Summertime. Encouraging Musical Play in the Outdoor Environment

Wednesday 20th January 2016
– Julie Wylie

Summer holidays are the perfect time and opportunity for you and your children to spend time playing and exploring outside. Your role is to be an encourager taking time with your child, experiencing a sense of wonder as you listen and explore together. The natural environment is a source of inspiration for creativity and aesthetic experiences so vital for us and for our children’s physical and healthy development.
Children and their parents or teachers can be inspired as they have regular outdoor listening activities together. As they listen to the sounds of birds, insects, water, waves, children learn to discriminate where sounds are coming from, identify what is making the sounds, listen to rhythmic patterns of nature, watching, listening and enjoying quiet moments together. Children value and become connected to nature as they explore, see, hear, feel and appreciate all the elements of nature.
A playground provides opportunities to engage in vigorous and complex movements as children swing, climb, creep and explore a range of sensory experiences. Outdoor play gives opportunities for children to be free to explore at their own pace, to enjoy quiet moments and become attuned to nature. Natural materials such as shells, driftwood, leaves, stones can be used as instruments, or to create a visual score. Set stones out in a rhythmic pattern: stones, stone, little stones, listen to my tapping stones. Tap two big stones together and notice the low sound. Tap two medium stones together and listen to the medium sound, little stones tapped together make a higher sound.

Observation of creatures that move, watching movement patterns of nature such as the waves ebbing and flowing at the beach, wind blowing through the branches of a tree can inspire the child to copy the movement patterns observed. Language skills develop as the child learns to describe the contrasting movements: graceful as a deer, light as a butterfly, quick as a cricket, as slithery as a snake, as slow as a turtle.
The child’s world is transformed through use of the imagination. The child can  can become the butterfly, the snake, the turtle. Many ways of moving are experienced as s/he creeps, hops, flies, gallops, skips along.  Spatial movement  is experienced at different levels, music appreciation, timing, problem solving and cognitive skills are learned. Enjoy sharing time together, listening, watching, waiting, letting the mind roam free as you wonder and reflect upon the marvels of nature.

Testimonials

 Thank you very much to offer a wonderful music workshop for Chinese ECE educators in Auckland. We have learnt so much music teaching ideas for babies, toddlers, over 3 and special needs children. Most importantly, we learnt the ways that how you communicate and interact with children at different age groups in the music activities. I was hoping I could be a professional ECE music teacher like you and help many young children to build their musicality at the beginning of their life.

非常感谢Julie Wylie能为我们奥克兰华人幼教老师带来这场精彩的幼儿早教音乐培训课。在您的课堂上,我们学到了如何与不同年龄组的小朋友交流,并开展音乐活动。作为我个人来讲,我希望我也能成为向您一样的优秀的早教音乐教师。我希望在我的教育职业生涯中,通过我的努力,能帮助更多的小朋友在少儿时期对音乐产生兴趣,并在幼儿园里学习到基础的音乐知识与技能。

Yona Yang Li, Scribbles Early Education Centre (Auckland)
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