Child A’s Mum sent me some lovely comments about his development at home. ” [Child ‘s name] communication skills, verbal and musical, have developed markedly in the last few weeks. His vocabulary has expanded considerably in both languages, and at the same time, he is able to sing in tune, keep a beat, and have a go at simple dynamics through imitation and instruction. And he still often conducts imaginary orchestras! Over the last couple of weeks he has become interested in a book series we have at home, in which 2 siblings are transported through music to the time and whereabouts of famous composers. Each book comes with a CD with short pieces or fragments by that composer. He has always had a preference for piano music (and at a very early age preferred instrumental to vocal recordings), and deliberately selects the Chopin book, pretending to play the piano whilst listening for about 5-10min.”
With this lovely insight, both myself and Child A were excited about the next upcoming class. So in this class I went back to some familiar songs that we learnt at the beginning of the academic year. This began with ‘See Saw’, which involves a rowing action like ‘Row, row, row your boat’. Child A tested the waters a little with his Childminder and was hesitant to stand up and preferred to sit on her lap.
We continued with ‘Jack Be Nimble’ which is a bouncing song where you toss the Jack doll up in the air at the end to “Whee”. He was apprehensive to join in with the bouncing at first, preferring to observe within the circle at first. He got very involved when it came to tossing the doll on the lycra sheet which we developed into a game when Child A realised that the Jack doll might have hurt himself so we took him to hospital which meant speeding up the tempo of the song. We then slowed the tempo for Jack to sleep which Child A covered up the doll for.
We used the lycra sheet some more during the rhyme ‘Soft Kitten’ for tactile play, starting with stroking the back of the hand like you would to a cat then recreating the sensation on different sides of the lycra sheet. This developed into a game as I told them about how my cat behaved when she was kitten and used to go under the duvet and attack my feet. Child A has a great interest in feet, so this particularly appealed to him, especially the element of hide and seek.
I revisited the rhyme I had recently introduced called ‘Elephant’ and for this week’s choice of instruments I used maracas so we could use them as trunks and tails to swing to the beat. Child A enjoys the independence of handing out the instruments plus choosing a colour, after some prompting he fetched my instrument bag by himself to hand them out.
During request time, Child A verbally asks for his favourite song using key words such as “eye I oh” which according to his Childminder means ‘Old McDonald’. I agree with his Mum that he is becoming more verbal each week he attends which is promising as a bilingual child, the repetition of spoken rhymes and the singing of simple songs will improve his English. The Kodaly approach also encourages the use of Mother tongue traditional songs, so any folk tunes from a home region can be sung at home and have often been used in class to instill other known languages and maintain the child’s bilingual identity.