Happy Tuesday! As I mentioned last week, I’m doing a Summer Series all on routines. This week I’m focusing on the amazing power or transitions songs and using them routinely.
The word “routine” often gets a bad wrap in our culture, poor thing.
Usually synonymous with words like “boring” and “predictable” anything routine can seem entirely un-sexy and un-desirable. At least that’s what I used to think (or was influenced to think.)
To be the person who gets up at the same time, goes to work in the same way, eats at the same time, etc. etc. is often depicted in movies and stories as the most uninteresting person who needs to shake up their life a bit.
But I’m here to tell you a whole different story! In my classroom – which I taught a two-hour, grown-up-and-me, preschool readiness class – I always said routines, not variety, is the spice of life for the little ones!
I watched the most exciting things happen for kiddos in my classroom as a result of having the same routines: language development, cognitive development, a sense of independence, autonomy and pride develop. I watched fearful conquer their young fears and excitable kids calm down.
My entire class was one whole routine. And then there were routines within routines – within routines!
As I mentioned last week, having the same schedule every week helps little ones know “what comes next” and gives them the ability to “tell time”. They can relax at school because they do not need to worry about the unknowns. I could introduce new concepts and themes, even new people, because they were all introduced within the usual structure and routine.
So – today we’re focusing on the routine use of transition songs.
Whether your role is parent or teacher you may have noticed that when moving one from one activity to the next – whether that’s “turn off the screen and get ready to leave”, “put away your toys and get ready for bed”, or ‘we’re leaving the classroom to go to the gym” as sort break-down, chaos or even meltdowns can often occur.
In school I would notice that it was during those transitions that a child would remember that he misses mommy. It’s all normal and natural – no one really likes change! But having a routine for your transitions will make them go smoother.
But it’s not just about using songs during transitions.
It’s about using the same song, in the same way, for the same transition each day. That’s the secret. And suddenly your transition songs will be your superpowers!
Like with the clean-up song – I used that when we’d clean up from free play which occurred twice in the classroom and once in the gym. Same three times, every day. When we’d go from circle time to the table for snack – we had a song about it. Same song. Every day. When we cleaned up the table from snack – we had a song about it.
I had all the children joyfully participating in each and every transition – every single class. And I’m talking about 16 month olds!
So today I have for you the song “Do As I’m Doing.” This song is wonderful simply for circle time and/or instrument play. It’s a follow-the-leader song with simple words and you can get a lot out of it using it in just that way. The lyrics are: Do as I’m doing and follow, follow me. Do as I’m doing and follow, follow me.
In today’s video I use it as a transition song – from after cleaning up to coming to a seat at the table. First we sing “do as I’m doing and march around with me”, then we tip-toe, then we sit, and then we shake! I get us moving energetically, then pull the kids energy in with tip-toeing, I bring them calmly to sit and then get a little energy flowing again once we are in our new position.