Category Archives: music

Music In The Preschool

Posted January 11, 2022

By Brigid Henry

No doubt you have heard of the many benefits of music for children. The list is long, ranging from helping children with language, math, concentration, memory and social skills!

According to current brain development research, music can enhance brain function in children. Playing an instrument, singing or listening to music stimulates the brain. This leads to improved brain structure with the formation of new neural connections.

Studies also show that young children’s involvement in musical activities improves their speech development. Learning music helps to develop the left side of the brain, which is related to language and reasoning. It helps with sound recognition, teaches rhythm and rhyme, and can help children remember information.

In addition, music can help with the development of math skills. By listening to musical beats, your child can get a sense of basic fractions and recognize patterns. Children who study music have improved spatial intelligence and improved ability to form mental pictures of objects.

Music can help with coordination, too. Playing and dancing to music helps children develop their motor skills. They must use their ears and eyes as well as large and small muscles all at the same time. This helps the body and mind work together.

Perhaps most importantly, music builds community. Connecting with the elders through music is something that is natural and creates a special bond. For the seniors, the ability to recall songs from their childhood is profound.

The list of the benefits of music goes on and on! In the classroom, it works almost magically to signal a transition or new direction. It is amazing to see the difference in children’s attention in response to an instruction spoken versus sung. I am proof that you don’t have to have a great voice for this to happen; children are very forgiving and respond well regardless!

A favorite activity in our classroom is painting with watercolors to classical music. The music is calming and relaxing. It can be used to relieve stress. We are always talking about and helping children learn the words to recognize and describe how they are feeling, and using music helps us do that. We give the children tools such as breathing techniques for dealing with strong emotions. We practice deep breathing with the use of a musical chime.

Music can also lift the mood dramatically. A highlight of our week is “Music with Gregg.” Gregg is a volunteer grandpa who comes to Inver Glen weekly to lead interactive music sessions. The children often ask, “Is it is a Gregg day?!” Gregg entertains and engages us with various guitars, banjos and songs. The expressions on the children’s faces as they participate clearly show their joyful engagement. Children who may otherwise be somewhat reserved lose themselves in the fun. When they recognize a song from previous weeks and are able to sing along, they are so enthusiastic and proud! When Gregg offers an instrument such as bells for them to use, the children are all in. One of the first times that we had music with Gregg, he allowed each child to come up and strum his guitar with his guitar pick at the end of his session. This has become a ritual; the children did not forget about this the next time Gregg came, and they eagerly line up for their turn every time!

A day at All Seasons Preschool is filled with all kinds of musical experiences. It gives children a way to express themselves and unleashes their creativity. The proof is in their laughter and smiles!

Dance to the Music

Posted February 7, 2019

by, Tracy Riekenberg

I don’t know how transitions go at your home, but at my home (and at All Seasons), they can be a little hairy. Young children often have a hard time stopping one activity to begin another. Even with 5-minute warnings, countdowns, and visual cues, children can get frustrated being told to move to the next game, activity, lesson, chore, or heck, even the next aisle at Target!

One trick for easier transitions is using music. When my kids were young and we attended ECFE, the teacher had a clean up song: “Bye-bye toys. Bye-bye Toys. Big toys, little toys. Bye-bye toys.” Years later, it’s an earworm that gets stuck in my head at home when we are cleaning up. I recently sang it to my 8-year old twins and they first laughed, but then joined in and sang along (and continued cleaning!)

All the teachers at All Seasons also use music and special songs to help with transitions. When group time starts in the Autumn Room, the teachers lead a song that begins with saying hello to friends and ends with everyone sitting down. The Spring Room uses made-up transition songs like “Come on over here” to gather children for directions. Even the youngest All Seasons students in the Winter Room know that when they hear their name in the dismissal song, it’s time to go.

One of the trickiest parts of the day at All Seasons is the transition with the all-day students from  lunch (high energy) to rest time (desired low energy). Like a group of adult friends eating lunch together, the children are excited to share stories, tell jokes, and have downtime with their friends. And this is great for social development!

But the hardest part comes when we move to the resting room right after lunch. Kids are still wired and chatty. The mood doesn’t immediately turn restful. Staggered entrance to the resting room, which depends on when children finish eating and cleaning up, doesn’t help the transition as everyone is busy looking to see who comes in the room.

One day on a whim, I decided to play some Beatles music as the preschoolers entered the room. I encouraged children to dance to the music. I set guidelines about what the dancing should look like: dance alone, no lying down, stay on the floor, jumping is ok, and most importantly: HAVE FUN!


It has been working like a charm, of course! It’s just another musical transition that helps the kids move from one activity to another. As counter-intuitive as it seems to adults, having

a bit of high energy dancing is the perfect transition to resting. The children are eager to come to the resting room on time so they have a chance to dance. They get some of their wiggles out so lying down is easier to do. They have fun — and get to hear fun music!

So far we’ve danced to “Twist and Shout” and “Birthday” by the Beatles, “ABC” by the Jackson Five, “Hound Dog” by Elvis,” and “Dance to the Music” by Sly and the Family Stone. The rest time dance parties may just be an excuse to work my way through my favorites in my music catalog, but it’s working transition magic I didn’t expect! And we sure have some kids with awesome dance moves at All Seasons!








Mondays on East

Posted May 1, 2015

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by Amanda Janquart

 Grandma Bette is all ours on Wednesdays. She began the year as our Spring Room weekly reader and has become so much more than that. We wheel her down the halls and into our class where she has joined us for snacks, listened with patience to preschoolers’ stories, and become a champion of their play with children scrambling to show her their latest creations. Fridays have consistently included passing around cups of popcorn and watching old cartoons or movies like Mary Poppins with the grandmas and grandpas on Willow Cove East. We have a routine and it works. Mondays however, have gone through multiple transformations – always with the residents on Willow Cove East, but with changes in the activities the generations share.

In the fall, Sue Hastings, the Activities Director (and talented musician and joyful person and loving caretaker) played the piano and led us all in songs. The songs were carefully chosen and bring out tenderness and reflection in the seniors; connection in the children. The slow songs, Home on the Range and Edelweiss, can bring me to tears the way they evoke longing. But I darn near sobbed the first time Take Me Out to the Ballgame was sung. It was as if fireworks were going off, the way everyone took notice and joined in. Music is a mighty strong bridge. I couldn’t help but see my own Grandma Grace whenever Sue chose How Much is that Doggy in the Window?

As winter approached, Rhythm Band started up. Shakers were passed out to the grandmas and grandpas and children took turns on the triangles, bells, rhythm sticks, wood blocks, cymbals, and drums (limited to two at a time!). We again took cues from Sue as she directed which instruments to come in and when. Sometimes residents covered their ears, but really though, the group worked hard and we sure sounded great most of the time.

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Spring has come and so have cooking projects and table games. Residents of Willow Cove East sit at the tables and children stand between them; a generational daisy chain. We have made edible necklaces by stringing cereal on yarn, dyed eggs, and peeled eggs, adding carrot ears and whiskers to make bunny eggs. On our latest visit, baskets of various blocks were interspersed at the tables and everyone kept busy, either creating with the blocks or simply sitting back and taking it all in. When I stepped back myself, under the guise of wanting to take a picture, my eyes started to fill up yet again. Good things are happening here.