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You probably still remember the clean-up song from when you were little. Or maybe it’s a lullaby your dad used to sing to you before bedtime.
All these years later, those melodies of our earliest years are still playing up in our heads.
That suggests that when you’re working with children, it’s worth taking a moment to appreciate the power of singing.
Singing can help regulate and calm your classroom, regulate children’s moods, and set the tempo for the day. It doesn’t matter if you’re ‘good’ at singing — as we’ve explored before, that’s a wonky grown-up idea in the first place. What matters most is that you’re trying. And if you give it a whirl, you’ll soon see how a song can make every day a little easier, and a little more fun.
In early education, singing isn’t a performance — it’s a teaching tool. And in this article, we’ll take a quick look at how to use it. You’ll learn why singing resonates so well with young children, when to use it, and how you can cook up a quick song to sing for any occasion.
Ready? Let’s dive in.
Young children’s brains are hard-wired to enjoy music.
That makes singing a fun activity, of course. But it also means that singing is a particularly effective way of collecting children’s attention, and to help them settle into a good mood. As a transitional tool, music works with any age group, and it connects especially well with children who might not be vocal themselves, or who are learning English as a second language.
So before we look at how you can use singing in early education, let’s take a quick look at why it works so well in the first place.
That’s why clean-up time is more fun with a soundtrack.
Don’t worry about whether you’re ‘good’ at singing
If you’re not a very experienced vocalist, now might be the time where you start to think, “But I can’t sing!”
Well, don’t worry. You can. Whether you’re ready to take the main stage at the Vienna State Opera is entirely beside the point.
I’ve explored before how children think about singing in a different way than us grown-ups. For them, singing is a form of creative play. They just don’t think about it in the critical sense of being ‘good’ or ‘bad,’ which is what keeps lots of us adults from singing.
So in case you’re feeling sing-shy, here are a couple points to keep in mind:
You can read the full story, and get all the best tips, right here.
When you think about singing as a teaching tool, it’s easy to see its use reaches way beyond singalongs.
That is to say, singing shouldn’t exist in the bubble of a designated ‘music time.’ Rather, you should weave it into your daily routines, and think about the ways that a little shared song can give a boost to the things you’re already doing each day. Having consistency is important — it gives children a sense of routine and predictability, which can be very calming and helps them self-regulate.
But what does “weaving it into your daily routines” really look like?
Here are three ways you can make more use of singing during your day:
So, we’ve talked a lot about singing all day long. But what if you don’t know what to sing?
Well, that’s no problem. Here are three simple steps to cooking up a song for any occasion.
You might play around with the tempo, or add a few more lines if you feel like it. But two lines of rhyming song are an easy starting point that you can put into practice whenever you like.
With these two rhyming lines, you’ve got a solid start to bringing more singing into your classroom, and enjoying all the developmental benefits that come with it.
Please note: here at Famly we love sharing creative activities for you to try with the children at your setting, but you know them best. Take the time to consider adaptions you might need to make so these activities are accessible and developmentally appropriate for the children you work with. Just as you ordinarily would, conduct risk assessments for your children and your setting before undertaking new activities, and ensure you and your staff are following your own health and safety guidelines.