September is a time of transitions and new experiences. Summer is coming to an end, students are heading back to school or to school for the first time! The weather is changing and many people are getting back into a routine.
As a music therapist and music teacher in a school, the beginning of school can be one of the busiest times! We are getting to know the staff and new students and along with getting to know new kiddos comes learning new needs that those individuals may have. One of the biggest things that can be overwhelming for kids coming back to school is learning the new “rules” and classroom expectations. In my music classes, the first few weeks of school I support teachers in establishing these expectations through fun and interactive songs. I have mentioned some of these original songs in newsletters before, but thought that mentioning them in this article again could also help parents with the transitions of going to school and learning the expectations that are common in many schools and even other public places.
Kiddos love to run! It doesn’t matter whether they are inside or outside, they just love to run. To help with the expectation of walking in the classroom or inside in general, students love the walking feet song. It tells them what the expectation is, they get to practice walking during the song, and then when they are in the classroom and running all that the teacher needs to say is “walking feet” and that is enough of a cue for the student to remember to use walking feet inside.
I love this music cue because it works so so well! Once again, we practice this music cue during music groups and then all the teachers have to do is say “please wait” and students remember what was practiced in music with the song and respond almost immediately! Throughout the year we do have to re-teach and practice these skills, but it works so well for so many kiddos.
Opening and Closing Songs
I use the Hello song (opening song) and the Goodbye song (closing song) for every music group I have. The reasoning is so that students have a very clear cue that we are starting or that we have finished and it is time to transition to the next part of the day. If your students or kiddos are struggling with transitions or knowing when they are expected to start or end a task, try singing a short song consistently at the beginning or end (or both!) to help signal to the child that they are expected to start or stop something. The key to this is consistency! If it’s not consistent, how are the kiddos supposed to learn that it is a cue for something to come?
Turn Taking Songs
Students often times have a hard time sharing with their peers. I have created many songs about turn taking so that students can practice these skills in a fun and safe environment that is predictable through song. After practicing it in our music groups, teachers are then able to say or sing a short cue that helps students remember how to share with others!
Like I mentioned previously, I know I have talked about these songs in previous newsletters so I am not including the lyrics here. If you would like to see the lyrics or hear what these songs sound like, let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can email you a MP3 file.
If there are any topics you are interested in learning more about, let us know at email@example.com.