The Pre-K classes have been abuzz with activity as they prepare for the production of The Little Red Hen. While we love to see our little ones dressed in costume under the glowing stage lights, the process leading up to the finale is equally important and meaningful.
The story of The Little Red Hen became the central theme in the classrooms, allowing for connections to a variety of curricular areas including language, literacy, science, social studies and math. “Music deepens student engagement with academic content and enriches the learning community.” (The Positive Classroom, Sept. 2008)
Research indicates that combining music with the language arts curriculum is highly effective (Davies, 2000). The teachers created a literature study of The Little Red Hen. After reading several versions, the children were able to compare and contrast the stories based on the characters, setting, and story content. (If you haven’t read The Little Red Hen Makes a Pizza, you should. It’s pretty good.) While reading these versions, the classroom focused on retelling the story in the correct sequence. When children practice retelling a story, they are able to focus on the language used to sequence, such as first, next, then, and finally. Retelling also helps to boost reading comprehension, expressive vocabulary, and receptive language. The music of The Little Red Hen is also extremely valuable as it promotes listening and memory skills in a fun context. While children listened and learned the songs, they were naturally immersed in melody, rhythm and rhyme- aspects of pre-emergent reading.
Music also opened the doors for creative expression. A connection to the Arts was apparent in the classroom as well as in the Atelier. Children worked together to create the scenery for the production. Studies of birds and animals were demonstrated through drawing and watercolor. The children were also allowed to choose the character they wanted to be in the musical. This will allow them to tap into hidden courage as they express themselves onstage.
Each classroom also had the opportunity to connect the story to the greater community. The children visited Great Harvest where they made bread and learned where the ingredients come from, and how a successful business is run. This led to the growing of wheat seeds in the classroom, and the further investigation of plants and gardens.
The Pre-K musical is a favorite of mine. It brings the school together to culminate a successful academic year through a creative endeavor. Many thanks to Julia Comfort, Lee Walter and the Pre-K teachers for this rich experience. Dim the lights, cue the music, and get ready for the show May 3rd!