Preschoolers in Winnipeg love to learn about and play instruments through the Little Miracles music program!

For 6 years now St Johns Presbyterian Church has been running a free preschool music program in Winnipeg called Little Miracles.

"We started with an idea that we wanted to do more outreach in our community we were already doing several things but they were not weekly or monthly... we felt the real need to, on a more regular basis," says Ann Brough, a coordinator of the Little Miracles program at St John's.

Joanne Diplock, the music director at St Johns Presbyterian had the idea to start this program at the same time as Ann, and a few men in the church had started dreaming about consistent community outreach possibilities. Brough explained this beginning of the program as, "just divine intervention."

Diplock says, "I've been teaching piano for 45 years. . . I had really started to notice that the children who had had early childhood music training had really developed some essential musical skills that had really become ingrained in them." 

"This is a very expensive program if you go anywhere else in the city," says Brough, "but is completely out of reach of most young families, particularly in our area with is in North Main, so they get the benefit of a really excellent high-quality program," in an area of the city that may not otherwise have a program like this.

The quality of the program is evident in the tools and philosophy they use, "for the most part, we try to use real musical instruments that produce beautiful sounds and a beautiful tone . . . the program is loosely based after Suzuki Early Childhood and something that Dr. Suzuki said is 'beautiful sounds, beautiful hearts'."

"You never know what is going to appeal to the child," said Diplock explaining all the different instruments, games, and activities the program includes.

"We have also seen a couple of times that children are here before they are born," explained Diplock "as their ears start to work at four months before their birth . . . we have seen them as early as seven or eight months (after birth) start drumming," 

Every Monday morning the group of some of the 22 kids enrolled, as well as their caretakers begin with music. At 9:30 the groups start with some familiar songs and games then a couple of times a month a guest musician will teach the kids and their caretakers about their instrument.

After the musical section of the morning, the kids get a snack made by one of the volunteers. This snack is always themed and very impressive including assorted fruit and homemade goodies.

Lastly, the whole room is transformed into a play space to work on some of the children's larger motor skills. Every Toy you could imagine has its place in the church and for the children who are artistically driven, there is a new craft every week.

Some of the kids shared their favorite parts of the day.

Lauren, one of the preschoolers says she loves to dance as play with the shakers. All the preschoolers were ready to listen and play with the instruments, ready to explore the drums, bagpipes, shakers, and resonators.

If you want your kids to experience the benefits of a musical education check out the St Johns Presbyterian Church website to learn about all of their other music education locations.