Harker Preschool students have experienced some wonderful music and movement activities this summer. Mara Beckerman, music and movement specialist, turned her space into the ocean for an Under the Sea week in mid-July. Each morning, upon arrival, students removed shoes and socks to get ready to become waves and fish.
“We usually start with the song ‘Hello My Friends’ by Pam Donkin,” said Beckerman. “It’s a chance to welcome each child by name in song and for the child to stand up and do some short movement.”
The students took an imaginary trip to an aquarium, pretending to get on a bus and ride to the aquarium. Once at the “aquarium,” the class sang a delightful song by Tom Paxton that includes the lyrics, “At the ‘quarium, the ‘quarium, all the fishes make the googlie eyes and stare-ium …”
During one activity, students were transformed into clams and tried to move themselves with one leg , like a clam. They also transformed into swordfish and octopi.
In the musical portion, “The children had the opportunity to bang on pots and pans, always fun, but this time the props were in water,” so students could discover the difference in underwater sounds, explained Beckerman.
Beckerman also introduced the children to a unique instrument called a Tibetan water bowl, used in Tibetan temples. “You fill the bowl with water and gently rub your hands on the two handles,” she said. “The friction of your hands (assuming you’ve washed them with soap and water and removed oils from your hand) will cause the handles to make a low sound. That sound creates vibrations that affect the water. The water begins to move creating lines and when the vibrations are just right the water starts to spurt upwards like a fountain, or what I call ‘water fireworks!’” Students are thus able to see the ripples— or “see” sound.
Students also were introduced to a unique drum called an ocean drum that sounds like the ocean and each child made a small ocean drum to take home, Beckerman said. The trip may have been fantasy, but the learning and fun were all real. It was a great week for these young learners!