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Pre-school harmony

Song and dance gives children a head start, says Ann Martin

It's no secret that pre-school children have always enjoyed singing and dancing, but it takes a special sort of person to actually harness that enthusiasm.With two small children, Gill Thomas was looking for ways to combine her family commitments with a career - now she is the brains behind Jo Jingles, one of the country's leading pre-school music and singing schools with more than 30 flourishing franchises.

Some of her most successful franchisees are combining parenthood with running classes, finding the term-time only commitment ideal. The franchise formula can be very flexible. One group is run as a job share by two friends, one by a single mother and another by a former policeman who felt his anti-social work hours meant he did not seeenough of his own children.

Classes take place in local halls and provide an introduction to music, singing and movment with the emphasis on informality and fun.

Gill Thomas reckons it is never too soon to start learning music. She notes that music and singing can develop children's personal and social skills by encouraging co-operation and participation, as well as developing motor and auditory skills.

Jo Jingle produces a variety of programmes developed by experienced teachers for nursery and school age children. They cover basic notation, pitch, tempo, dynamics and orchestral instruments. The package for nurseries and schools also includes visuals, props and homework sheets.

Jo Jingles will be giving musical demonstrations at the Education Show every day at noon. stand EY84

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