Published by CELA on 23 Apr, 2018

Bring back the rhyme

Think back to your earliest years of memory – at home, in preschool or in school. There’s a good chance that one of your most enduring memories will be in song. It might be a song your mother, grandfather, or bus driver sang, or a song from the end of year kindergarten performance, or something you sang in the playground with friends.

Music helps us to remember moments in time when we are older, but it does so much more than that when we are young! In the next issue of Rattler Magazine, preschool director Jenny Hind shares not only her personal memories of rhymes and rhythms, but also the learning theory and practice she employs to this day with children in her service.

Below is an extract of her article, which comes with a complete Eight Week Professional Development Plan to help readers review and implement music in their teaching and learning this term.  To get access to the full article, subscribe now to Rattler Magazine online, or contact CELA about becoming a member and gaining many more benefits too.

Teaching in rhythm and rhyme

By Jenny Hind. Extracted from Issue 125 Rattler Magazine

When I reach for my teapot I sing in my head, and sometimes aloud,

I’m a little teapot short and stout,

Here is my handle, here is my spout,

When I get all steamed up then I shout,

Tip me over our me out.

This rhyme comes to me often because I have such lovely memories of singing it as a young child each time I saw my mum make a pot of tea. I remember the joy of being able to yell out the last line and tipping myself into an imaginary cup.

Our musical lives

From birth we enjoy and respond to music, parents intrinsically use rocking rhythms and lullabies to sooth and calm babies, toddlers sway, move and clap to musical beats and young children love to repeat their favourite songs over and over. Music and singing is an enjoyable part of everyone’s day. Think how often we hear music throughout the day, on the radio, in the car, on MP3’s, during yoga class, in shops, in advertising jingles, TV show themes, school recitals or concerts.

Many studies have proven that not only do we enjoy music, it is great for our wellbeing and invaluable for child development. Children can learn musical elements such as beat, rhythm, pitch, tempo and volume from nursery rhymes and simple songs. You don’t need a CD player because nursery rhymes are easy to sing and children will learn best when watching and listening to you, and they will never judge your voice. How many nursery rhymes can you remember from your childhood? And how do you share them with children?

Integrating songs

We all know finger plays are great to settle children, develop fine motor skills and engage them as a group, but how often do you sing at other times of the day? Do you sing Pat a Cake, Pat a Cake in the mud kitchen? or Polly Put the kettle On in home corner?  It is delightful to hear children sing while they play, they will often make up or use silly words and we can model singing skills all through the day. Children will respond better to songs than spoken voice, so when transitioning children try singing the Ants Go Marching or Let’s Go Walking. At routine times try singing Wash You Dirty Hands in the bathroom it is much more enjoyable than saying over and over “did you wash your hands?”

Make it personal

Children love attention so including their names in songs such as Willoughby Wallaby makes children feel valued and helps them learn the names their friends. Silly and rhyming words are fun for children to say and repeat.

Willoughby wallaby wee

An elephant sat on me

Willoughby wallaby woo

An elephant sat on you

Willoughby wallaby wusten

An elephant sat on Justin

Willoughby wallaby woal

An elephant sat on Joel.

Sample from the Professional Development plan spread.

Week 3 Implementation Musical concepts

Think about the musical concepts that you can introduce to children:

  • Pitch, (high low)

  • tempo, (fast slow)

  • dynamics (loud, soft)

  • Beat

  • Rhythm

  • Write down ideas and plans to teach these concepts

  • Create a shared music file for educators to share

Brainstorm ways to explore these concepts in different ways, eg using instruments, voice, body movements

About CELA

Community Early Learning Australia is a not for profit organisation with a focus on amplifying the value of early learning for every child across Australia - representing our members and uniting our sector as a force for quality education and care.

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