This morning as I was cleaning up breakfast, I heard my oldest daughter Katelyn trying to encourage her younger siblings to clean up their room. She was coming up with a scenario of them pretending to be princesses and cats. Then I heard them making up a song about what they were picking up and putting away. In the end, Katelyn had motivated her sisters. They all worked together having fun, singing, dancing around, creating a story with a happy ending. Together they accomplished a pretty big job.
It is important to keep early literacy fun and playful. Too often kids are pushed into academics too soon or they are pushed into it in a very structured, rigid way. In the end, this can turn kids off from enjoying new learning experiences in the future. So, let’s keep things FUN!
5 ways Music and Movement help child learn:
1. Promotes language development, by stimulating our senses. Infants begin to mimic sounds and song long before they understand or can speak. Children will begin to recognize patterns and sequences that are critical to recognizing the sounds letters make.
2. Helps with memory. Repeating nursery rhymes/songs encourages the use of words and rhythm. It helps toddlers remember the sequence of events, facts, and words.
3. Adds to our emotional wellbeing. Music and movement have the ability to energize or calm. Think of the last time you were driving to the beach on a sunny day or you were curling up on the couch with a cup of coffee and a good book. What music did you want to play?
4. Creates bodily awareness. As children move slow and fast, up and down, loudly and softly, they are developing an awareness of how they can move. Helping to develop coordination, flexibility, self-expression, and physical fitness.
5. Encourages social interaction. By introducing music into the activity you are allowing children to choose how they are going to participate in a non-threatening way. They can jump right in, wait until they are comfortable, or just sit back and observe. All three interactions can be equally engaging.
When music, movement, and storytelling come together, children will begin to learn through creativity and fun.
5 ways that Storytelling help children learn are:
1. Draws out our emotions, opening our minds and imagination. Storytelling elicits a response from us. It causes us to make decisions and react to what we have heard.
2. Improves listening skills. Sitting still, focusing on what is being said is a skill. It is easier to develop this skill when stories include smells, tastes, colours, and textures. Activating the five senses engages listeners to ask themselves (and you) questions.
3. Instills a love of language, reading, and creativity. Telling stories to your children allows them to focus on the language and how it is being used. Deepening their vocabulary, comprehension skills, sequencing, memory, and story recall. Reading to your children continues to be effective even after they develop the ability to read by themselves.
4. Builds community. By drawing others into your story you are providing a common experience, creating a strong sense of identity. Storytelling develops belonging through the use of common language, catch phrases, and words.
5. Models appropriate behavior. Through story telling you are able to teach appropriate responses. You can model how to be a good storyteller, listener, and communicator.
Children will be more receptive to the teaching that is done after you have engaged children with music, movement, and storytelling. They will have greater success at reciprocating what they have learned.
Jesus taught through storytelling – parables. He knew this was one of the ways we learn.
Matthew 13:34 NLT
Jesus always used stories and illustrations like these when speaking to the crowds. In fact, he never spoke to large groups without using such parables.
So, how can we can we encourage learning through music, movement and storytelling?
SING, SING, SING,
PLAY, PLAY, PLAY
READ, SHARE, and LISTEN with and to your child.
MUSIC & MOVEMENT Activities
This is a great website that shares a number of classic preschool songs that are foundational to many songs we take the tune of and change the words to suit the game or activity we are teaching is . The website provides songs, lyrics, and YouTube videos.
Some of the songs include:
Baa Baa Black Sheep
Head and Shoulders
If all the Raindrops
Farmer and the Dell and many more.
This is a free app. It provides access to more songs with actions and movement than you could ever dream of.
1. In learning time, we tell a story that helps children remember how to draw the shape of the letter of the week. These stories are taken from Preschool: ANIMAL ALPHABET FRIENDS flashcards produced by A Beka Book.
As we share the story the children trace the letter in the air. Then they have the opportunity to practice on paper and they are encouraged to re-tell the story as they write the letter.
Freddie Fish Story
ImageLet’s pretend that our paper is a fish tank. Capital F reminds us that Freddy Fish can swim at the top of the water and dive down to the bottom (Trace over the vertical line.) Some fish have beautiful, long fins (Trace over the upper horizontal line.) and some fish have short fins (Trace over the short
Little f is a little Freddy Fish that swims near that water’s surface. Little f likes to swim just below the surface of the water. Then he moves up to eat the food that he sees on the top of the water. (Trace the beginning of the curve.). Little f gobbles the food and dives down to the bottom of the tank. (Trace over little f’s vertical line.) Then Little f looks up and he sees one of his friends swimming in the middle of the tank. (Trace over the horizontal line.).
Another website that provides a few free tools for storytelling and drawing letter shapes. I know there are a few schools in Hanover School Division that use Letterland tools.
3. Around the supper table, take turns sharing about your day.
Criteria you could include in your story for the day could be including a high and a low.
You, the parent, retell how you think your child’s day went at school. This could be silly or serious. Then allow your child to turn around tell a story about what your day was like.
Remember to use words that engage your senses allowing others to relate to their sense of smell, hearing, taste, textures, and colours.
4. Retell stories about your family. Make the heroes of your stories people your children know. It will help develop a stronger sense of family.
5. After reading a book, have your child draw/paint a picture or create a play dough diorama of what they read and have them re-tell the story.
6. Act out storybooks or make believe stories.
7. Do an appreciation exercise with your kids.
i. Practice sharing with them something you are thankful for.
ii. Give them a few details about what was happening in the story
iii. Talk about how you felt during this event include your emotions and bodily sensations
ix. End with telling them why this story is important to you.