Fredericksburg Parent

January 2017

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www.FredParent.NET • 21 WRITTEN BY BRENDA SAPANGHILA This is a monthly column featuring winners and nominees of the 2016 FredParent Family Favorite contest. It's a New Year! Did you include improving your health on your resolutions list? Now that you have a goal, you need a plan. American Family Fitness is just the place to help you create one. In 2016, our readers voted American Family Fitness the winner of our Family Favorites category, "Gym/Personal Trainer." It comes as no surprise that this gym lives up to the "Family" part of its name. One of our favorite parts of American Family Fitness has to be the modern KidZone. Here, instructors provide a robust selection of children's classes and activities. You can work out knowing that your children have someone engaging them and they're not simply being watched. American Family Fitness also offers birthday party pack- ages, frequent Parent's Night Outs, an indoor pool, café, metabolic and body composition analysis, group classes, cycling, personal training sessions and more. They even offer free classes for the whole family on Mondays. Check out their website and social media pages for up to date information on events and classes. Website: Facebook: AmericanFamilyFitness Twitter: @amfamfit family favorites MUSIC: Formal lessons being around age 7. "Piano, violin, guitar and ukulele are great starting instru- ments for the younger beginner," says Roberson. For larger brass or woodwind instruments, les- sons begin in fifth or sixth grade. As for voice lessons, there is no correct age to start lessons, but look for instructors who are mindful of imple- menting age-appropriate techniques for younger children who still have developing vocal cords. ACTING/THEATER: "Lessons that involve improvisation, short scenes and creative play are a good option for younger kids age 4-7," says Lane. "If you think your child would be interested, spring break or summer cre- ative arts camps are a good way to try this out," she adds. For more formal acting in the form of plays involving line memorization and structured performances, most children would be ready for this by second or third grade. DANCE: Rudimentary movement-based classes for tod- dlers are great for introducing the music/move- ment connection. Creative moment classes begin at ages 2-3. Beginning at age 4, children may take pre-ballet and other styles of dance that have more structure and focus. FINE ARTS: Toddlers should be encouraged to express them- selves through art from the very start! As Crow- Dolby points out, parents can promote a tot's interest in art with "finger painting, dot markers, large crayons, and setting up art stations at home." Preschool art classes are appropriate for ages 2-5. After that, school-aged children can experiment with other artistic mediums in art classes such as watercolor, sketching and sculpture. When Should Children Start Lessons in the Arts? career path. As Roberson adds, the arts "encourage children through successes and hard work. They can truly have a feeling of accomplishment." Though strides have been made to bring art educa- tion back to the forefront in schools, it's still impor- tant that parents do what they can to encourage artistic expression in all children, particularly those who express an interest in the arts. As Avery points out, any exposure to the arts is beneficial. "Watching dance, listening to classical music and looking at pictures will give them an apprecia- tion for the performing arts," she says. "The skills acquired while studying the arts are not just for the stage; they are for life."

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