Music + Joyful Discovery = Confident Happy Learners
Vision & Mission
The Mini Maestros vision is that every child reaches the primary school gates confident, excited to learn, equipped with basic classroom skills and experience, and pushes the gates open with a skip in their step from the songs in their heart.
The primary aim of Mini Maestros is to create self-reliant, confident and well-rounded learners who are familiar with the classroom experience and prepared for school. We use music and movement to achieve this objective, starting with children from six months of age. We facilitate nurturing spaces to develop the whole child, celebrating their social, cognitive, physical and emotional breakthroughs. We provide the highest quality lesson content, developed by early childhood music education experts and delivered by a team of thoroughly trained big-hearted professional music teachers. As the longest-running and most successful Australian business of its kind, our methods are tried and tested. We are proud to empower generations of confident and engaged learners, who are best placed to succeed in their chosen endeavours.
We were recommended by our Speech Therapist to enrol Charlize into a music group to help with confidence in speaking/singing, and to assist in volume and pitch control with her voice. Her improvement in words and letter pronunciation has come a long way with the help of Mini Maestros. The small groups give her confidence to learn different sounds and project her voice clearly.
Thank you. Katrina
Meet Our Head Office Team
Mini Maestros was founded by Jenny Fogarty (12/3/1950-12/4/2007), a dearly loved and well respected early childhood music education specialist. Jenny passionately believed that music and learning through play were critical tools for childhood growth and development. She worked tirelessly to ensure that as many young Australian children as possible were able to experience the benefits of pre-school music education.
Jenny was born in Adelaide. Jenny’s parents instilled in her a deep sense of community and of community service. Music featured strongly in everything that she was involved with, her beautiful voice being her first instrument.
As a child Jenny taught herself to play the guitar and in her late teens performed classic folk tunes. Jenny trained as a primary school teacher. After teaching at a number of Melbourne primary schools Jenny decided to combine her love of music with teaching and obtained a postgraduate Bachelor of Arts (Music).
It was her desire to find a flexible, family-friendly career that led her in 1984 to teach music at the Vermont South Community House in Melbourne and later at her family home. Jenny wrote her own program using music predominantly from Australian artists and traditional folk songs to introduce the elements of music to very young children in an ordered and practical manner. Within a short time classes had become so popular that she decided to franchise Mini Maestros, giving many others the opportunity to combine a love of music and teaching with the flexibility and rewards of running their own business.
For the next 23 years Jenny continued to develop and expand the Mini Maestros program. In 1994 Jenny commenced training others to present Mini Maestros classes. Three of the first people to use the program had been mothers in Jenny’s private classes. One of these women, Judy O’Neill, continues to teach the program today and is an important mentor and ambassador for the Mini Maestros system.
Jenny’s untimely death aged 57 was deeply felt in the early childhood music community as well as through the vast community of past and present teachers, students and students’ carers, all who had been immeasurably touched by her music education. Jenny was the epitome of a woman juggling career, family and community service and excelling at each. It was impossible to resist her sense of humour accompanied by a deep, infectious chuckle. Her ability to inspire and motivate her students and staff through wit and boundless energy was legendary.
Jenny’s legacy and dreams live on through every Mini Maestros class and are carried by the thousands of children who participate in the program each year.
Jenny’s important work in continuing to develop the program has been carried on by Jennifer Smith, our Music Director and Emma Hart, our Head of Teaching, with assistance from our experienced and passionate teachers. It means that today we have a program of exceptional quality, a program which is outstanding in its field and a program that is taught internationally as well as in Australia.
I have been attending Mini Maestros sessions in Rowville with Kate for 5 years. First with my son and now with my daughter. We love it! Kate is professional and fun and caring with the children (and parents).
The educational benefits I have seen in both my children are fantastic – social skills, independence skills, musical literacy, performance skills, gross motor and fine motor skills, the list goes on. Thank you Kate for your hard work and dedication.
Our Education Program
The Mini Maestros education program has been developed over many years of trial and research. The music literacy component is based on Kodály methodology and repertoire. The influences of the theories of Orff, Dalcroze and Suzuki are also evident. Much of the music is by local Australian composers featuring multicultural influences.
Our education program is sequential. Our babies’ classes are primarily aimed at building an appreciation for music through unconscious learning activities, and help to give the primary care giver confidence to share music with the child. Our toddler classes start to build the child’s knowledge of music, and in our classes for preschoolers the unconscious learning becomes apparent as the children discover the beat and the rhythm in the music, identify high and low sounds on the music staff, become familiar with musical terms, and learn how to read basic music elements, reinforcing concepts learned in class.
Our teachers bring a variety of percussion instruments into the sessions for the children to experiment with. We provide attractive and entertaining props, which stimulate the children’s imagination and keep them engaged in the music-making educational activities.
We aim to have no more than 10 children in each class so that every child receives individual attention.
Parents and carers of our Mini Maestros students are welcomed into the class and participate along with their children. This time together not only allows the parent or carer to spend valuable play time with their child it can also provide the time for the parent or carers to observe their children’s development. Educational sessions are also provided at early learning centres.
Each child attending studio classes receives a Music Book. This book includes the repertoire for the term and gives ideas for enjoyable follow-up activities at home while reinforcing concepts learned in class. In addition to the music book, on first enrolling a child will receive student equipment relevant to their age group to be used in class. For most age groups this includes the child’s own copy of a Mini Maestros CD containing some of the music used in class. Older children receive a bumblebee puppet that is used as a learning aid in all classes. The highest level age group receive a set of chime bars with removable notes which they play in class ensembles.
The Mini Maestros Way
Commitment to Child Safety: all children who come to Mini Maestros have a right to feel and be safe. Nurturing the children who attend our classes is our first priority which means that the children’s welfare is paramount and any form of child abuse is not tolerated. We aim to create a child safe and friendly environment where children feel safe and have fun as they learn.
Children’s rights to safety and participation: Mini Maestros students are encouraged to express their views and make active choices about activities in class. Children attend our classes with their parents or, in the case of an early learning centre, in the presence of other carers. If the parents leave the classroom (and this would only occur in the 4-5 years age group) the teacher will ask and ensure that at least one parent remains in the classroom with the teacher.
Valuing diversity: Mini Maestros values diversity and actively demonstrates this through our repertoire. Mini Maestros welcomes children from all cultural backgrounds to our classes and indeed our repertoire is multi-cultural. Mini Maestros welcomes all children with a disability to our classes. Full participation in our classes depends on the extent to which it is safe for children with a disability and others to participate having regard to their disability.
Recruiting and supporting staff: Mini Maestros has a careful and thorough selection and training process for all staff. The selection process involves a number of interviews and reference checks. All staff must hold a Working with Children Check or equivalent and are required to comply with the Mini Maestros Child Safety Code of Conduct. Our staff are supported throughout their careers by ongoing training, reviews and open communication.
Reporting a child safety concern or complaint: any child safety concern or complaint may be reported to any member of staff or directly to the Music Director at email@example.com or phone 03 9850 5566. Any complaint is thorough investigated and discussed with the complainant (should they wish to do so). Any member of staff must refer any child safety concern or complaint they receive to the Music Director.
Risk Management: the Mini Maestros Occupational Health and Safety Procedure provides for Annual Audits of every Mini Maestros venue, Venue Risk Management Plans and Daily Risk Management Checks. We also have in place an Emergency Management Plan and a Crisis Management Plan.
Confidence to speak in front of a child’s peers and teacher, confidence to participate in a classroom environment, confidence to share time and resources with others and confidence to perform in front of others are critical skills in today’s competitive environment.
Emotional wellbeing is also critical in building resilience, appreciation of the environment in which we live and an ability to reach out to others.
Enhancement and encouragement of a child’s normal development, setting the spark which ignites a child’s need for educational challenge and cementing the building blocks of learning and participation skills are equally vital.
Mini Maestros uses a program of music and joyful discovery to encourage confident happy learners.
A survey of Mini Maestros customers in 2015 found that 98% of Mini Maestros students experience a positive social outcome (such as confidence or group participation), a positive emotional outcome (such as enjoyment of learning or developing a love of music) and/or a positive developmental outcome (such as processing instructions or music skills).
These are skills which set our children up for life. We teach children the skills they need to swim through life, out of the water.
Learning music promotes whole child development as it helps children develop speech and vocabulary, listening skills, motor skills, social skills and cognitive skills.
Music education does not just make children more musical; it unleashes their creative powers.
Mini Maestros is a structured program, but it is this structure that creates a safe platform from which learning can occur through creative exploration into discovery. Mini Maestros aims to give children experiences which will:
- aid their physical development through activities which encourage development of gross and fine motor skills and coordination and relaxation techniques. Each lesson contains many opportunities for children to practise various gross motor skills such as jumping or hopping. Fine motor skills are practised through the use of finger plays with younger children and the playing of percussion instruments with the older children. Children are able to practise the skills introduced at their own level but they have the group support, which encourages them to strive for achievement in all skill areas.
- enhance their emotional development through activities which require emotional expression, role playing, dramatization sharing taking turns and allow children to feel emotional satisfaction through fun, play, wellbeing and achievement in musical activities.
- encourage their intellectual development through activities which will help children develop an understanding of music being a combination of these elements: beat, pitch, dynamics, harmony, melody, rhythm, tempo, tone colour, and form.
- allow them to experience group participation and thereby develop self-control, discipline and the skills of sharing and taking turns. Group participation also provides opportunities where children can experience feelings of success which assists the developing a child’s self-confidence.
- provide opportunities for the creative participation of each child by encouraging children to make musical decisions (e.g. which instrument would be the best to accompany this lullaby?) and to contribute and share ideas in simple and fun improvisation activities.
- relate to their present cultural heritage and future experiences.
Mini Maestros embraces the Australian Early Years Learning Framework guidelines as they reaffirm the foundations of our program.
Mini Maestros provides educational music classes that nurture and extend children’s learning and development. Our sequential, age-specific program employs a strengths-based approach centred around concepts such as ‘learning through play’, ‘continuity of learning’ and ‘high expectations’. These concepts are important principles and practices that underpin the Australian Early Years Learning Framework (Australian EYLF).
Mini Maestros sees children’s learning as integrated and interconnected. As such, our lessons are planned with a wide range of learning outcomes in mind. As well as learning musical skills, our program aims to develop the whole child and, therefore, actively encourages and fosters:
- Language and literacy skills
- Auditory and visual processing
- Social skills
- Gross and fine motor skills
- Inclusion and teamwork
- Verbal and non-verbal communication
- Spatial awareness
- Cultural awareness
Mini Maestros teachers follow detailed lesson plans with specific aims and objectives. Our sequential program means that each lesson builds on the previous one and provides worthwhile, challenging experiences for children that work within their zone of proximal development.
Mini Maestros is a flexible, stimulating and developmentally appropriate program for babies and pre-schoolers. Children learn musical concepts and develop a life-long appreciation for music in a playful environment. Mini Maestros is committed to developing the whole child.