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WATERLOO — Kittrell Early Childhood Center is providing music therapy in some of its classrooms this spring through a Waterloo Schools Foundation innovative learning grant.

Music therapy is the clinical and evidenced-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals. The grant “Responding with Rhythm: Learning, Coping, and Social Skills with Music Therapy” provides funding to do the sessions Friday mornings for a half hour each in the classrooms of Jenn Holden and Kim Henning until May 11.

Group sessions include experiences with instruments, props and music all adapted for each child’s ability level. The project objective is for students to increase skills across domains such as academic, physical, social and emotional. The focus is on developing school readiness and social skills like self-regulation and an ability to build relationships.

Students also increase small motor development as they manipulate instruments and props.

Henning, a special needs teacher, said in a news release that staff will be watching closely to see if the sessions are effective.

“We will know if the integration of music therapy was successful for social emotional development if all students are more engaged and participating in group times, negative behaviors have decreased across the day and students are integrating skills learned in music therapy sessions across settings by the final music therapy session,” she said.

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