teaching to learn, means learning to teach

Posts tagged ‘dance’

After all the ‘nails down a blackboard’ sensations, it was worth it :)

This last week has seen a big push to start our ‘end of year’ gifts for families. Photos taken, frames made, collecting pieces to use in the kids art. Which means that I keep forgetting to take photos to share with you. Ooops.

During the year I made a mixed CD of songs for the kids, including their favourite Justin Bieber song. In fact, the reason I made it in the first place, was because there were often spontaneous outbursts of his ‘Baby’ song 🙂 Unfortunately, in her enthusiasm to get the CD from our room to the room we were all in at night, one of my girls fell and broke it. She’s been asking for days if I could replace it, but I knew I wanted to pick songs that better reflected the kids interests and kept them more engaged as well as extending their language and social skills. So that’s what I did. a new collection of top 40 songs that would bring my class together.


As I sat at home, sweating over the lyrics and content, trying to justify to myself the validity of making this mix, versus the bias I hold against this genre of music, all I could hope for was that my awareness of the kids, their families and their lifestyles would mean that this was the ‘right’ mix for them. My kids have shown diverse musical tastes from a young age. Each one responding to a different genre by the age of 1 1/2 that seems to reflect their current characters 🙂 In fact my 4 yo hates listening to what I term ‘kindy music’!

Today was the big day. Justin Biebers ‘Baby’ made it back into my kindy room. As soon as it started playing the dancers of my group rushed over and started their butts a-waggling and their voices singing! We had girls doing some very fancy stuff, boys showing off their hip hop moves and even a couple of guys who managed a sort-of waltz to it! As the next song came on, they asked for ‘Never say Never’, which had followed it on the previous CD but wasn’t included on this one. I was quickly forgiven though, as more top 40 tunes worked their magic in connecting a group of children with similar likes, engaging and responding to music with their whole bodies and language.

I couldn’t help but smile. In fact I believe I was grinning. *This* is what I love about connecting with my kindy kids 😉


Making up for the future

As a woman, a mother of four, a full-time employee and partner to an artistic inventor I find nothing more relaxing than sitting back and having my face primed and made up. Unfortunately, as a woman, a mother of four, a full-time employee and partner to an artistic inventor I rarely make the time! I’m usually the first to volunteer when the kids want to face paint someone else or when someone wants to play hairdresser 😉 So today we took the children’s interest into that same space. The place where you can focus on yourself, the sensations running through your skin, the look of your features in a mirror, the appreciation of new colours against your skin tone…

Where all the painting you’ve done on paper becomes an integrated sensory and artistic endeavour.

One thing that stops kids in their tracks, almost infallibly, is being allowed to play dress ups with Mum’s clothes and make up or getting access to Dad’s shed. There is no way I am ready to break out the power tools with under 5’s, just yet!

I dragged in my box of eye shadows and blushes, cotton tips and nail polish. A wonderful friend gave me her supply of AVON trial lipsticks, which are perfect for a group of children! Who couldn’t believe their luck when they were told that they got to keep the lipstick, to take it home for Mummy or Nana. This was probably the highlight of the day for most of them!

Now, I couldn’t have an ensemble of kids all dressed up with no place to go! That’s just doesn’t seem fair, no matter what age you are 🙂 So we made microphones and went outside for some singing and dancing. 

It turned into an impromptu show for the Koala group in the next yard and the interactions between the two groups was beautiful to watch. It takes real confidence for adults to slap on some make up, dance up a storm and feel confident enough to sing in front of a crowd, but these kids don’t know that 🙂

They think they are having fun and have not yet felt the pressures of social conformation, of hurt or ridicule for trying things outside the realm of ‘normal’. They are young and fresh and the face of our future. Let’s hope that they can lead the way to a world that is tolerant, accepting and inclusive.

Recognition for Reconciliation

Reconciliation week has just passed and I loved our stories, art activities and mock corroborees.

When it came to the culmination of our week, I wanted to make something special that we could display in our room and remember,  talk about again, play with again and extend on the concepts we’d learnt. But uh-oh, we didn’t have any brown paper! So what’s a girl to do, but put the kids to ‘work’ by asking them to paint some up for me!

Before too long we had far more paper than we’d need, which was also far more fun than using coloured paper!

After a bit of prep, the now-brown paper was stuck on to some cardboard shapes I’d cut out to look like people dancing. This was by far the hardest part to get organised for!

Once inside, we read the story of “White clay and the Giant Kangaroos”, which retells the legend of how the Aboriginal people of the Wiradjuri tribe found fire and how one man’s bravery made the white clay sacred.

The children followed me in an interpretive dance of the story, likened to that of a corroboree. We followed all this up by making our own dancing puppet people. Cutting out their ‘undies’,

painting their sacred markings with ‘white clay’ ,

decorating a didgeridoo, a piece of bush or fire hands like their characters called for

and attaching them to cardboard tubes.

A fairly complex activity, but well received and enthusiastically participated in by all 🙂

Once our puppets were dry, we took them for a dance outside. Re-creating our morning corroborees story with greater panache in the larger space. Because I was so fully immersed in the story and the moment, I completely forgot to take photos!

The theme this year was “Let’s talk Recognition”, inviting us to talk to our peers and to encourage us to relate how wonderful it feels to be recognised for a job well done, for a talent or an aspect of your personality that makes you who you are. To then take this thought and turn it around to see how wonderful it is to recognise other people for who they are.

Working with Kindy kids who are naturally open to exploring cultures and who have been celebrating positive behaviours and interactions with their “Warm and Fuzzy” sticker charts and through spontaneous play opportunities is a reward on its own.