One of the highlights of Kindergarten at EB is music class with teacher (and EB parent) Mike Roberts. From January until April, this accomplished guitarist and composer will spend 14 sessions of 30 minutes with each Kindergarten class.
In a recent session, you could hear the teacher's directions, but also lots of laughter and giggles as the students were learning rhythm as they sat on the rug. “This year, our music classes are taking place in the MPR instead of the classrooms, which gives us a lot of space to move around,” says Mike.
Mike is trained in the Carl Orff method, which is a holistic approach to teaching music to children. Beyond learning to sing, students are encouraged to express themselves using their body - either by moving it, or using it for making sounds - or acting. For instance, children are learning what high and low notes are by having to say their name either with a high or low note, and with either a soft or loud voice.
Other exercises involve acting out an object using body movement and dance, and later, doing this as a group with each individual taking part. Children, even as young as kindergartners, are sometimes shy and reluctant to do something in front of the group that they are not used to: “It’s really taking them outside of their comfort zone, which is how they learn!” says Mike.
Watch an example of a class that follows the Orff approach to teaching music:
Mike is excited to connect the work done in social and emotional learning with Madame Pacifique with his music class.
He finds that a lot can be done with acting out emotions, helping students express feelings, developing empathy for one another through practices like improvisation and any form of expression.
Later this year, Mike will be bringing music into the Petite and Moyenne Section classrooms, introducing students to movement-based activities to build their self confidence and awareness.