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Kinderman: Press

Kinderman to receive Howie Award - March 24th, from the Howard County Arts Council.

John Taylor to Receive a 2011 Montgomery County Arts

and Humanities Council Executive’s Award for Excellence

 

On October 24th, artists, patrons, and organizations that forward the Arts and Humanities in Montgomery County will convene for the 1oth annual County Executive's Awards for Excellence in the Arts and Humanities event.  Held at the Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, MD at 7:00pm, this is one of the most prestigious honors conferred by the county. The award recognizes individuals and organizations that have significantly contributed to the enhancement of surrounding communities through the arts and humanities. John Taylor aka the Kinderman will receive an award for Excellence in Education.

 

 Three-time National Capital Region Emmy Award winner John Taylor, is nationally recognized for his innovations in educating, entertaining, and inspiring the imaginations of thousands of children, teachers and parents over the past 5 decades.  Kinderman has been honored  by numerous organizations, including, the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), the National HeadStart Association, and the Griots’ Circle of Maryland, for his innovative work and approach in educating children. A Master Teacher at the Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts, Kinderman's approach is brought to life by incorporating movement, dance, rhyme, song, adventure, learning games, and stunning visuals into an interactive experience.

 

The event is free and open to the public, dress business casual, complimentary parking at the Complimentary parking provided in the Grosvenor-Strathmore Metro garage. For more information please visit http://creativemoco.com/executives-awards. For more about the Kinderman visit www.kinderman.us.

 
John "Kinderman" Taylor performs at Dorsey's Search Village as part of Columbia's 40th anniversary celebration. Each village has its own school, community pool and shopping center that have become the focus of civic life for residents.
Kids + Summer = Fun

By Jeanne Maglaty
Friday, July 7, 2006; Page WE25

This is a fun story for kids. It's not filled with jokes and silly pictures -- its subject is fun: where to find it and how to have it. As schools were letting out in June, Weekend and KidsPost asked our young readers to tell us what they were doing this vacation for summer recreation. Today we share some of the correspondents' comments.

A lot of young letter writers described beach vacations, mostly on the Eastern Shore but also at leisure retreats from Fair Haven Beach on Lake Ontario to Kiawah Island, S.C. Favorite activities were swimming, taking a nap on the beach, crabbing, canoeing, building sand castles, going to lighthouses and small museums, shopping on the boardwalk, flying kites, playing volleyball and riding boogie boards.


And we didn't stop with our young readers' feedback. We asked Weekend's critics, who are knowledgeable about music, movies, art and food, for hot kid tips. Then we contacted some local people in the know: a fun-loving school principal, children's entertainers, an art teacher, cooking teacher, even D.C. United soccer player Freddy Adu, who himself was a kid not long ago.

Here are the best suggestions, all in the Washington region and based on personal experience and preference. Use this feature for the next two months. Live it up. The start of the new school year always creeps onto the calendar too soon.

John Taylor
The Kinderman, Columbia

This 70-year-old children's entertainer, who sings, tells stories, dances and uses puppets, suggests that children do what he does: Put on a show. He's booked every day this summer, including a 10-stop tour of D.C. public libraries. Children can entertain in their own back yard by gathering a group of friends, rehearsing a story such as "The Three Little Bears" and performing it for adults, Taylor says.

If it's hot, have a "rain party" outside, he says, using a garden hose.

If they want to go somewhere, kids accompanied by an adult can ride a public bus to the end of a route and back. The suburban bus routes of Columbia are ideal for such an adventure.

No one has ever convinced the Kinderman that children need money to have fun.
WRBS Photo Album

Photos: Franklin Graham Festival (page 2)

Saturday was the day for kids and youth at Camden Yards. The morning got started with KIDZFEST, a celebration for children with Kinderman John Taylor and Bibleman.
John Taylor, known to kids and parents as "The Kinderman," entertains the crowd at Artscape.

Jul 14, 2001
The Adventures of KinderMan -
A New Kind of Superhero dances his way into kids hearts.

Superman protects the world from evil villains. Spiderman blasts the bad guys. Batman rescues Gotham City. But who's that figure in the derby hat, orange suspenders, bright green bow tie and rainbow cummerbund?
Meet KinderMan, superhero of song, dance and rhyme.

A one-man entertainment machine, he can scarcely speak without bursting into rhyme to make a point, clapping his hands for emphasis and grinning from ear to ear.

All visitors to his house in a Baltimore suburb get a V.I. P. welcome, and I am no exception. The door swings open as I drive up and there he is, smiling and stretching his hands to the sky. "Goood morning!" he yells.

KinderMan, a.k.a. John Taylor, performs live shows for 1,000 children a week at sites throughout the country. "Peace in the Hood," for example, teaches children to work together in their
community. In the Baltimore area, his Emmy-Award winning children's program brings his wondrous repertoire to the TV screen. He also coaches more than 5,000 teachers annually in his technique, seeking to spread his simple message nationwide.

He's not just teaching colors and nursery rhymes; KinderMan uses his expression and imagination to encourage a sense of self-worth, of belonging.

"People want attention; kids need it more than anything," Taylor says,
adding that kids who can't draw positive attention will work for negative
attention. "The arts are an easy way to give positive attention. Kids want to belong to someone or something. I make them belong to the arts. I invite
them to express
themselves. It's a healthy thing," he says.

a spirited tradition

KinderMan's technique stems from a 5,000-year-old tradition in Nigeria where each tribe had a teacher, the leader. The tribe sat in a circle and learned songs and dances to celebrate the sunnier aspects of life. Its members sang and danced daily to carry the positive spirit forward with them. A similar thing occurs for many people when they go to church ¬they become filled with awe and ardor. KinderMan uses his art to fill children with spirit, helping them to feel hopeful about life.

His performances remind me of the call-and-response used so well by Louis Armstrong. It's all about involvement - the opposite of sitting passively and pressing the remote control for entertainment. Through laughter, song, dance, and rhythm, KinderMan teaches a rainbow of subjects - from the basics of black history, to religion and culture, to sign language.

But none of this would work if he didn't make the children feel so welcome.

Each show starts off with a song:
I'm very glad you came today, I'm very glad you came.
I'm glad you came, I'm glad you came (pointing to each and every child) Now hold up your finger and tell someone you're glad they came today (in a whisper)
I'm glad you came today, I'm glad you came today, we're glad we came today. (singing full voice)
It's an invocation and it's infectious.

There's a keyboard keeping the background beat. His simple script and lessons allow easy transition to other subjects and age groups.

For preschool children, he sings:

When I say RED put your hands on. your head, When I say black put your hands on your back, •When. I say BlUE put your hands on. your shoe, 'When I Say brown turn. your hands all around.

Incredibly, the kids repeat it all, not missing a note. In an auditorium seating 350 children, ages 3 to 6, from six different schools, KinderMan mesmerizes them more effectively than Barney or the Little Mermaid ever could. How? By making each one of them feel important.

It's 45 minutes of nonstop interaction. The children don't know they're gaining socialization, memorization, or confidence-building skills. Nor do they know what those words mean. They're just being kids and having fun. Like KinderMan.

"I want to do this forever; I'm living through the kids now," he says, smiling.

gotta dance!

John Taylor grew up in a very expressive family in Baltimore, where family gatherings were all about dance. His father worked as a waiter, and his mother was a waitress at a dinner theater, performing acrobatic dancing for extra tips. Lacking any formal training, she didn't know how to properly warm up and one night did a split and tore all the ligaments in her legs. The injury made her give up dancing and begin raising a family. "My mother said she was dancing with me in her womb, and the doctor said I came out dancing," Taylor said.

Underlying all the fun and games is a message:

"People don’t realize, they have no idea, that this life is a gift, and their job is to serve other people."
--KinderMan

Taylor grew up 10 blocks from the now-defunct Royal Theater, where dancers, singers, and actors came from New York to perform. At age 9, he was enamored by a monthly high-kicking floor show featuring one man and 32 women.

Unfazed by those who told him "boys don't dance," he started studying Afro-Cuban dance at 16, and from then on took any kind of dance class he could get his feet into. In high school, he joined the Modern Dance Club and participated in workshops at the Arena Playhouse, a historic black theater. At Morgan State he studied modem dance and earned a degree in arts education, and later received a master's from the Maryland Institute of Art.

He taught art classes for 18 years in Maryland's public-school system. But he never stopped dancing - performing with the Columbia Dance Theater and traveling around the state in Cinderella, The Sorcerer's Apprentice and other productions.

"I danced and danced and danced until I decided to quit teaching art and enrolled in a dance therapy program," he says, explaining a life¬long dream to establish a dance therapy practice in New York and perform in the theater during the evenings. He took a leave of absence from teaching in 1978 and enrolled in a program at Goucher College. But after one semester, he abandoned his plan, realizing that he could not survive on a dance therapist's salary living in New York.

He prepared to go back to teaching art, but got sidetracked by the country's latest dance craze - disco. His customized three-hour dance lessons brought him fame, publicity and the title "Disco King."

"I taught Oprah to do the hustle," he says, rolling off a list of well-known students that also includes former Maryland Governor William Donald Schaefer. After the short-lived fad abruptly ended two years later, he introduced his own brand
of "international" aerobics blending various dance forms.

But he never forgot how dance therapy can affect children, how it brings smiles and deep-down happiness. Or how he wanted to make children's lives better by exposing them to the arts.

How can we get kids interested in productive, rather than destructive, pursuits? Have your say in the discussion forum.

feeding children's spirits

"I realized that we're mind, body, and spirit. We feed the body with food, the mind with information, but the spirit in so many people is damaged," Taylor says.

Taylor began to develop a program and materials to carry forth his ideas. He created and implemented a movement curriculum for preschoolers used by the federal Head Start program nationwide. Then, he extended it to older children.

Fueled by the belief that he could rehabilitate children by feeding their spirits,Taylor reinvented himself as KinderMan.

Two years ago he decided to put together a television pilot for a Saturday morning children's show - "Kindertime with the KinderMan."
It's been airing on an ABC affiliate in the Baltimore area for more than 40 weeks, and in June won an Emmy Award. Looking ahead, Taylor says he's striving to expand the show to reach some 100 markets nationwide.

pitter-pattering away

Children love him - and are so eager to follow his lead that, by the close of his 45-minute program, they are hanging on to his every word. Lowering his voice to barely a whisper, KinderMan prepares his audience of 350 children for their recessional.
It's an impressive performance.
"VVhen the teacher holds up one finger, stand up silently. VVhen two fingers go up, get in line, without a sound," Taylor says, his fingers pretending to zip shut his lips. "And when three fingers are seen, tiptoe out of the auditorium to your bus," he finishes, quietly pitter-pattering across the stage.
On a recent spring day, I watched in utter amazement as several hundred children filed out of a Baltimore school auditorium - in complete, superhuman silence.
Contact KinderMan at (410)730-7419.
Garbrielle Seyffert Jacobson - Horizon Magazine (Sep 17, 2004)