Child A arrived full of energy but I discovered this was more to do with the fact that he hadn’t slept at lunchtime as usual because he had been at home with his Grandma for the day. He was also slightly put out by the fact another baby had returned for another class who had taken great interest in Child A and chose to communicate by trying to pull Child A’s hair. Child A understandably wasn’t very taken with the idea so his Childminder kindly suggested that as the older child,he should set an example. So from Child A’s regular attendance to my classes, he is starting to learn how to negotiate through sharing the instruments/toys and how to work as a team by keeping the beat as a group. More of which I will explain later.
We started the class with the usual routine of the ‘Hello song’ where Child A waved very proudly and kept a confident pulse by patting his knees. We continued with the upbeat song we learnt last week ‘Wake Up, Shake Up’ which I learnt through the Voices Foundation. He watched with a lot of joy as I demonstrated the moves with my Jack doll, then we all sang it together using the actions. Child A is starting to gain more independence trying the physical gross motor actions but is most confident when he has an instrument in his hand.
I used Jack the doll again for the next song, ‘Diddle diddle dumpling’ and it was clear by Child A’s reaction that having come to my classes for over a year now once a week, he sees Jack as a friend and a familiar figure in his life. He shows great affection to the Jack doll and particularly likes the song ‘Diddle diddle’ because it involves taking off Jack’s shoes and socks. This simple activity develops his independence with dressing skills as well as exploring the world around him. He is learning to identify with the character Jack through role play as he goes through his Toddler stage development.
Child A has also got to know the other characters that appear in my classes. I brought along the bear puppet that I use for the rhyme ‘Fuzzy Wuzzy’ that has a key feature is that he can be hidden away in his honey pot, thus recreating children’s favourite activity of hide and seek with the added joy of surprise. Child A is always keen to find the bee toy that is attached to the honey pot so I used the opportunity to tell him that the bee like the Fuzzy bear is hibernating at the moment. So we played a game where everytime we used the word ‘Fuzzy’ during the rhyme ‘Fuzzy Wuzzy’ the bear would appear from the honey pot to see if it was Spring yet, then he would disappear because he would see that it was still Winter. Child A had a go at moving Fuzzy on his own by holding the glove puppet and needed less assitance than the younger members of the class.
We moved onto a new song called ‘Johnny works with one hammer’ which involves moving all your limbs at the same time once the verses add up how many hammers Johnny is using as the song progresses. Child A had full concentration and really tried hard to achieve it. I believe the favourite part of the class was when I handed out the wooden percussion instruments and he got to strike them with a beater to recreate the hammering action of the song. He used a lot of energy and enthusiasm and was able to listen to the music being sung by me, so that he stopped beating the drum at the end of each verse very clearly rather than just hammering away continuously. Which highlights to me that he is starting to pick up musical structure and aural awareness by being exposed to simple songs every week in class.
We finished the class with the familiar song ‘Frosty Weather’, which I introduced by revealing the purple lycra sheet. I asked those old enough to help me pull this out of my bag which Child A gladly did as he often likes to help others when he attends classes. The feeling of the purple lycra which covers the children at the end of the song ‘When the snow falls’ gives children a sense of security and sensory development especially when Child A likes to become an abominable snowman and moves around with the sheet over him. Creating a different character of his own through role-play which aids Child A to see find different parts of his personality that can be displayed and discovered through musical activity.
There are lots of examples in this blog, as there are every week where I list the benefits of musical activity including singing has on children. It is becoming more and more apparent that the earlier you start exposing music and creative skills to children the better the long term benefits not only to them but their adults to aid relationships between carer and child plus group work between peers.