Rhythm Time turns 21!
When Erin was little I went to all the classes going. Every single one! As a first time Mum, I was keen to experience all the options available and find a class that suited us both. We tried a lot, gave up on a few, and eventually settled on Rhythm Time – a weekly music class at my local village hall. I have very fond memories from Erin’s experience, and made friends in those classes who I am still in touch with today.
(Here’s a flashback to Erin in 2015 – she’s changed somewhat since then!!)
With Neve, going to baby classes has been a little tougher. As our 2nd child, Neve has had to slot more into our existing family routine, and as a result, I haven’t taken her to as many classes as I would have liked. There have been no stay and plays, no swimming lessons, and up until recently, no classes at all.
Now I am back at work, I wanted to find a class that I could take her to every Monday on my day off, so we had some special Mum and Neve time every single week.
When we were asked if we would like to review the Rhythm Time classes with Neve, it didn’t take me long to respond with a resounding yes.
About Rhythm Time
Rhythm Time recently celebrated their 21st Anniversary – meaning they have been providing music and song classes to children across the UK for an impressive 21 years! We were lucky enough to be able to join the Solihull Team at their party week – and had a fantastic time.
For those of you unfaimiliar with the classes – Rhythm Time is a music and singing class, with venues and franchises across the whole of the UK. With classes tailored to every age group from babies to toddlers and pre-schoolers, all lessons are completely age appropriate, with lots of fun and educational activities including music, sound, rhythm and song. Classes are approximately £5 a lesson (depending on term length) and are paid for in advance.
As a company, Rhythm Time have a Gold Accreditation from the Children’s Activities Association (CAA) which is comparable to an outstanding Ofstead report.
We have been attending the Solihull Rhythm Time classes with Neve for half a term, and have recently returned for another half term which will take us up to Christmas. Classes run term time only, having a break for the holidays.
On arrvial, each child is given a sticker with their name on. This not only helps the hosts refer to your child by name (a lovely touch) but helps you get to know all the other babies and toddlers in the class as well!
As Neve is 15 months, we joined the Toddler classes. She is a little younger than some of the others in the group, and has only just started walking, but after discussions with Keeley we felt this group was the most age appropriate to help her development.
Keeley, our class host is friendly and welcoming, and the children really warm to her. She has a very smily face and loads of enthusiasm, and it is great to see an instructor who is quite clearly passionate about what she does.
The class starts with the Hello Song – where Keeley introduces every child in the room by name. This is a lovely way of getting to know everyone if you join halfway through a term or if you are new to the classes. Neve always responds when Keeley sings her name, and I love to watch her bopping along to the rhythm of the music.
The rest of the class varies each week, but with some consistent activities that the children will learn to recognise and become familiar with. These include:
- Arrabella – the friendly Rhythm Time rag doll and the ‘where are you?’ song. Each week Arrabella hides in a different place around the room – the children LOVE trying to spot her, with all of them pointing and squealing with glee as they finally track her down.
- Ratatat – a little rabbit who lives in a hat – he helps the children learn about high and low sounds, and encourages them to put their listening ears on before talking through some different sounds, both loud and quiet.
- What’s in the music box today? – Keeley brings out a box which the children are encouraged to tap on before the big revealing of what’s inside – the contents become the theme of the class, and could be an instrument, a scarf, a sensory toy or a sound making item.
- Rhythm Patterns – Keeley brings out a microphone and encourages children to come up and repeat different patterns such as “ba bah bah” – Lots of the children are very shy, but they are rewarded and clapped for having a go. It’s the taking part that counts, and it is amazing to see how their confidence grows as the weeks go by!
The latter part of the class is where Neve really comes into her own – when the instruments are bought out to play with! There is a really wide range of intstruments, and they can sing and clap and tap along whilst music plays in the background before passing them to the left and swapping for another item – from a tambourine, cymbals, rattle, or wooden sticks, to Neve’s absolute favourite – the drum! There are also on occasion hoops, scarves and sensory items which are used to form part of an activity or song.
At just 15 months, Neve is not yet a confident walker, so I do have to collect and put away some of the things that the children are normally encouraged to do themselves, but it isn’t a big issue. I love the little song we sing as the children return all their instruments to the basket, and often use this at home when encouraging the girls to tidy up! It really works!! 🙂
Overall we have REALLY enjoyed our Rhythm Time experience to date, and I have just signed up for the remainder of the term, which speaks for itself. The classes have now become part of our Monday routine, and Neve’s little face lights up when we get in the carpark, as she has learned to recognise what’s coming and looks forward to her little bop on the floor mats! 🙂
I would not hesitate to recommend Rhythm Time to anyone who is looking to introduce their baby or toddler to music and singing, and it is the perfect class to bond with your little one whilst having lots of fun.
- Neve is really gaining confidence – crawling and walking into the centre of the circle to watch Keeley with the taught elements of the class.
- Neve really enjoys the sessions and is visibly happy when she is there- gets excited as soon as we get in the carpark!
- Lots of dancing and instruments
- Repetition helps reinforce key messages and helps the class seem familiar
- The classes are an opportunity to mix with other mums and children of a similar age, which is really iimportant in those early days as a new Mum!
- At £5 a class, I feel the classes are good value for money – although the time passes very quickly, they are fun filled and jam packed.
- From our experience with Erin, as a child gets older sometimes their attention starts to wane and they don’t want to sit still quite so much. As a result, sometimes parents struggle to keep their children as engaged as the rest of the group. I would say the suitability of the Rhythm Time classes really depends on your child’s preferences as they get older. I stopped Erin’s when she was 2.5 as she needed more of a physically active class.
You can learn more about Rhythm Time and find a venue near you on the Rhythm Time website.
*Disclosure – we were provided with a free half term of lessons in return for our review. I have since gone on to purchase another half term at my own expense, and will continue taking Neve for the foreseeable future!*