My lessons are always conducted in a way that are unthreatening, unconscious but give plenty of fun, opportunity for development and parent bonding with the child.
Children from 1-4 have a 30 minute lesson and is accompanied by a parent/adult. Children from 4-6 have a 45 minute lesson and come unaccompanied. There is a maximum of 10 per class.
In every lesson the child will experience singing, movement, socialization, beat with percussion instruments, integrations with other children and bonding with adults. In addition, all of these attributes are worked on:- aural development, listening and remembering, cognitive development, muscular development and confidence building.
I always plan at least 10 different activities in every lesson. Every level has a different lesson planned as the development is different so therefore different outcomes can be expected.
These are some of the things I plan. Apart from the recorded music used in the beginning of the lesson all other singing/rhymes etc are performed by the teacher. As the mums become confident with the structure and content of the lessons, I encourage the mums to sing/chant with me. Of course this then encourages the children to respond, which leads to memory building.
This would be some activities I would include in every lesson.
- As everyone enters the music studio, I have different music playing. I invite the children to select a scarf and move to the music. In the babies classes, I get the mums to move to the music and just play with the scarf over the child. This is unofficially commencing the lesson, but It allows for people to be a couple of minutes late and for the child not to be upset. After 5 minutes, whether everyone is present or not, I commence the class officially. Unconsciously, the children are preparing their beat/movement and not just playing with scarves.
- I begin with a hello song and individually sing each child’s name. This builds confidence and encourages the children to give an individual response. When the children are not speaking, the mums respond as if they were the child.
- I then move to an activities like a felt board counting rhyme where the children get to take a felt piece. This encourages counting and turn waiting.
- The next activity would involve singing a song where the children move. Resources like ribbons could be used and an activity like this prepares the child’s gross motor action which will be refined to a finer gross motor development.
- Next I would do some soft singing (eg a lullaby) The children get to pick a soft toy to move to the music. This develops the child’s emotions.
- We would then do a fast moving song with movement. Eg a song where the children got to gallop or skip to the music. The children’s motor skills are being developed.
- Next I would choose a partner action activity. The action can be done with the teacher or attending parent and eventually another child. This action would be done whilst the teacher is singing a song or chanting a rhyme. I use resources in conjunction with each activity to help keep the children’s attention.
- I would then do a bouncing, jiggling or rocking activity. Every activity has a song or rhyme that the children do the appropriate actions to I try to swap activities between fast and slow moving.
- The children have a little homework book and I give a stamp for their pictures of what they have seen/collected in the story from the week previously.
- I then read a new story which always ends the lesson.
- I then ask the children what did they hear in the story. This gives the children the opportunity to remember something from the story and tell me. (Memory retention or recall)
- As a finale to the lesson, I sing goodbye to the children on an individual level and they or their parents respond.
The older kids who have a 45 minute lesson have addition activities that include written, board work or melodic tuned instrumental work.
Obviously there is development happening in every lesson, but the most important thing is that the child gains this through an unpressed, unthreatened fun music lesson. There is new content each lesson but there is also repetition of some already presented materials as this rote learning helps the children’s memory and retention be developed.