Music for Getting Back into the Routine

Happy New Year!   Returning to school after a long break with young children can sometimes feel like you’re starting from scratch.  Here are some ways to use music to help get your kiddos back into the swing of things while also enjoying a playful activity together that fosters love, joy, learning, and connection.

1. Active Listening as Children Enter Your Classroom

As children enter your classroom in the morning, using appropriate music and active listening is a gentle, but effective way to get children’s brains turned on and ready for learning.  It encourages creativity, imagination, and using descriptive vocabulary.

Choose a piece of music from our Music for Active Listening Playlist on Spotify and play it softly as children enter the room.  Ask them to listen to the music and come up with a story that goes along with the music.  What is happening in the story?  Who are the characters?

Later in the morning, play the piece of music again and ask the children to share the stories that they imagined.  For toddlers and non-verbal children, ask them to show you what is happening in the music with their bodies.  Is someone sleeping?  Dancing?  Tip-toeing? Stomping around the room?

2. Body Warm Up at the Beginning of Morning Circle Time
It can be challenging for all of us to feel totally awake and ready for the day so early in the morning, especially when it’s still dark and cold outside.  Support your students’ transition from home to school with a gentle body warm-up before starting your Morning Circle Time.

Try something like Music Mary’s Be a Leaf exercise.  It’s gentle, playful, and supports natural mindfulness as you and your students are starting your day.

3. Sing Familiar Songs and Fingerplays
As you write your lesson plans for each day, include favorite songs and fingerplays from the Fall semester.  Nothing is more joyful and pleasing than singing a song that you know well or speaking a poem that you love.  Maybe throw in one or two that were more challenging for your students.  You might be surprised to see that it’s much less challenging now, even just a couple of months later!
4. Sing Songs for Basic Routines
We all know that singing a song for a simple activity makes it stick in our brains in a way that it just wouldn’t otherwise.  But sometimes we get so busy with other things that we forget to integrate this musical tool into our classroom routine to help with daily tasks and transitions.  Here’s your gentle reminder. Sing, sing, sing!  If you don’t already have songs for specific activities (i.e. washing hands, cleaning up from center work, putting on coats), now is the time to start!  Use the tune to “All Around the Mulberry Bush” and change the words to fit the activity and the time of day.  For example,
 “This is the way we wash our hands, wash our hands, wash our hands.  This is the way we wash our hands, so early in the morning.” 
If you’re not comfortable singing with your students *yet*, choose pieces of music from our Music for Transitions Playlist on Spotify to accompany each classroom task.