Singing is perhaps the second most important thing I do for children, right behind reading-aloud. The biggest impact seems to come when singing is spontaneous. Lunchtime was a case in point: “You Are My Sunshine” lunchbox note.
Savannah’s lunchbox often includes a note, full of loving words from Mom and Dad. When I pulled out this note, I just had to sing it. The note was meant for a song. Yes, I sang it to Savannah (and everybody else) in a big voice with my hands on my heart and my arms all over the place.
It meant the world to Savannah. Singing can do that.
When Colin and his mom skipped into school singing “You are my Sunshine”, the feeling of that song
remained with Colin long after his mom left– happiness, or I should say sunshine. What did I do? I sang with him, and then we decided to teach the song to the class, together. Oh, how the children loved that song! We knew that it was Milly the quilter’s favorite song, so we spontaneously made her a music video.
I find that a song can appear anywhere with children, including the bathroom. Sitting on the waiting bench with children often becomes a place for “Down By The Bay” rhyming, and practicing rhythm with our hands and feet. Children who are shy love to squeeze together with me on that tiny bench and sing; pretend made-up songs make them laugh and feel comfortable. The layers of hesitation peel away, and they join in with gusto. Yes, singing can do that.
Every day, just before chapter reading, I recite Goodnight Moon. Often I sing those wonderful words, in a spontaneous way. Sometimes I just make up a tune. Other times I do a rap with clapping, or a lullaby. Regardless, singing spontaneously works.
Frankly, singing brings life to words, and to children. It is the voice of the heart.