Here in New England, there are single digit days left until back-to-school time. The kiddos’ backpacks are packed, first day of school outfits have been chosen, and every teacher I know is buzzing like a bee, making sure their classrooms are ready for that first day.
As a music therapist, that means lots of scheduling and preparing for the new year and the fall season! Personally, I’ve always felt like the school year is a fresh start, so I’ve taken it upon myself every fall to learn new repertoire, create new visuals, and refresh my musical tool kit.
Below, I’m listing my “final countdown” songs that I’m learning for the new school year.
Some of the goals addressed in these songs:
- Increase ability to count up to and backwards from 5
- Increase socialization through peer interaction
- Increase ability to discriminate between left and right
- Improve ability to greet peers
- Improve transition to and from the school bus
- Identify school activities
I can’t think of a better time to add a new greeting song into the mix than at the start of a new school year, and this year, I’ve decided to add “Sing With Me Hello”. But seriously, I think this is my favorite greeting song ever, as it has the same melody as “For the Longest Time” by Billy Joel, which makes it so sweet and fun.
“Sing With Me Hello” is so much fun, but also checks all the boxes of an effective greeting song. It has opportunities for engagement, prepares the students and clients for music, and give each participant space to greet the group!
Going back to school is a huge change, and many children get to school by riding the bus. When new experiences arise, like riding the bus, I always think about the way we prepare and comfort children for new experiences. “That Yellow Bus” is a great way to do both of those things!
“That Yellow Bus” is a peppy song that details what children should do when they see the bus, and then what they should do when it gets to school or home! The song frames riding on the bus as a fun and even exciting activity, which also informs children how they should feel about riding the bus.
Our thoughts and feelings let children know how they should feel, so by introducing “That Yellow Bus” as a positive experience, we can help children enjoy the ride and not be afraid of the bus! I like to use visual aides and encourage kiddos to sing “get on the bus” nice and loud to reinforce the message of the song.
“Jinglin’ High Five” has been one of my favorite L&L songs for a while, and the new school year is the perfect time to bring it out again! Between learning how to greet peers and learning basic skills, such as counting, it’s a song that is ideal for the first weeks of school.
Before beginning “Jinglin’ High Five”, I demonstrate counting up to five and then back down, and make sure my students and clients know how to give a high five. Sometimes the counting and high-fiving can take a little practice, but that’s the beauty of music! I can repeat the song as many times as is needed, while the kiddos stay motivated and engaged!
When I’m preparing for the new school year, I like to have all of my ducks in a row, and that includes the music that I’ll be using in my music therapy classes and sessions. I know that these three songs will come in handy!
These songs will help my clients and students adjust to school, increase their social interaction, and reinforce basic skills. With my musical toolbox all ready to go, I can already tell that this school year will be a great one!
Let me know in the comments: what songs are you adding to your musical toolbox this school year?
You can listen to these songs in their entirety right here. Lyrics, chords, mp3, and instrumental tracks for these original songs are available for download. As is the case for all Listen & Learn Music creations, we invite you to adapt these songs as needed to best serve your students and/or clients.