Sunday, 20 December 2015

Music Makes the World Go Round

Many people are under the impression that singing with preschoolers is not an act of learning. One day when I told the children’s parents that we had a song circle in the morning, some of them asked “but did you also do math?”. It seems like some don’t realize how important music is for children.

Kids in preschool and kindergarten don’t have the patience (and shouldn’t need) to sit down and observe what teachers are doing: they need to move around, get rid of the extra energy in a fun way, interact with one another, and explore the world around them. Music offers great opportunities for all of these.

Here are some other benefits of teaching music to children:
· through music, children can express feelings and emotions in a healthy way;
· improvisation activities develop children’s imagination and self-esteem;
· children can learn math, a foreign language, science through music;
· by exploring how musical instruments work, children learn science;
· it helps improve their listening skills;
· music helps improve fine (playing instruments, using gestures, finger plays) and gross motor skills (dancing, jumping, hopping, etc.);
· kids learn about patterns and rhythm;
· music may help kids learn sounds and letters (Jolly Phonics);
· some song lyrics teach children social skills: sharing, caring for others, respecting others, being polite, etc.;
· music improves children’s vocabulary (opposites, movement vocabulary, directionality, rhyming words);
· songs make great transitions (check this article I wrote a while ago);
· and many others :)

I have been a kindergarten teacher in English kindergartens for more than five years. The kids in my groups didn’t have English as their mother tongue, so I had to teach them English, while also teaching math, literacy, science, environmental studies, etc. Music has been the best means of connecting English with these and it has definitely helped my children understand and grasp new concepts in a fun, easy way.

I find it easy to use songs instead of just talking. When I ask children to do something I try to say the instructions using short rhyming songs. They respond better to the request. But the drawback is that I can’t remember all the songs that I’ve created. That’s why I’ve decided to write them down IF I find the time. I’ll be posting some of them on the blog, maybe you’ll find them useful.

Here's one song that we use when we line up:
Let's All Make A Line (Tune: The Farmer in the Dell)
Let's All Make A Line!
Let's All Make A Line!
Heigh ho the derry-o
Let's All Make A Line!

Once they are lined up, they can suggest other movements: Let's all clap our hands/tap our tummy/shake our heads, etc.

That’s all for now. I have to go to bed, because tomorrow I’ll go to work. Our winter holiday only starts on Wednesday.

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