England, and the Beatles

My preschool class is learning about England.  Our loft has been transformed into Buckingham Palace.  The Union Jack flies overhead along with a picture of Queen Elizabeth.  We made a red phone booth out of a big box, and we made biscuits (cookies, for those of us in America.). Oh, we have ‘travelled’ to England with a satellite map, and a travel box filled with maps and money.  Children discovered a picture of the Queen on the money.  Next week we’ll be making fancy hats for our tea party; only English tea, of course.

Today was music from England.  I brought in my record player and albums, music from The Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields, and the Beatles.  Yes, I still have my Beatles albums.

Startling; that was the moment I introduced a record player.  It was the best science of the day.  The spinning turntable, and the sound of the needle on the arm- this was important learning.  Fifteen children were captivated by this remarkable machine.

Then, I put a record album onto this machine.  The Beatles.  We listened to how the record player machine makes music, and then we listened to the Beatles.  The first song on the album was “I Want to Hold Your Hand.”  To my  surprise, children jumped up, held hands, danced and jumped.  They just loved the song.  It was a wonderful moment.


About Jennie

I have been teaching preschool for over thirty years. This is my passion. I believe that children have a voice, and that is the catalyst to enhance or even change the learning experience. Emergent curriculum opens young minds. It's the little things that happen in the classroom that are most important and exciting. That's what I write about. I am highlighted in the the new edition of Jim Trelease's bestselling book, "The Read-Aloud Handbook" because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at both the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, and the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital.
This entry was posted in Early Education, England, music, Singing, Teaching young children, The Beatles and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

68 Responses to England, and the Beatles

  1. Gee Jen says:

    I wanna hold you hand – ❤ Think I might it for my kids now!

  2. Dan Antion says:

    I’ll bet you could remember your feelings from the first time you heard that song. What a great way to combine several different lessons into a fun program.

  3. Victo Dolore says:

    Awwwwww…. what fun! That is the best kind of science learning, the kind that sneaks up on you. 🙂

  4. Erik McManus says:

    This is awesome! What a great song to get the kids dancing 🙂

  5. Ritu says:

    Firstly I love that song, and secondly, how great you recreated England! Can I come and be a bona fide English (although Indian by heritage) teacher??? I bet the turntable really threw them!

    • Jennie says:

      Rita, I thought of you as we were dancing like crazy. They loved the song!! Of course I do, too. The turntable, and also rubbing my finger on the needle to make a sound, we’re moments of wonder. I would love to beam you into my classroom, especially when we have our tea party. This has been such a fun unit of study. The only thing I couldn’t find was a double decker bus.

  6. Opher says:

    Fab!!!! I can remember the first time I heard the Beatles!!! Those kids obviously loved it!!

  7. beetleypete says:

    Some of the early Beatles songs have that simple appeal to children. ‘She Loves You’, ‘Twist and Shout’, and a good few more. I doubt any of them had ever seen a record player, so that moment of magic as the music came out was something really special.
    Another of those classic ‘Jennie Moments’ indeed.
    The red phone boxes are slowly disappearing here, so creating one of those was a slice of history.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  8. srbottch says:

    Well, as Homer Simpson said, “English! Who needs English? I’m never going to England!” But he didn’t know Jennie. Fantastic project, Jennie, and the kids keep learning and learning and learning…while having fun!

  9. L. Marie says:

    Adorable! What a fun way to learn about England!

  10. OMG! I watched this little video several times and it is so adorable! I spotted a couple of natural and probably talented little dancers, I notice these things because I did have my own dance studio at one time. I see in your video is a little Ballerina, several Swing dancers, a Modern dancer, and lots of Jazz dancers. Great post Jennie! I want more! In my studio, I had several groups of pre-school dancers – boys and girls. Kids are the best dancers! Thank you Jennie, this made my day! 🙂

  11. mukhamani says:

    Loved the video 🙂

  12. magarisa says:

    Those children have excellent taste in music! 😁

  13. Darlene says:

    What fun. I recall one of my teachers teaching us about Mexico in a similar way. It made me want to visit Mexico! That is such a great Beatles song too. I’m actually going to Liverpool next week to visit the Beatles museum and the Cavern club they played at. I’ll be thinking about you and the children.

  14. Di says:

    Hello dear Jennie,
    What a beautiful post to return catching up here on WordPress…your video is gorgeous and that song is very infectious isn’t it. I had an idea pop into my head…would you like me to send a postcard from here in London with a phone box or a red bus to the children?
    Thank you for a lovely lovely post 💐❤️

    • Jennie says:

      YES!!! That would be wonderful, Di. Groton Community School, 110 Boston Road, Groton, MA. 01450. Thank you! And I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Wait till you see the letter we wrote to the Queen!

      • Di says:

        Oh I’m so glad, Jennie. I’ve already been thinking of doing it! You are very welcome.
        I’ll have to keep an eye out for that post most certainly.
        I’ll have a card in the post by early in the week. It may take a while to arrive though 🙋🏻🌎🌎💐

      • Jennie says:

        The children will be thrilled whenever it arrives. The letter to the Queen will be part of a writing stories post next week. 🙂

      • Di says:

        I’m glad, Jennie. And excited for you all to receive a card from here. I’m loving it.
        It’ll be in the post on Monday, Tuesday at the latest 🙋🏻😍😍

      • Jennie says:

        Thank you! 🙂

      • Di says:

        Utterly my pleasure Jenni 🙋🏻💐

  15. Jennie…nothing like passing on the Fab Four to yet another generation. Who knows, maybe some of them will become obsessed with the Day Tripper lick and infuriate their guitar teachers to no end!

    • Jennie says:

      And that would be wonderful! Hopefully the guitar teacher would get it. Ha! I was amazed at how the children immediately latched onto the Beatles. Of course I loved every minute, just like they did. Thanks, Laura.

  16. Andy says:

    Adorable video. Love the reaction of the children-not too dissimilar to the effect that the Fab Four had on the ‘Apple Scruffs’ back in the day. Best Wishes from little old England 🙂

  17. John Fioravanti says:

    Another delightful story from your exciting classroom, Jennie!

  18. Looks like a fun time! I still have my Beatles albums, too. 🙂

    • Also, I meant to say, I wish my children had these sort of themes when they were little in school. For several years straight (pre through 1st) it seemed to be the same subjects repeated: pilgrims, dinosaurs, etc.

      • Jennie says:

        I know what you mean, Marcia. Funny thing, I think I’d be flat on those topics, even though I like the subjects. Any theme can encompass all learning… so, teachers just need to pick a theme that is exciting. We wrote a letter to Queen Elizabeth, and my blogging friend from England tells me she answers her mail. Wait till you see the letter!

    • Jennie says:

      You would have loved seeing all those faces when I turned the record player on. So glad you have your Beatles albums, too!

  19. dgkaye says:

    How much fun this must have been for the little ones. First the culture shock of the the old record player, and then the Beatles, which nobody is too young or to old to love those icons. 🙂 x

  20. Fabulous! That must have been a joyful thing to see. And it is amazing that the Beatles’ music doesn’t seem to date. I had an older brother who got the latest Beatles’ LP (album) every Christmas – even now, many of their numbers remind me of childhood. Many of their Liverpool haunts are gradually creeping their way into blog posts too!

    • Jennie says:

      Thanks so much for your comments and story. It was incredible to see children picking up on the songs, just like I did in ‘64. On a side note (you brother would love this), I was at a cocktail party some years ago with good friends. Somehow the conversation of music that we loved came into play. The Beatles, of course, was my comment. My good friend, also the hostess of the party, proceeded to say this: “I went to England to visit a friend in ‘67. She loved the Beatles, but I really didn’t care. She begged me to go to the place where they always played. It was called the cave. She wanted to see this place. When we went there, the Beatles were performing!” I was frozen. She really didn’t care. I did. I remember holding a wine glass so tight. I wanted to scream, but all I could do was nod my head and smile. Good thing I didn’t break the wine glass. Thanks again, and my best to you.

  21. A brilliant post, Jennie. I have my Mother’s records including the Beatles and a lot bunch of broadway musicals. I love them and they give me a lift if I am feeling a bit sad or down.

  22. reocochran says:

    I still have my little stereo player of 45’s, which has a drum in the center which had to be replaced. I have Apple records which include the Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, Johnny Cash and Roger Miller. . . 🎶🎼 I love that you are dancing and still rocking out with the over fifty years ago, “British Invasion!” 😉

    • Jennie says:

      Aren’t records and dancing wonderful! Have you played your 45’s for your grandies? You have great ones! Yes, still rocking after 50 years ago. Lucky me! The British Invasion was the best!

  23. timholman says:

    Love it! Sadly most will never know the full impact of the best foursome that ever was.

  24. willedare says:

    Another TERRIFIC post! I lead Music Together classes three mornings each week (with children aged 0-4 years plus their accompanying grownup) and one of my ongoing pleasures is introducing these phenomenal spirits to music I have loved during my life. This past week I used “You Should Be Dancing” by the Bee Gees for our free dance. Everyone of all ages responded with enthusiasm. Now I have added “I Want To Hold Your Hand” to my list of songs to share in a future week. I won’t be using a magical record player, however… Thank you for inspiration during challenging political times!

    • Jennie says:

      I love your story! We both know how important music is for children. I often skip the typical children’s songs entirely. I’ll be adding dancing to The Bee Gees! The other music my class always enjoys is Water Music by Handel. Thank you so much! 🙂

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