“Kindergarten is like the new first grade.” This is often what we tell parents when we are describing our kindergarten curriculum. Even with the high levels of expectations and standards for our young students, singing songs, dancing, and creative play are still an important part of our day. Not only is it fun, but students are learning and practicing many critical literacy skills that will help them in the future. Click “Read More” to learn about the benefits of music on reading instruction and to see some of my favorite resources for including music into my daily curriculum.
Including song and dance into your daily routine and curriculum is very beneficial to the whole child especially when it comes to pre-reading skills. Singing songs works on students’ active listening skills and their verbal memory, which will help as they begin to learn to read. Listening for the patterns of sounds or words will help students develop phonemic awareness and oral language skills. Being able to tap or dance to the beat and sing along with the rhythm will greatly benefit students’ reading fluency. Understanding and discussing what the songs are about enhances students’ comprehension skills. As you can see adding music and singing to your lessons will benefit your students in so many ways.
I find it important in my lessons and activities to give my students a variety of ways to get information being taught or concepts being explored. I use a lot of video clips, hands on activities, and songs to sing and dance to. I find that giving my students these different opportunities to understand or practice a concept is extremely helpful, especially considering their different learning styles. Whether it is a song as the lesson, a song practicing a skill during the lesson, or music as a transition from one activity to the next we find ourselves singing and dancing throughout the day. Being a kinesthetic learner, I often think back to my own education and wish that more of my teachers added music and dancing to assist in my learning.
Here are some of my favorite sing along resources:
Scholastic Teacher Store has some great sing-along books and flip charts that work on the alphabet, phonics, word families, early concepts, holidays, and circle time. My students really love the alphabet songs that we learn in the beginning of the year. Each one has a different kid friendly beat that I hear students singing long after they know their alphabet!
My all time favorite classroom songs are by Dr. Jean. I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Jean at a NJAKE (New Jersey Association of Kindergarten Educators) conference several years ago. She is an amazing woman that has tons of curriculum rich, kid friendly songs on everything from science to reading to classroom management. I have every one of her Cd's and I have used them daily when teaching grades K-2.
Dr Jean’s songs easily fit into your existing curriculum to enhance what you are already teaching. She has a great website with the lyrics to all of her songs which is extremely helpful if you have an LCD projector or and interactive white-board.
Another great website for school and holiday related songs is PreschoolEducation.com. This website has songs that go to the tune of traditional childrens songs. It is a great resource for finding songs for your themes and holidays.
As you are pushing through your curriculum and working on challenging your students, remember to continue to include the more traditional “kindergarten activities” like singing songs, dancing, and creative play. I would love to hear ways that you use music in your day as well as your favorite resources for this.
Keep singing and dancing your way throughout your school day!