What we’re doing and why we do it!
TOYS I MAKE
Walking Song: Movement
Many children need appropriately structured tasks and encouragement to develop new movement skills; this feedback can lead to still greater body awareness. With greater awareness of his or her body, the child also becomes capable of greater overall self-control.
Toy Shop: Pretend Play
Various studies have linked pretend play with language and literacy development. These studies further suggested that fantasy play incorporates aspects of adult speech as well as the opportunity for children to increase their vocabulary as they create themes and scripts and communicate these ideas to each other.
Jack In the Box: Music Listening
Listening to “special sounds” on the KM CD challenges the children to begin to develop music listening skills. Music listen skills involve comprehending, understanding, categorizing, recalling, predicting, recognizing, characterizing, describing, identifying, evaluating and comparing.
Play, Play, Play: Simple Tonal Melodies
Singing skills tend to develop in the following order — words, rhythm, phrases, and contour. Research shows that children’s repertoire should include:
- Rhythmic speech play (chants and thymes)
- Simple tonal melodies (bitonic, tritonic) which are close in pitch to speech, and
- More complicated melodies.
Keep the Ball A-Rolling: Fine Motor Development
Fine motor development progresses slowly during the preschool years but can be fostered by providing ample opportunities, appropriate tools, and adult support, as can be seen in settings where children’s experience and the cultural expectations are highly conducive to fine-motor skill development.
Ball Play: Investigation
Ball Play is one of many activities in this curriculum that introduce an opportunity for the preschool-aged child to engage in the process of investigation. Investigation involves making sense of the experience, finding things out, as well as predicting and checking the predictions. The elements of this process lead to the child becoming a more self-motivated learner.
Drums: Loud and Quiet
Dynamics are important to the expressive power of music. The three- or four- year-old child is able to learn about the opposing concepts of loud and quiet through experience with vocal play as well as through listening.
Al Tambor (Drum Play Along): Steady Beat
Beat is the ongoing, steady, repetitive pulse that occurs in song, chat, rhyme and music. The ability to recognize and demonstrate steady beat can be developed through a variety of music and movement experiences which include patting legs with a bilateral movement, patting legs with an alternating bilateral movement, “walking” while seated, standing in place and bouncing, marching in place, walking or marching forward and walking or marching in other directions. The ability to recognize steady beat is important to successfully master any number of movement activities such as hammering, writing, dribbling and shooting a basketball, dancing, skipping and rocking a baby.
Circle Dance: Sense of Community
The Circle Dance emphasizes the importance of people of all ages singing and dancing together. Children and parents experience an emotional and social bonding, a sense of belonging and nurturing environment. Creating a sense of community is an important goal of all Kindermusik classes.
Keep the Ball Rolling: Movement with Objects
The skills of throwing, kicking, striking and catching a ball require that the child combine gross motor movement with processing visual information. When young children are given sufficient opportunities to use the body in non-locomotor and locomotor ways, and when they are given sufficient opportunities to explore with objects, their ability to move successfully with objects will be greatly enhanced.
Jack In the Box: Integrated Experiences
The preschool-aged child learns best through integrated experiences. The Jack-In-The-Box activity integrates listening, fine motor movement, whole body movement, singing, eye-hand coordination, language and social interactions.
We are surrounded by sounds, but are we listening to them?
Most people are born with the ability to hear, but listening is a learned skill. In active listening, we make a decision to pay attention and not speak or make sounds. Practicing active listening provides lifelong benefits. It’s necessary for following directions at home and at school.
And at this age, active listening is so exciting because your preschooler is developing the ability to notice subtle differences of sound, such as listening to many different styles of drums, and naming that style of drum—something he wasn’t ready to do as a toddler.
So this week, take time together to “put on your listening ears” and discover all the wonderful sounds around you.
Al Tambor is a follow-the-leader activity that contains many components that benefit the development of preschool-aged children. The children are encouraged to:
- Observe and respond to a steady beat instrument motion.
- Understand nonverbal communication of gestures and motions.
- Sustain attention by staying with a motion of a length of time.
- Understand and follow guidelines of the activity.
The range of listening skills in young children may be quite wide.
- Marginal listeners — who hear all sounds with equal aural value.
- Attentive listeners — who can give some priority to a single sound source.
- Analytical listeners — who focus on a single sound source and can describe characteristics of that sound source.
Creativity has been described as “a quality possessed in some measure by all individuals. It is expressed when an individual relates things in his experience which were previously unrelated, and produces something that is new and satisfying to him.”
Making music is natural and spontaneous for young children. It begins within and then emerges in the form of self-expression. We all need to experience the freedom and joy of our own creative movement. We need to create, to express, and be nourished as we learn from experiences which connect to our deepest selves.