My almost 17-month old daughter has a purple maraca that’s recently become one of her most treasured possessions; a sweet memento from our recent visit to a Zumbini class at Miami Children’s Music, Inc., Ashlee Cramer’s new studio at the heart of one of Miami’s newest art districts. We had a wonderful time, and can’t wait to go back!
Ashlee Cramer, the creative force behind Zumbini, has been working in early childhood music and movement education for over 15 years. Having had a career as a professional dancer and performed on stages in cities all over the world, Ashlee came to Miami and sought to use her love of music and dance to benefit children and their caregivers. She’s passionate about what she does, and it shows.
From the moment we walked into the studio, located just off of NE 65th Street and NE 2nd Avenue, we felt welcomed and completely at ease. The studio was bright and spacious, and the children–who ranged in age from 2 months to 4 years–had plenty of room to safely move around and explore. The music was all original, and the class incorporated various aspects of Zumba, combined with the music and educational experience you might expect from an early childhood mommy and me music class. I loved the variety–some songs had us up on our feet and dancing around the room, while others had us seated with percussive instruments or scarves to help us fully engage with the music. But what really made my mama heart soar was watching my sweet little girl gain confidence as she moved further away from my lap in search of her own rhythm.
There are many cognitive, social, emotional, and physical benefits that children receive from the Zumbini program. The music and movement create neural connections and stimulate the brain, while children and their caregivers socially interact within the circle. The varied tempo of the songs elicit different emotional responses, too–faster music lifts the mood and gets everyone moving, while slower or softer music calms and encourages listening. And physically, children use and develop both their gross and fine motor skills through the use of large muscle groups and coordination (clapping, tapping, using instruments, etc). It’s a wonderful way to foster every child’s individual learning style regardless of how they choose to engage; whether they quietly observe, do all the right moves, or wander around the room, they are learning valuable lifelong skills, growing in confidence, and gaining a greater appreciation for music and dance.
In addition to the classes she teaches at her studio, Ashlee offers weekly Zumbini classes in Aventura, Miami Beach, and Pinecrest. The program is designed for children ages 0-4 years and their caregivers, and will quickly become the highlight of your week. It’s even more fun if you sign up with a friend! Visit Ashlee’s website to learn more about Zumbini, view the current class schedule, and sign-up for a class near you.
Beginning in January 2019, Miami Children’s Music, Inc. is excited to offer YOMU, a unique mommy and me program combining yoga and music. The classes will be offered on Thursday mornings and will be taught by creator Cynthia Zak. Ashlee also has plans to host an adult yoga class, and monthly special events for teens and preteens that are specifically designed to foster self-expression through yoga, breathing, discussion, and dance. For more information about these exciting new offerings coming to the studio, follow Miami Children’s Music, Inc. on Facebook and Instagram… you won’t want to miss out!