little one up slowly over head. Use your voice to slide up as well. Do the same on the way down. Don’t pass up the opportunity in both directions for a peck on the cheek and an “I love you!” This is also a great time to work on the signs for UP and DOWN. Your baby/ child is learning trust as well as up and down in a great multi-sensory fashion.

Try Something New From the Farmer’s Market

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Have you been to the Saturday Farmer’s Market in the Midtown Shopping Center lately? More and more items are available each week. Check it out with the kids tomorrow morning. Take home something new and have a family food experament day!