Over the past few years there have been a sudden growth in the amount of fun classes you can take part in with your children as the government have tried to encourage new mums to bond with their children in this way. I have done baby massage and rhythm time and enjoyed them both and now I have started Jo Jingles too and both me and my baby love it!
Jo Jingles involves music and movement and is all about having fun and learning some basics too. Classes vary depending upon the age group involved as the ages it targets are from 3months to 5 years so obviously huge differences developmentally depending upon the age of your child/children.
The aim of Jo JIngles is to have fun and to stimulate children. It tries to have an educational front too such as songs which involve counting and clapping. It also provides the mother with some fun games/songs which she can play whilst interacting with the child outside of the Jo Jingles class and does offer DVDs and CDs for in the home too.
Jo Jingles classes started in 1991 and have become very popular since. The first ever Jo JIngles class being in Beaconsfield and then soon after in Maidenhead. Jill Thomas was the founder of this intitiative and has developed it now to over a hundred franchises which are all over the UK and have just branched out to Ireland. Her aim was to try to get children exposed to the fun and joys of music early on in their lives before school/preschool.
Classes vary depending upon the age group and range but they tend to include singing, actions, the use of musical instruments such as rattles and shakers and things to bash, rhythm and dance and the ability to hold a tune. The Jo JIngles doll- a bright red clothed yellow haired boy accompanies the lessons. Some finger puppets and bubbles are also used to add to the interactive element.
Where can I go to take part?
By visiting the Jo Jingles website: www.jojingles.co.uk you are able to search the franchises to see whichs is best suited for you. There are now 500 different centres in the UK. There are also some classes in your local Sure Start Centre but you have to keep your eyes peeled as for when they will be attending and for which age range.
How much are classes?
At the sure start centres they are free but the individual centres not funded by the government charge £5 a session which seems to be the going price for children's classes.
How long are classes?
They are usually 30 minutes to 45 minutes depending upon the age range- the younger children's class is a little shorter due to their attention spans and frequent feeding routines! They tend to run in a series of 6 weeks but you are able to keep going to them.
My personal experience?
I thoroughly enjoyed attending this with my 4 month old baby. We sang about 6 different songs, used a teddy for actions, had finger puppets, bubbles and she was lying down at one point then sat on my knee for another so there was lots and lots of interaction and things going on. Afterwards she was really relaxed and laid back and even slept for an hour which is a rarity during the day! She was definitely stimulated and I really enjoyed myself.
I would definitely recommend this activity for you if you want something fun and interactive to do with your baby. It is really enjoyable and I think if my baby could talk she would say so too! I don't know what the classes are like for older babies and toddlers but I can only imagine that as teh baby becomes more interactive that teh classes become more fun!
I also have seen that Jo JIngles run special parties too although I don't know anything about this personally so perhaps it would be a different idea to hold one of these for your children's birthdays if you're looking for something slightly different to do!
I have not attended the Jo Jingles music classes, I first became aware of this UK wide franchise when my daughter went to a Jo Jingles party and for a time every other party I attended seemed to be one, in the end I too had to arrange one myself.
To do this I had to start off on the website (I think if you attend the classes you would just ask whoever runs the class), and clicked on parties in the menu selection on the right. The page this takes you to advises you to find your local representative. I made contact, we agreed a date and discussed the price which was £70 for 2 hours (this was 3-4 years ago so price may well have changed), payment was to be made on the day.
The party organiser brings a sticker for each of the children and as parent I had to write their names on in biro this seemed quite fruitless as the chances of being able to read it seemed slim, however I complied. She also brings her own stereo, CD's and all of the toys / instruments that are required. The theme of the party being to sing along and do actions to songs with or without aids as instructed.
There was a spider one - which involved having to wear a black fluffy spider glove - cute I thought but my daughter wouldn't put it on. I would suggest if there are any animals your child doesn't like to ask for these to be left out.
As parent to the birthday girl I was also required to perform at the front - infact this would have been Daddy but he was recovering from a hernia op the previous week so it fell to me. At others I have seen Dads dragged from the sides of village halls to participate at the front - be warned.
The finale was a giant parachute which is lifted up and down to music - parental assistance necessary at a young age to keep the momentum going, it started with the girls having to sit under then the boys, mums etc, I have to say the wind rush under those things is amazing. Then we all had to stand and hold the edge of the parachute while loads of small toys and balls were piled on, the can can music started and this parachute had to be moved in time with the aim of getting all the toys off. There were toys flying everywhere and parents ready to collapse at the end - it was really funny.
And afterwards - the children just ate quietly - a true sign they were worn out.
The party organiser held the childrens attention and controlled them, parental participation is going to be necessary if the party is for very small ones, represents greaat value for money and I have always enjoyed attending them.
According to their website Jo Jingles is the "the leading provider of structured and interactive music and movement classes with an educational slant for children from 6 months to 5 years of age".
Jo Jingles provides music lessons that are 45 minutes long. I had been to other providers' sessions with my first daughter (notably Monkey Music), and whilst I think 6 months is realistically quite young for these classes, the idea is good. Children like music, and I think for their speech development singing is an excellent thing to do. I have sung to my children from day 1, and we often sing together in the car, our tastes these days having gone from nursery rhymes to Abba.
I attended Jo Jingles classes for a term with my daughter, but despite the glowing testimonials on the website I am afraid to say I don't think these are the best music classes there are. The main problem for me was the 45 minutes of the class - it was just too long, half an hour would have been better, by half an hour I was bored silly. I would have gladly got up and run round willy-nilly with the toddlers most of whom had peaked after half an hour too.
In a class they do aim to do a range of activities from static singing to walking around and using instruments. The singing ranges from with a CD to just voice, with some songs being action songs. From a teaching point of view they have quite clear rules and boundaries and routines and they do follow themes and the teacher we had did try and explain what we were doing and why.
I just found there was too much sitting and banging a tambourine with my daughter who was just over 1 at the time, I quite often found myself thinking we might as well have just put a cd on at home and banged a saucepan there. To be fair maybe my daughter was just a bit young and maybe the classes for older children are better, but I found it was too expensive for what it was at over £4 per session (I would imagine more in London). They did let you do a trial but there was no pay as you go possibility. For me the classes just weren't varied enough for me to find 45 minutes enjoyable, though other mums and dads did seem to enjoy them. My daughter moderately enjoyed the class, but I do know of other children who love the classes apparently, I am afraid I just couldn't stick it out to find out if my daughter would have loved it later.
I did also find, I am afraid to say, that this franchise was pushier than the norm on merchandise, though this could have just been my teacher. Various CD's are available on the website at www.jojingles.com and were often on offer at the classes. They also did a "sponsored sing a long" for Children in Need which took place in the class - I didn't necessarily want to do this activity as I would have found asking relatives/friends for money so my child could sing "twinkle twinkle" embarassing, I don't think this should have taken place in the class. I ended up finding the Jo Jingle doll who featured prominently in the lessons, presumably for the children to identify with just a tad annoying, and eventually though I didn't give up the idea of a music class I have switched to another provider and I now enjoy the class I go to.
You can go to a trial class, so if you are thinking of going to Jo Jingles and I haven't put you off then I would advise you do this before signing up. When you have a younger baby these kind of classes can be invaluable for the mum for getting out of the house purposes, I suppose with a second child you are just a bit more picky about classes you go to as you have less time and probably think more about how you spend money. To be fair this a franchise system so maybe the experience varies with the teacher. You can find out what classes are on in your area on the website.
There is probably a reason why Jo Jingles is so successful so I would still say give it a go if you have a child and you think they would like it, but I am afraid it was not for us.
Jo jingles is a singing and music class designed for babies and toddlers. I paid £3 a class when I attended but that was a year ago. There is no registration fee.
The class starts with a welcome song with Jo Jingle doll. The songs are backed up by CD so don't sound too bad.
They take Babies from 6 months although I took my son when he was 5 months old as I felt he was ready. Dependant upon the area they move up to classes usually up to school age.
They play some songs every week and then a few new ones so there is variety but familiarity.
Each song they have different musical instruments to play or with different actions. The Little ones are encouraged to come and pick there own instrument and put them back. They are sat on mats but there are many wondering and crawling around.
The classes last forty five minutes long, which is long enough.
The group always finishes with the goodbye song and Jo goes round and gives all the babies and toddlers a cuddle.
My son enjoyed these classes and went when he was about ten months old and we only left as we moved away. I always found the group lively moved at a fast enough pace that the babies didn't get bored.
I have been to other singing classes and have not enjoyed any as much as Jo jingles.
Jo jingles also sell back up merchandise, my son had the mini Jo jingles doll which helped and a CD.
There is more information and a local class finder on there website. www.jojingles.co.uk