Earth Day

Earth Day is just around the corner and so we have a special Earth Day podcast. An Earth Day story is accompanied by two songs to go with this week’s theme,

Teri gets us started with “Can You Sing Hello with Me,” a song with lots of actions you can join in. Next Scott and Jared sing “Don’t be a Litter Lout” which is all about litter – trash – and picking it up. The words are very easy and YOU get a chance to put your own ideas in the song. What kind of trash do you see lying around? I give some ideas to sing about in the podcast if you need help.

We meet our group of school friends again in the story, along with their teachers Miss Hannah and Miss Emily. The class decides to do something for Earth Day and meet in the park to pick up trash. But poor Zoe has an accident.

Our last song is a very short one reminding us all to “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.” Sing along with Teri friends! If you do something special for Earth Day, please tell me. I’d love to hear what you do.

Putting on a good show!

As parents, we want to be seen by others as “good parents.”  We sometimes put on a good show. Have you found yourself saying to your child “be nice; share your toys.” However, sharing is not always appropriate. An example I would often give to parents is this.

Jack is sitting at the table working on a puzzle. It is quite a hard puzzle and he’s been working on it for quite a while. This particular puzzle has far more pieces in it than any he has finished before. Finally he is down to just three pieces left to fit in the puzzle, when along comes Sally saying “I want to help.” Sally picks up a puzzle piece and is about to insert it when Jack yells ‘No!” and grabs it back.

A parent or teacher seeing this might well say, “Jack, you have to share.” But this is not an appropriate sharing opportunity. Jack is on the brink of a major achievement and wants the completion of the puzzle to be his own work.

So what is the right adult reaction?  Gather facts. Let Jack explain. That’s all it takes for an adult to realize this is important to Jack. Explain the situation to Sally. Once the puzzle is done, Jack may well be ready to do it again with Sally’s help, or turn the puzzle over to Sally entirely.

In my preschool, rather than telling children they have to share, we would encourage Sally to ask if she can help, and respect Jack’s answer if he says no. If Sally really wants to work on the puzzle, then her next question should be, “can I do it when you’re finished?” And the problem is usually solved.

So often adults are ready to jump and fix things without giving young children an opportunity to work things out. But children need the tools first. They need to know it’s OK to say no. They need to practice using the right vocabulary to resolve the problem. Our job as parents and teachers is to help and guide children to become problem-solvers, and resist the temptation to do everything for them.

It’s Game Time!

Come and play my game friends! Listen to me sing, then sing back.

 

This activity gives children an opportunity to listen carefully, and then replicate what they hear. With practice, children will get better and better at this activity and they match different tones with me. Participating in activities such as this, children will begin to sing in tune more easily and even get a little exposure to solfege.

Herdwick Adventure

Our Herdwick lamb friends join us again this week in a podcast called HERDWICK ADVENTURE. Scott gets us started with a hello song where you can join in with lots of actions. Anneliese then sings about lots of different animals you might see on a farm, and the sounds they make, –another chance to sing along. This is one of my favorite compositions and very popular in a group setting as children love to choose animals to put in the song. It is also very adaptable – instead of “I went to the farm” you could sing “I went to the zoo” or “I went to the ocean” and sing about appropriate animals.

I really enjoy writing stories about the Herdwick lambs, a little group of friends – Fenton, Ralph, Paisley and Madge –  who have several adventures in different podcasts. This story has Madge getting involved with paint. She gets quite messy!

Jared and Anneliese sing the last song together with Jared asking the question “What can I do with you?” and Anneliese answering, coming up with lots of ideas of things they can do together. You get to join in too, and you can make up your own answer to the question!

Spring is here!

It is finally Spring! I went for a walk this morning and saw leaves sprouting on trees, some beautiful tiny white snowdrops and yellow and purple crocuses. In my garden I can see the green shoots of daffodils, tulips and allium. Before long the colorful flowers will appear. The sun is shining and it is starting to feel warm.

Have you noticed changes where you live? In our new springtime podcast story, Katie goes to the park with her family and discovers lots of signs that show spring is on the way. As usual there are two songs related to the podcast theme. The first is a nursery rhyme –“Mary, Mary Quite Contrary” – which you may already know. However, I have added more verses with spring flowers and encourage you to make up your own verses. I love it when songs allow us to do this. Our second song is about a ladybug which my friend Linda composed. In fact, the ladybug song inspired me to write the story in this podcast. I had to do some research about ladybugs first and learned lots of interesting things about them!