We are spending more time outdoors with children at school. That includes music and movement. I take my autoharp to the hill or the Woodland Grove, and we sing and dance and move. Music is at the heart of children’s interest, whether it’s singing a familiar song like “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”, or using their bodies to move to a song. Movement is most important for their development – and not just the body.
One of the great educators in Early Childhood says flat out, “There is no learning without movement.” She’s right. Specifically, children benefit from moving. There are certain movements that children actually need as they grow, such as spinning, jumping, bending up and down, dropping, swaying, stretching, rolling, and running.
And that’s exactly what we did with this song in the video.
Music is joyful for children. When it is combined with movement, that’s even better. These sensory experiences increase the attention span. And of course, nature is the ultimate sensory experience. Often the child who fidgets, or has difficulty focusing, or is clumsy, simply needs more movement, including unstructured outdoor play. Yes, unstructured. They need to figure things out on their own.
The song in the video (which I made up) includes many of the movements children need. No wonder children love it!
After we came back inside we played a game of “What’s Missing?” Using the numbers 1 – 5 from our calendar, we lined them up in order, covered them, and took one number away. Children had to figure out what number was missing. For older children we removed two letters.
You could have heard a pin drop. Children were focused. This was a successful and fun learning experience. Why did it work? Because we had just finished music and movement outside. Children’s bodies and brains were ready to learn.
Our early morning music has been Frank Sinatra, which has given children a happy and relaxing start to their day as they arrive at school. Rest time is quiet music. Oh, and I sing to children – spontaneously and often. From rhyming words sung to a familiar tune, to making up a song about a child, to singing a book (yes, singing instead of reading the words), there is a constant flow of music throughout the day.
Any opportunity for music means listening, learning, moving, joy…and fun. Even clapping a beat is movement and focus.
“Music acts like a magic key, to which the most tightly closed heart opens.”
-Maria von Trapp-