I have had the opportunity to teach a class of kinder students that has been challenging, and when I say challenging it is one of those experiences that when I finish the class and sit back in the car I have to take a deep breathe.

Please don’t get me wrong I enjoy the class, but feel I am failing this group of 4 year olds

When I was first introduced to them I was advised “we have 3 students with autism in the class” which I had worked out as the class progressed, but that same old chestnut arose that the children without autism were following in their shoes and the class became rowdy and difficult to manage very easily.

As the weeks have moved on I have developed relationships with the children, but the quiet children remain unheard and the extroverted children are my main focus and of course I remember their names first.  Which is why I feel I have failed the group because the children who are quiet and introverted, ready to learn are sitting patiently for our next music activity and the disruptive children are gaining more and more of my attention.

So over the last month I thought I would test a theory of mine and it worked!

I found the more challenging and difficult I made the game the more engaged and attentive the students became.  I am so intrigued by this and believe that we undermine children’s capabilities sometimes.

What I did:

Song: Charlie Over The Ocean.

In order to make this activity intriguing to the group I had them sing and play an instrument in unison following my directions.  “Charlie over the Ocean” is an echo song so it is easy to repeat the lines.  The next instruction was to tap wooden claves together and then tap the floor as a rhythm.  The first week some children were refusing to accept the instrument so I moved on to the next child.  When the song started and the children that were participating started concentrating on the rhythm and singing the other children noticed that the music activity was the most interesting “thing” in the room.

The following week all children participated.  All eyes were on me as they sang the lines and repeated the rhythm.

The third week I didn’t play the recording, instead I told them they had to use their listening ears because I was going to try to trick them!  little giggles and oohs and aahs from all the children.  I was going to sing the song and they were going to repeat it.

In the original recording the song repeated the same line: Charlie caught a Big Fish

When we sung it ourselves we got to make up the lines

For example: Charlie caught a Black Bird

Charlie caught an Apple Pie

Charlie caught a Caterpillar

Last week I went to the class, they were all sitting in a circle waiting for me to start.  As I walked around the circle offering the instruments a couple of the introverted children stopped me to talk and ask a question.  The class continued and I noticed the quiet children were opening up more and more.  They had found their voice within the class!

I feel like now I’m making progress with this group of 4 year olds and hopefully music will be a central motivator in their life because they have become engaged and this experience has put all the children on the same playing field with everyone getting a piece of the attention pie.

We had moved onto a new lesson but there were requests for Charlie Over the Ocean, which I promised to do this week.

I would like to add that the Educators in this class do an amazing job and not inferring this positivity is all due to my 30 minute a week music class (just my observations how my music class has progressed)

I am so looking forward to watching how this group develop and grow and glad to be a part of it all.

I have a link below for the song if you are interested in hearing it Charlie Over The Ocean


Enjoy Your Day