From an article by Georgina Hood, who runs creative classes for accompanied young children.  
Related Turning Little Stones podcasts (Series 1, episodes 2, 3 & 23)  
Music and Song 
By Georgina Hood, Founder and Principal of Paint Pots nursery schools and creative classes 
Georgina Hood is guest on a recent Turning Little Stones podcast. Series 1, Episode 23 On the move…heuristic play and music 
 
Making music can be fun for both children and parents. 
I truly believe that all children are born musical with an innate ability to sing and move rhythmically. If you watch a toddler move in response to musical sounds, you will see them communicate something very special about their feelings and their outlook on the world. 
We know that children use body movements as a natural expression of their feelings long before they communicate with language. The earlier a child is exposed to an environment where they are actively encouraged to make music, the more likely their inherent musicality will be awakened and developed. 
Making music is fun; moving, listening to music, and playing instruments brings natural joyful experiences which are shared between children and adults. The ripple effect of bringing this magic into a class of parents and children is that it will lead back to the heart of the home where elements are hopefully replayed and reshaped together. It is very effective and beneficial to involve parents and carers at an early stage, as it allows them to interact effectively, easily and the entire family will grow musically. 
In my classes, I offer a shared music session for babies from 6 to 12 months, 12 to 18 months and toddlers from 18 to 24 months. At that point, they are ready to move to the nursery classroom, where music is part of the environment. 
The idea is that a relationship is established between the baby and the music, which in turn encourages the bonding of the parent and child and the discovery of musical play between both. The adult provides the child with an assuring presence and with a musical model. 
As the child responds, the teacher’s role is to model for the parent/carer and show how the activities can ripple out at home. The activities are open for development and extension by the young child – there are no expected outcomes. 
If you are planning a musical session in a nursery setting without parents present, it is very important to have at least one teacher in addition to the musical leader. This provides the children with a model and values the activity, as a distinctive and named session. In addition, it gives an opportunity to observe children’s individual responses and the whole group dynamic. Overall, it is a wonderful opportunity to share together the wonder of music. 
It is very important that the environment is arranged for a music session. My class is arranged for up to 15 children with their accompanying parents or carers. Cushions provided for parents and sitting mats for the children are arranged in a horseshoe. 
In the session, each child starts with their own soft basket with two pairs of instruments (one each for parent and child). Additional instruments and props come with each song or musical activity. They do not need to be returned after each musical activity, which promotes extended investigation and developmental respect…and becomes… 
a growing collage of musical treasures... 
Some important elements are: 
• Materials should be clean and beautifully presented 
• Songs should be developmentally appropriate, allowing room for exploration and development (e.g., 3 little ducks instead of 6) 
• The musical leader should be calm, gentle with graceful gestures and have a pleasant, sweet speaking and singing voice 
• Rituals (a few set songs to start and end the session plus a few regular favourites) as well as new pieces 
• Carers to fully understand their role - modelling and supporting their children 
• Respecting and listening to the children – if we expect them to listen, we must model listening! 
• Children are invited to participate however they wish, understanding that being present is enough for some 
• Think about the space between quieter and louder activities to encourage a range of listening skills, movement and time to relax 
• Plan a balance of activities to include movement, vocal development, listening and playing instruments 
A few ideas… 
Greeting/Naming songs & closing song 
A range of movement activities (bouncing, finger games, body awareness, still, travelling and singing games – with voice 
Free dance time to music (recorded or live) 
Steady beat activity with sticks or drum 
Easy to sing songs for adults to sing with and to their child 
Listening to a variety of sounds and music genres 
Working with props, such as scarves, mirrors, hoops 
Playing instruments 
Exploring and improvising through investigating the above 
Repetition (week on week) 
Bouncing Along – a German folksong 
Bounce a-long, bounce a-long 
Bounce a-long so happily. 
Bounce a-long, bounce a-long 
Bounce a-long and smile at me. 
Hold on tight, we’ll go up high 
Hold on tight, you’ll almost fly. 
Bounce a-long, bounce a-long 
Bounce a-long and smile at me. 
(Babies/children sit on their carer’s outstretched legs, sing the song, bouncing along to the beat of the song. 
Extensions may include accompanying the song with instruments - shakers, shaky eggs, bells or sticks) 
Bounce Body Awareness - mirror song 
I look in the mirror and what do I see? 
I see a face looking at me. 
I look in the mirror and what do I see? 
The face in the mirror is me. 
(Each child has a small hand mirror)  
 
Where to find us… 
On Instagram @paintpotsmontessori  
Our website The Boltons classes – Paint Pots www.paint-pots.co.uk 
 
Music and Song 
By Georgina Hood, Founder and Principal of Paint Pots nursery schools and creative classes 
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