Q. Could you please help me with a few suggestions for interesting and beneficial ways we can use music in our early childhood curriculum?
A. There are many benefits to including an active music program in an early childhood curriculum. An active music program is one that involves melody, movement, rhythm and speech. It involves the whole child and is enthusiastic, motivated and inspiring. Music can bring joy, fun and a richness and fullness to any early childhood curriculum. Some of our favourite music experiences are:
Singing. We use singing all day, particularly simple songs such as nursery rhymes and songs with repetition during children’s play. For example “This is the way we roll/flatten/pinch the dough” can be sung to Here We Go Round The Mulberry Bushwhile children are playing with play dough. We use singing in teacher-led group times and always try to use singing and music that reflects the children’s interests. We also encourage children to write their own versions of songs and put them into an extended version of their favourite song.
Singing and playing musical games. Circle games such as ‘Hokey Pokey’ or ‘Ring-a-ring- a-Rosie’ provide opportunities for children to participate in group activities, cooperate with peers and take turns. They also develop important listening skills. We also use lots of recorded music, with some of our favourites including Gary and Carol Crees, Peter Combe, Aunty Wendy and Jingle Jam. Children love to move and dance.
Un-tuned percussive instruments provide children with a way to explore and create in their own way. Using tapping sticks, homemade shakers, bells and maracas allows the children to physically engage with musical concepts such as beat, rhythm, tempo and pitch. We make up games like “Who can play the fastest/loudest/quietest” or the children sing their favourite songs while playing the percussive instruments. Percussive instruments are a valuable tool for the children to explore different ways they can move their bodies to music. They respond to the strong beat on a drum or to the shimmery shake of a tambourine. We use the percussion instruments to enhance their creativity and imagination. We also like to take the instruments outside in the garden to make music outside. We can be really loud and incorporate large movement with the instruments outside. We even take the iPod and dock to add recorded music with our percussion instruments! Add scarves and streamers and some classical music under a tree and see what the children do. Music should be included in every early childhood curriculum, as research has shown that it promotes and develops many skills. It also provides children with pure enjoyment, freedom to create and imagine with their peers in a nurturing and learning environment.
You don’t need to be a music expert or even play a musical instrument to implement a successful music program.
Educators just need to be brave, enthusiastic and enjoy themselves because then the children will do the same.
Rebecca Andrews is principal of Botany’s John Brotchie Nursery School and Fiz Halsey is a music educator at the school.
By Rebecca Andrews and Fiz Halsey
Source: Australian Teacher Magazine - http://goo.gl/zettZp