Building on Children’s Natural Movements
It is important to remember that children of this age need many opportunities to move—to walk, run, climb, bounce, and jump—not only to aid their muscular development, but also for the sake of pure enjoyment. At first, movements will be uncoordinated, but with plenty of opportunity to move and express themselves, the children will eventually gain control of their bodies, and their movements will become refined.
Children around the age of 2 like to bounce up and down on a bed or a sofa. As they do this, it is not uncommon to hear them singing words to accompany their movement. For example, children might be heard singing “bouncy-bounce, bouncy-bounce,” keeping time with their bouncing. Some adults will scold or reprimand a child for such actions without redirecting this natural behavior. Why not provide some type of cushiony material, such as an old mattress or a gym pad, for this type of activity?
Have you ever noticed how many children run in complete abandon, waving their arms like birds? Have you ever watched and listened as youngsters keep perfect time while walking around the playground, dragging sticks behind them? Have you watched as they teeter back and forth from one foot to another, humming in rhythm to their teetering movements? An appropriate recording can be played, a song hummed or sung, or clapping provided to accompany these kinds of body movements. Join in with the children. Make it a game. Show your approval.
Music as a Support to Movement
Music should support movement. Children sometimes ask for musical accompaniment as they move about. A sensitive adult can encourage a child’s movements by clapping or tapping on a drum or some similar instrument. When accompanying children’s movements, synchronize the accompaniment to the tempo of the movements. When working with preschoolers, teachers need to accommodate the child’s own rhythm rather than have the child conform to the beat. This can be done by first watching and listening to children as they clap, tap, walk, tiptoe, and the like, then providing accompaniment that matches the child’s own body rhythm.
Traditional songs for young children are popular because they encourage movement. “Patty Cake, Patty Cake” encourages children and adults to play a movement game together. “London Bridge” fosters cooperation and communication because you can’t fall down or “lock ’er up” by yourself. “The Farmer in the Dell” encourages children to understand and focus on relationships as children take a wife, a dog, a cat, and a mouse (Moore, 2000).
© ______ 2005, Merrill, an imprint of Pearson Education Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The reproduction, duplication, or distribution of this material by any means including but not limited to email and blogs is strictly prohibited without the explicit permission of the publisher.
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