The Compass: Official Newspaper of the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay
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August 10, 2001 Issue
Special Section:
College/Back to School

Silver Lake programs attract national interest

Pre-natal program creates bond between infant and parents

They have traveled to Manitowoc from Argentina and Australia, Malaysia and Singapore. And, whether they are educators, health professionals or entrepreneurs they leave pronouncing the ground-breaking work of Silver Lake College's Sr. Lorna Zemke nothing short of remarkable.

Sr. Zemke is the developer of LOVENOTES, an instructional program for expectant parents utilizing music and movement to create an early and lifelong bond between infants and family members. The prenatal program, conducted both in face-to-face setting and available as a self-contained, instructional package (video and audio tapes with accompanying print materials) leads to the Music for Tots sessions offered for birth to five-year-olds. The sequenced programs draw hundreds of participants to Manitowoc each school year and during the summer months.

In more recent years, the Tots program has been established at other sites in Northeastern Wisconsin, affording even more families the opportunity to give their children a foundation which manifests itself in mastery of disciplines, academic and psychosocial. The sessions also provide college students and colleagues of Sr. Zemke with ample evidence, through research, documentation and fist hand observation, that the intentional stimulation of pre-born and very young children is integral to tapping into the most fulfilling elements of human existence.

Recently, more international visitors spent time at the college campus, sitting in on Sr. Zemke's summer class, talking with other advocates of this kind of early childhood programming and considering how they may be able to transplant this pedagogical approach within their own cultures.

Petar-Kresimir Hodzic, who in September will become a fully licensed medical doctor, and his wife, Rafaela Mrdjen-Hodzic, a musician and career molecular biologist, believe that an early introduction to music is "healthful" for both mother and child and "helps to build the family unit."

The Croatian couple discovered the work of the Manitowoc-based member of the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity on the Internet, then began corresponding with Sr. Zemke before their visit to Silver Lake College this summer.

For Petar, the exchange helped to focus his medical career. He has decided to take a position in his country's largest center for obstetrics, the Petrova Institute in the capital city of Zagreb, where more than 3,000 births occur each year. Dr. Hodzic hopes to introduce the concepts espoused by Zemke.

In the same summer class was Allen Oh, president of Sangjiwon, Inc., the largest publisher of instructional music materials in Korea. Oh hopes to translate and market the materials associated with the LOVENOTES and Music for tots programs in his homeland of more than 40 million people and perhaps reach into other Pacific Rim countries as well.

"What Sr. Lorna has developed here (at SLC) is so well organized and universally appealing that I would be willing to stake my company's reputation and resources on bringing it to people in need."

That 'need' according to Oh, is among people who culturally and intergenerationally tend to view childbirth very clinically and with a certain amount of detachment.

"Everything about Dr. Zemke's approach speaks to the emotional richness and sanctity of the birthing and family bonding experience," said Oh.

He acknowledges the work of other pioneers working in the field of multisensory, human development including Dr. Mary Wilson of Miami University, who recommended that he visit Silver Lake College and Sr. Zemke.

"I sense that the world's transformation has begun with respect to empowering individuals at a very early age," he said.

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