ROCHESTER, N.Y. – It’s Tuesday morning and in Mrs. Grace Adams’ class at Hochstein, three and four-year-olds are making new friends.
They’re waving like leaves in the wind and acting like a rafter of turkeys. They kids love it and so do the teachers.
“When the kids say to me, ‘let’s do that again, can we do that again?’” Adams said. “That to me is the Everest of a music teacher.
This is all part of the Making Music, Making Strides program, a collaboration between Hochstein and the YMCA that over the last four years has been giving hundreds of pre-K students a chance to learn music and movement.
“It makes such a difference in their brain development, in their language development and social skills,” Hochstein Executive Director Peggy Quackenbush said. “And it’s not just about learning music, it’s about developing the whole person.”
It costs $48,000 per year to run the program here with training, staffing and transportation and they’re hoping to expand the program so that all young city YMCA kids can experience the music.
“With all the funding challenges that the public schools have, in Rochester or elsewhere, a lot of the arts programs have been affected by funding cuts,” YMCA Board Member Tim Tindall said. “This is an opportunity outside of the school systems for kids to have arts education.”
Hochstein officials say parents tell organizers their children seem happier, their speech improved, they’re more confident and want to come to school.