Integrating the arts is a big part of the Beginner and Pre-Beginner classroom.
Poetry, music, and illustration provide a fun way for our students to develop social-emotional and academic skills. Every week, we pick a new poem, which we illustrate while we listen to a musical composition.
When we read a poem for the first time, we ask the children to close their eyes, “put their listening ears on” and “paint” the images in their minds. During the second reading, I try to be as animated as possible so they can get a better understanding of the meaning of the poem. Then, we discuss the story behind the poem and its meaning. Our poem is pinned on our morning board, where it is read every morning during circle time.
We love picking poems that have been made into songs because singing aids memorization at this age. Our two favorites this year have been “The Land of Nod” by Robert Louis Stevenson and “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost. The children got to illustrate their “land of dreams” and “winter woods” while listening to the songs. Poems and compositions are also played for them to listen to during play time or snack time. If the poem of our choice hasn’t be made into a song, we pair it with a classical composition while they illustrate the poem.
This week’s poem was “Buttercups and Daisies” by Mary Howitt. I selected this poem because our theme this week was “Early Signs of Spring”. We discussed how April can trick us into thinking it’s not spring yet, but that we should keep our eyes open to see the signs and remember that nature wakes up gradually. Buttercups and daisies make their appearance in early spring “while the trees are leafless, while the fields are bare.” The children then were asked to illustrate the poem while listening to Vivaldi’s Four Seasons: Spring. Enjoy our poem below and remember: Don’t let April trick you!
Buttercups and Daisies by Mary Howitt
Buttercups and daisies-
Oh the pretty flowers,
Coming ere the springtime
To tell of sunny hours.
While the trees are leafless,
While the fields are bare,
Buttercups and daisies
Spring up here and there.
Nikki Kano was born in Oakland, CA and moved back to Greece with the family when she was 8 years old. She moved back to the States in 2008 after living in Greece until the age of 30. This is her 8th year working as an Early Childhood Educator in NYC, where she currently lives with her husband and 5-year-old son. Nikki further studied Jazz and Theater at City College of New York. She is twice a Cancer survivor and is passionate about helping people, especially moms, engage in a healthy lifestyle through homemade food and therapeutic grade Essential oils. Nikki is also a homeschooling mom and a singer-songwriter. In her free time, she makes music with her husband, who is a music producer.