Here is a lesson plan built around three rich driving concepts
- a body has different parts – hands, thumbs and fingers, head, shoulders, knees, toes, eyes, ears, mouth, nose, hair, feet and lips.
- a body can become unwell and well again with common childhood illnesses – mumps, measles, chicken pox
- a body needs good food – spaghetti and meatballs; peas in a peapod; nutmeg and pear
And here are three ways to use a body
- small skilful movements as in body percussion, finger plays and playing instruments
- large movements as in dramatic play and dancing
- stillness as in concentrating on a picture book
So here’s our lesson called My Body:
Secondly, we get the whole body activated with a standing game of Head and Shoulders but add the mental challenge of doing it in a language other than English- in our lesson it’s Pitjantjatjara, one of the 200 Australian Aboriginal languages still in use – so we sing Kata Alipiri. It’s what we call a Memory Activity. Here’s the whole song in Language:
Kata, alipiri, muti, tjina,
Muti, tjina, muti, tjina,
Kata, alipiri, mutu, tjina,
Pina, kuru, winpinpi, mulya.
After this whole body movement it’s time for more skilful small muscle work with our Rhythm Instruments Activity. We sit in a circle and call each child by name to collect a set of instruments from baskets in the middle. Our instrument song is pretty silly. Aiken Drum is about a man whose hair is made of spaghetti – but that silliness just helps everyone relax. We let the children play with their instruments while everyone gets set up, there’s not much noise really and what’s the point in sitting in front of a set of percussion instruments if you can’t test them and play with your favourites?
After all that concentration it’s time to get up and move the whole body and in this the Drama and Movement Activity we use a sea shanty, Donkey Riding, for it’s strong working rhythms. It’s fervent call to action “Way! Hey! Away we go!” arouses a vibrancy in the group members and binds them to each other as a group.
Role-playing is next with the Drama and Movement Activity about the baby who might have mumps, or measels or even chickenpox depending on which visitor looks at it. The song, another silly one, is Susie Had a Baby and as it is derived from a street-game for skipping, it too has strong rhythms and a driving pulse that makes us believe the mischievous baby will soon get well.
Our Games and Dances Activity once again identifies separate body parts. It’s a favourite amongst many educators because they remember it from childhood -it’s Dr Knickerbocker. The whole body is engaged in large motor function for most of the game, but mindfulness occurs as different small muscles like eyes and lips are called into action.
The lesson’s conclusion, as always is with a Story Song when the children can relax, rest their bodies and imagine the world evoked by the picture book. In this instance it’s a scene in Tudor England with a Spanish princess and an hero’s escape by sea. The song is I Had a Little Nut Tree and the mood is definitely mysterious with its magical tree that bears only a nutmeg and a golden pear. Only sensible thing to do next is eat fruit and then go outside and play.
You can find all of these activities and the audio tracks on our website. Follow any of the links or go to the home page www.musicalchild.com.au and explore other options for rich preschool music lesson plans. Have fun!