Lesson Ideas for 3 – 5 year olds
This month I have been working with 3-5 year olds in two Head Start sites.
Our general flow for a 30 minute lesson is:
- Enter to a line; Down By the Station (from Songs for Dancing) First, name each child as a car on the train before you start. Be sure to follow the train car in front of you; this train might curve or make sharp turns. End the train in a circle (floor marked with gym tape, dotted line, for the circle)
- Sit Ready Position. Review the tools we need today: Concentration? Body Control? Imagination? Memory?
- Do an opener (Welcome Song or one set from Everybody Do This (from Songs for Dancing) or Clap Along Song (from Step on the Beat) or Drumtalk (from AlphaBeat) Remember, you can do these with live singing (and/or a drum and stick).
- Do a Warm Up (First 2 tracks from Brain Bop) or Gentle Warm Up from AlphaBeat. I do the warm up without music, too, so I can change the speed at which I teach, and use visual supports to show the ideas. I recommend using Picture Communication Symbols (PECS). Check out Boardmaker software to see what I mean. I worked with a site that printed the images I needed. There are also some downloadable visual supports on the Songs for Dancing CD for 4 of the songs.
- Do 1 – 2 Concept-based activities (see below)
- Resting (see below)
- Transition to end of lesson, including lining up or going to our shoes
Direction (Forward, Backward, Up, Down, Side to Side) Sodeo (AlphaBeat)
Energy (smooth, sharp, shaky) Action Dance (AlphaBeat) and Popcorn & Melted Butter (Songs for Dancing)
Shapes (straight, curved, twisted) Shape Song (Songs for Dancing) – download visual supports from the CD
Body Parts Body Shape Jam (AlphaBeat)
Speed (Fast and Slow) – A Trip to the Zoo (Songs for Dancing) – download visual supports from the CD
I leave 5 minutes at the end to do the instrumental – only Resting track from Songs for Dancing that is 4 minutes long. As the children lie, in the circle or scattered, I take time to give each one a quick adjustment (as modeled on the DVD). I do this with lights off. Then lights go on (or not) and we do a 1,2,3, transition (if we’ve used yoga squares – 1 = stand up with your square, 2 = make a ‘pancake pile’ with the squares, 3 = line up or go to your shoes.
The mood is mellow, the children are calm, and the teachers appreciate the behavior.
I didn’t used to take this time because I didn’t believe the children would settle down for this. Now I know differently and swear by it.