What’s Happening in “Imagine That” Classes!

February 2014:

What we’re doing and why we do it!

TOYS I MAKE

Open a book and open a new world. Our new book, If I Had a Big Blue Boat, not only helps us explore the sights and sounds of the sea, it helps our language and thinking skills. By reading together, your child will learn and understand new words. Research proves it.

In telling about things that happen in his own day, your preschooler uses new words and begins to develop the concept of beginning, middle, and end, which is good for expressing himself more clearly. And the adventures in the story lend some ideas for his own creative, imaginative play at home. You might be surprised how far his imagination can take all of you.

Auditory Discrimination Al Tambor Listening:

Through auditory discrimination activities, the child is encouraged to develop phonological awareness. Phonological awareness involves an appreciation of the sounds, as well as the meaning of words. Recent research has confirmed that children who have a greater degree of phonological awareness when they enter school are better equipped to learn to read. Benefits which may be achieved through the development of phonological awareness are the development of language skills, increased motivation to read, appreciation of literate forms and print awareness.

Memory

Preschoolers typically benefit from memory strategies which are linked to a firsthand, meaningful experience. Your child’s developing memory skills are enhanced as he recalls favorite songs from previous shared experiences.

Play

Young children’s play is:

  • Symbolic, in that it represents reality with an ‘as if’ or ‘what if’ attitude.
  • Meaningful, in that it connects or relates experiences.
  • Active, in that children are doing things.
  • Pleasurable, even when children are engaged seriously in activity.
  • Voluntary and intrinsically motivated, whether the motive is curiosity, mastery, affiliation, or something else.
  • Rule-governed, whether implicitly or explicitly expressed.

With a new song, “Oh, Watch the Stars,” we used a concept called analytical listening. So many things are happening in this activity. Your preschooler has to understand and follow directions, make decisions while he’s listening, and wait to share his thoughts until the song is over. He listens to new lyrics, explains to himself what the song is about as well as what he thinks about who is singing.

Attention Skills

The Sea Sounds Puzzle activity helps preschoolers develop attention skills through:

  • The combined use of visual and aural stimuli.
  • Subject matter that is familiar and meaningful to them.
  • The use of a novel and playful format (the puzzle) to convey the information.

Attention may be defined as the process of noticing an event or “tuning in” to sensory information.  Children’s attention skills vary depending on a number of factors.  Among these are:

  • Young children attend to information that they can discriminate such as events they can see or hear.
  • The more intense the physical qualities of an event, the greater the likelihood that it will be attended to.  Therefore, an activity which combines input from more than one sense will be more likely to be focused upon.
  • There is greater likelihood that the event will be attended to if it has meaning for the child.
  • Children tend to pay attention to events that are slightly unfamiliar or novel, yet if too unfamiliar, the even may be ignored because it is not recognizable as an event.

Singing Ability and Speech (Out Here On the Sea)

Singing ability is related to the ability to control speech fluctuation, and speech activities appear to help develop tuneful singing skills.  Playing with rhythmic speech (chants, poems, rhymes, etc.) as well as simple tonal melodies helps the child develop both singing and speech skills.

Creative Dance (Star Dancing)

Creative dance consists of more than just exploring dance concepts.  Skills must be developed, in relation to the movement concepts.  Creative dance can open up for you and your child new worlds of knowledge, creativity and self-expression.

Music as a Social Activity (Boatman’s Dance)

Music is an intensely social activity.  There is an increasing amount of literature that highlights the key impact which peer groups, the family, the relationships between teacher and pupil and between pupils themselves have upon a child’s interest in a knowledge about music and indeed on their developing personal identity as “musical.”

As your preschooler’s language skills continue to improve, she begins to see great humor in the different ways words can be used. This is an important step in the growth of your child’s sense of humor, which is based on real life experiences and develops slowly over time.

As your child’s understanding of words evolves, she learns about using words in intelligent, creative, and funny ways. Think of ways you and your preschooler can play with words.

Successfully Individual Singing

Researches found that children sing more nearly at pitch level when they sing individually rather than in a group.  This finding points to the fact that successful individual singing may precede successful group singing.  In another study with young children it was discovered that individual/small-group singing activities did have a positive effect on vocal development and competence.

Analytical Listening

Analytical listening requires children to:

  • Evaluate what is heard and comprehended.
  • Contemplate and reflect.
  • Weigh new information against what is already known.
  • Discuss, sharing thoughts, opinions and viewpoints.

Rhythm Patterns

One of the basic musical concepts we teach young children is that of rhythm patterns, which are combinations of long and short sounds and silences. Three- and four-year-olds are able to copy rhythm patterns with increasing accuracy. Also, their eye-hand coordination is developing and improving. Activities that motivate children to use and improve these two skills (copying rhythm patterns and using eye-hand coordination) are appropriate, fun and beneficial for preschoolers.

Humming

Humming has two specific benefits, according to Jean Westerman Gregg, speech-language pathologist with a specialty in voice therapy. Humming over a period of time increases the strength of the fundamental in the acoustic spectrum, therefore affecting the quality of the signing voice. Also, over an extended period of time the vibration sensation of humming seems to increase the carrying power of the voice resulting in more volume with less effort.

Voice is a child’s first instrument, one that has already gone through many changes. As a baby, she used all parts of her vocal range. She later narrowed that range, settling into a comfortable speaking voice. Now as a preschooler, she uses a speaking voice for almost everything. Many preschoolers sing in a speaking voice and may not know the difference between the two. Songs that combine speaking and singing help her hear and experience the difference. She can practice switching these voices and expand her range in fun and imaginative ways. All of this great practice will give her confidence in many vocal abilities. Expressive voice is not only valued in singing, but in speaking, too.

Decision Making

When children are made a part of the decision-making process, they know that the adult approves of their ideas. They then have a stake in making the ideas succeed, while they also have their self-concept bolstered.

Focused Concentration

Coordinating specific actions with a song involves focused orchestration. This type of activity challenges the children to listen consciously, anticipate, predict and respond to the repeated “ret, set, set” rhythm/word pattern in the song.

Phonological Awareness

As preschoolers become more sensitive to sounds and to the meaning of spoken words they are developing phonological awareness.  Research has shown the phonological awareness is strongly related to later reading achievement.  Activities involving rhymes spoken rhythmically, songs, rhyming  games, vocal play and nursery rhymes can strengthen children’s awareness of language and sounds.

Singing

Singing is not just for the expression of pleasure, but it is often associated with pleasing circumstances. Singing enables us to express the pleasure we feel, and it is often a catalyst for those feeling. Singing can shape us by bringing feelings of pleasure into experiences that by themselves, might be neutral. Simply hearing someone else sing can give us pleasure.