It's time for another Readers Choice blog post. Today's topic is kindergarten music, otherwise known as How Small Children Can Deplete Your Energy in a Single, 25-Minute Class Period. As per usual, I'm speaking from personal experience and sharing my tops tips for surviving and thriving with Kindergarten music classes.
Tip #1. Behave like an adult, but act like a kid.
Could my first tip have been more strangely worded? Probably not. Moving on...
I played outside with my nephew for about 20 minutes last week, before the mosquitos tried to eat us alive (it is spring after-all). Our playtime involved "island hopping" across loads of rocks and other shenanigans. Did I feel like running around in the backyard with the mosquitos? Not really. Did my nephew think I was the coolest aunt ever for doing it? You bet! And that same concept applied to my kindergarten classes. I was the role model they needed, but I was also the fun-loving adult they deserved. In actual practice, this means allowing yourself to be goofy and imaginative with your students. This is your chance to tell all those "dad jokes" without having tomatoes pelted at you. The more your students laugh, the more connections you'll make.
Tip #2. Aim for character over content.
I know there will be some who disagree with this tip, and that's okay; in fact, I welcome it! Please share your opinions in the comment section. However, I believe that we are not only teaching students music, but teaching them how to be compassionate, kind, thoughtful, and all the other characteristics that make us decent human beings. So, if Johnny is tugging on Timmy's shoelace, and I only have five minutes left to finish teaching a concept, I will show Johnny how to be nice to Timmy, rather than spend the last five minutes teaching rhythm. Will that class be behind? Probably. Will they be more prepared to learn together in the next class? I think so.
Tip #3. Be compassionately consistent.
I really can't say it enough. Kindergarteners deserve the same structure and classroom management as other grade levels. They thrive on expectations that are clearly explained and consistently (but compassionately) followed. Don't be afraid to follow through just because kindergarten kids are cute, imaginative, and just told you that "you're the best music teacher ever". Mary Poppins is a great example of a character who is consistent, yet compassionate. Plus, she could sing. And she was always playing games with the kids. Basically, what I'm saying is that we're all within reach of being Mary Poppins, and isn't that just about the happiest thought you've had all day!?
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Thanks for reading!