“Will you be my partner?” I ask a child to come and grasp hands with me. I begin to sing. “When Christ was on the earth, …”
After we have sung the song half way through, I ask the child, “Could you go find a friend and I will find a friend, and we will do this again?”
All four of us swing our arms while I sing. Again about half way through, I stop and say, ” Will all three of you go find a new friend to do this with? Let’s all find a friend and do this together!” (I ask the teachers to help each child find a partner.)
I start to sing and we all do the partner swing to the beat of the song. Half way through the song I call out, “Freeze!” I ask, “Are your arms straight like mine? Are you facing your partner like I am facing mine?” (It’s not really important if they are following me exactly, only that this stopping point gives children that are losing focus a chance to re-engage!)
I start to sing again, picking up where we left off, with all of the partners swinging their arms to the beat.
When the song is finished, I give the children a count down from 10 to get back to their seat (which is their home base to help them self-regulate). I immediately start into the activity I have planned for the next song.
The movement and interaction of this activity is fun! Unnoticed by the children, however, is that they are practicing steady beat with their large motor muscles. In addition, they are learning to stay to the beat of the entire group, and interact with their friend in a musical way. Magically, the words of the song seem to slip in the back door of their brains.
This will be only one of the four different ways I teach this song to the younger children!