Learn More about Step 1

The Philosophy

Our Twinkle Toes classes are based on the Suzuki Early Childhood Music Education (SECE) developed by Dr. Shinichi Suzuki of Japan and Dorothy Jones of Canada.

Dr. Suzuki observed that children learn from the environment around them, and have an incredible ability to acquire complex skills such as language and music. He advocated introducing children into a music-making community so that they will learn a love of music and be supported in their musical journey.

The seven fundamental concepts of the Suzuki philosophy are:

  1. Every Child Can Learn
  2. Ability Develops Early
  3. Success Breeds Success
  4. Environment Nurtures Growth
  5. Children Learn from Each Other
  6. Parental Involvement is Critical
  7. Encouragement is Essential

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Benefits of STEP 1: Suzuki Early Childhood Education


Each participant (including parents!) enjoy learning new and exciting skills.


Small children love repetition and feel safe in knowing what will come next. The set order of the songs helps children develop patience and self-discipline to wait their turn.


Story time at the end of each class promotes literacy and interest in reading.

Enjoyment in Repetition:

Just like learning to walk or talk, children thrive on repeating the songs and actions until they are mastered.
Learn to Listen:

Children learn to become active and discerning listeners through these songs.

These skills are appreciated by parents and educators alike when the student is older.

Singing and Movement:

Young children learn about their environment primarily through movement. Activities are designed with this in mind.

Singing is a wonderful community activity and is the best way to develop a musical ear.

Sense of rhythm:

Many activities encourage a steady beat and children learn early, by imitating their parents, and then learn to keep a beat on their own.


There is a great emphasis on counting in activities and students may learn to count in several languages (depending on the diversity of the class).

Learning to interact with the teacher:

There are many non-threatening opportunities for the child to willingly go to the teacher to perform a desired activity. This promotes independence and willingness to learn.
Socialization through music:

All over the world music is a social activity and children in this class learn to love music and make friends from the beginning.

Each child has a turn with the drum or other instrument, and the students enjoy watching their peers and waiting for their turn! Parents enjoy watching the development of all children in the class.

Many other skills and benefits from bringing music early into a child’s and a family’s life.

Skills Developed

The class includes:

  • Singing
  • Rhythm
  • Creative movement
  • Counting in multiple languages
  • Basic musical concepts
  • Story time
  • Free time with the other children
  • Keepsake journal for parents

STEP 1: also develops important life skills such as:

  • Learning to approach a teacher
  • Taking directions from teacher
  • Patience
  • Taking Turns
  • Confidence in performing short, age appropriate solos
  • Following a group
  • Learning from other children
  • Learning by observation and experimentation

Early Childhood Education Skills Development List

This list was developed by Dorothy Jones, co-founder of SECE, and lists the skills she has seen develop through 20 years of teaching and observing children 0-3 in her classes:

Listening/Sequencing Skills:
1. Follows simple directions
2. Listens carefully
3. Recognizes common sounds
4. Repeats a sequence of sounds

Vocabulary Skills:
1. Acquires language

  1. Communicates
  2. Memorizes

Understanding Size:
1. Big sound, small sound (musical terms piano vs forte; crescendo vs. decrescendo)

2. Big movement, small movement

Growth in:

  1. Creativity
  2. Sensitivity
  3. Inner Discipline

Pitch Skills:
1. High, low
2. Up, down
3. Fast, Slow
4. Left, right
5. Playing falling 3rds on xylophone
(falling 3rds are an easy natural sing song interval)

Number skills:
1. Counts orally 1-10
2. Counts fingers.
3. Knows finger numbers.

Motor Skills:
1. Walks to music
2. Jumps to music.
3. Hops to music
4. Marches to music.
5. Runs to music
6. Claps to music.
7. Passes ball to music
8. Can do finger plays
9. Crosses the body mid-line (xylophone)

Social- Emotional Development Skills:
1. Meets the teacher without shyness
2. Can move away from parent comfortably
3. Maintains self-control
4. Shares with others
5. Develops independence

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