The way you can measure a society's soul is by the way that it treats its children.
Nelson Mandela

Issue No. 19 - 3rd April 2006

Welcome to Kidz Newz especially to all new subscribers.   Kidz Newz is a regular newsletter with information and teaching tips for anyone involved with young children.  Please forward this to anyone you feel it may be of interest to.

Feedback is welcome.

Website Update

Please check out the main website at www.kidzfizbiz.com to see the new products now available including my e-book.  If you have always wanted to write a book, self publish or produce your own cd but don't know where to start, then this e-book is for you.  Or maybe you just need some inspiration?  Special offer - the first five people to contact me will be sent this book for free!

My PD Updates

ECCPA 2006 - 27, 28 May at Genazzano FCJ College Kew Melbourne.  www.vosa.org

I'm no longer presenting at this conference as I will not be in the country.

As I will be in Europe in April/May, if you have any contacts in the UK who would be interested in hosting a PD in early childhood music and movement, please let me know their contact details and I will contact them direct.  Many thanks.

I will be in New Zealand in October.  If you have any contacts in New Zealand who would be interested in hosting a PD in early childhood music and movement, please let me know their contact details and I will contact them direct.  Many thanks.

  Relaxation

Let me stress to you the importance of teaching the children how to relax.  Children are sometimes loud and boisterous because they think that's how they are expected to behave.  Sometimes it is attention seeking.  Find out why.  Maybe there is a real reason that has nothing to do with showing off or ignorance.  Irrespective, give them permission to be still and silent and teach them how.  They need it.  Relaxation can be done at any time but is essential following a physical session, otherwise they'll stay 'hyped up' for the rest of the day. 

Have them lying down on the floor.  Make sure there is sufficient room between each child so that they can't touch each other.  If they can they will and that will cause distraction.  Do a full body stretch and hold for a minimum of eight seconds, breathing normally, making sure they stretch fingers and toes, pointing and flexing feet and rolling ankles.  Then allow the children to lie still with arms by their sides and eyes closed.  They can focus on their breathing much better when not distracted by sight.  Ask them to inhale deeply and slowly through the nostrils while expanding the abdomen  (use appropriate language for the age of the children).  Hold the breath for a few seconds only.  The body should be relaxed, not taut.  Tell them to exhale slowly through the mouth.  Push all the last remaining air out of the lungs while 'sucking in' the abdomen.  Repeat this three times.  They will get used to it when it becomes a regular occurrence.  The benefits to them (and to you!) are immeasurable as they develop a wonderful level of self-control. 

Now that you have them lying still with eyes closed and prepared to listen, play some relaxation music and do some active listening.  Children who are unused to the affective aspect of music need to be taught how to actively listen.

    • Tell them what you want them to listen out for, or
    • Tell them a story of what the music is about, or
    • Ask them to tell you what they think the music is telling them. 

It is well documented that certain music can relax the mind and body while extending the imagination.  Children often lack the opportunity to use and develop their imaginations because their lives are so busy.  (This makes for highly stressed children.)  Children with highly developed imaginations are generally calmer and more self-reliant. 

A good piece of classical music to start off this exercise with is Pachelbel Canon in D With Ocean Sounds ' from the Kidz-Fiz-Biz book 2.  This is excellent because it is full of the sounds of the beach, which most children, if not all, will be very familiar with.  Before playing the music, tell the children you want them to listen out for these sounds but not to make a noise until the music has finished.  When it finishes you want them to slowly sit up without making a sound.  Make sure you don't say anything else.  You must model silence if you want them to be silent and appreciate the power of silence.  Ask for appropriate feedback eg 'what beach sounds could you hear?'

Make sure they have mastered listening out for specific sounds before you move onto story telling.  For example you might play them some relaxation music with a dominant instrument (a piano or a violin etc) - have them listen out for an instrument that they know well and when the music stops you will ask the person who has been the stillest and the quietest to tell you if they know the name of the instrument.  It needs to be something that is quite obvious and that they will all know.  Always set them up to succeed.

In Kidz-Fiz-Biz Book 2 there is an example of a story ('Titania the Fairy Queen') you could tell them before listening to The Spring.  As they listen to the music they can imagine the different parts of the story unfolding.

Finally, after doing relaxation activities for several weeks, you can introduce the third activity of asking them what they think the music is telling them.  They will all have something different to say.  Get them to paint or draw their experience (or older children can write the story).  For example The Swan from Carnival of the Animals by Saint-Saens (Kidz-Fiz-Biz book 1) is meant to conjure up images of a swan gliding gently along a lake.  I use it to conjure up images of dinosaurs sleeping or resting.  What do the children think of?  You can do this activity with any piece of gentle music.  What do they think of when you play Love Is Blue (Kidz-Fiz-Biz book 1) for example?

By the time they are well enough controlled with these relaxation exercises you can play 'wake-up fairy' with them (see Kidz-Fiz-Biz book 2).  In this activity a child is chosen to touch each child gently on the shoulder, after which they sit up quietly and don't make a sound.  This is an amazing experience but it needs to be introduced only after they have all mastered (more or less) being able to lie still with eyes closed for a few minutes of listening.  It does happen I promise you and you will be so proud of them (more so than you already are). Enjoy! 

Quote of the Week

Vasco Pyjama: What's worth doing and what's worth having?

Mister Curly: It's worth doing nothing and having a rest.  (Michael Leunig)

Entertainment

Six-year-old Angie and her four-year-old brother, Joel, were sitting together in church.
Joel giggled, sang, and talked out loud.
Finally, his big sister had had enough.
"You're not supposed to talk out loud in church."
"Why? Who's going to stop me?" Joel asked.
Angie pointed to the back of the church and said, "See those two men standing by the door? They're hushers."
Feedback

As a new Kindy Teacher, I am extremely excited about using Kidz Fiz Biz in my classroom. Having completed the Professional Development workshop two years ago, while working in Middle Primary and Physical Education, I can see the immense benefits that this music and movement program will have in my early childhood classroom. Kidz Fiz Biz caters for children of all abilities; I can already forsee that it will be of great benefit to my students with special needs, as well as extending the music and dance skills of the more capable students in my room. Thank you Marlene for putting together such a wonderful program, and making it easy to follow and use - the essential qualities I look for in any good teaching resource.

Lisa McClue, Kindergarten teacher, Our Lady of Grace, North Beach WA.

About The Author

Marlene Rattigan B.A., Dip. Ed. (ECS), CELTA

Marlene Rattigan is an Early Childhood teacher, a teacher of English as a Second Language, and from 1987-2000 was a nationally accredited fitness leader. Her background is in music education. A keen interest in motor development in children led to the creation of Kidz-Fiz-Biz which she taught successfully for 13 years. Marlene also conducts workshops for children, teachers and parents at schools, in the community and at festivals. She has produced teaching manuals complete with audio CDs which are an extension of her 'Kidz-Fiz-Biz' program.
Kidz-Fiz-Biz
57 Henry Lawson Walk, East Perth WA 6004
T: +61 8 9325 1204 M: 0410 64 2781 E: info@kidzfizbiz.com

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Until next time - continue being a legend in your classroom.

Marlene Rattigan, Editor
Kidz Newz

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