By Anna Guido
Children singing songs, rafting down the Little Miami River and learning Ohio history may actually be helping themselves become more proficient at math and science.
"Children learn through their body; and if you can engage the whole body, you are engaging the entire child musically," said Amanda Curell, owner and instructor of Miss Amanda's Music Garden, located at Calvary Episcopal Church in Clifton.
Today, Curell will take students and their families and friends on a river rafting journey as part of the school's summer music education program. Along the way, rafters will beach at a portage to hear a Native American flute player and to hunt for trilobites, Ohio's state fossil.
Studies have shown that music education dramatically increases early brain development and overall academic performance.
One of the most important studies linking music and intelligence is the Shaw/Rauscher Report, conducted in 1997 by the University of California-Irvine. Study results showed that music education enhances abstract reasoning skills necessary for learning math and science.
Curell said her program capitalizes on what is known about the effects of music on early child brain development, and one of her goals is to strengthen children's natural affinity for music.
Fourteen families are expected to participate in today's rafting trip, including Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra Associate Conductor John Morris Russell and his 4-year-old son, Jack. "Music teaches much more than music," Russell said. "It teaches self discipline, sensitivity, teamwork - these are the types of things we're trying to create in our society to make good citizens."
Anne Wallace, a Cincinnati child psychologist, is planning to take her two children - Ellie, 5, and David, 2 - on the trip. "I have a real love for music appreciation and nature, and Amanda incorporates those two things wonderfully," Wallace said.
Curell opened her school last fall and offers classes to children up to age 9. Enrollment is about 100. Curell has an undergraduate degree in folklore/mythology from Harvard and is seeking a master's degree in Montessori education from Xavier.
About the school
Miss Amanda's Music Garden school, which serves children up to age 9, is broken into three terms - summer, fall and winter/spring.
Average length of sessions is 12-15 weeks (with classes held once a week). Tuition varies depending on age of child. Fall rates have not been determined. An open house will be held 1-6 p.m. Sept. 6.
For information, call Amanda Curell at 221-SING (7464).
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