Five-year-old Bryon Padilla sat patiently in his chair, looking at his left arm, which had a newly painted basketball.

He looked over at his mother, Rebecca Padilla, and smiled as music began to play throughout the Victoria Fine Arts Center. The young children in the audience sprung up from their chairs and began their coordinated dancing, with parents looking over and copying their children’s dance moves.

“He was so excited to get here,” Padilla, 26, said. “He’s been waiting to go to his first concert as soon as his teacher told him the Learning Station was performing in Victoria.”

The Learning Station, a children’s music group, performed for the third annual Pre-K Extravaganza hosted by the Victoria school district. The event took place Feb. 5 at the Victoria Fine Arts Center, and about 157 families attended.

Carol Dippel, the early childhood coordinator for the Victoria school district, said the annual event is an opportunity to offer parents insight and information about early childhood education. Children and their families were able to explore about a dozen different booths in the lobby of the center before the concert and participate in coloring, painting and learning activities.

“We had students from VISD, private schools, home-school and even families who traveled from outside of Victoria to attend,” Dippel said. “It was truly about reaching area families with young children.”

Once the concert began, children and their parents stood up for most of the program. The interactive program had not just the young children dancing and laughing but their parents too.

Educational music, such as the songs by the Learning Station, helps young children learn with ease, Dippel said. For example, singing is a great way for children to enjoy school in an active way that helps the body and mind connect, she said.

“Music is another tool to help children learn language skills, including the meaning of words. They express themselves in different ways through movement and singing, and they build large motor skills at the same time,” Dippel said. “Using music also increases memory skills.”

Melissa Cantu said her two sons – Mason Cantu, 4, and Korey Cantu, 6 – are familiar with the Learning Station because their teachers play their music in class and the students learn the dances. Mason was so excited about the event that he counted the days until the concert, she said. Both Mason and Korey danced along to the music and sometimes improvised with their dance moves.

Cantu said she’s all for educational learning through music. She has an older child with autism, and music helps with interaction with other kids, she said.

“It’s awesome. It helps build their minds and get their mind working,” Cantu, 32, said.

Amber Aldaco reports on regional counties for the Victoria Advocate. She may be reached at aaldaco@vicad.com or 361-580-6303.

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Education Reporter

Amber Aldaco is the education reporter at the Victoria Advocate. She's covered various events in the Crossroads including a zoo rescue, a biker funeral and a state meeting with the governor. She enjoys singing with her significant other.

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