A wonderful thing about teaching toddlers through pre-K at one school is that I get to watch a speeded-up version of child development, like time-lapse photography, whenever I teach.
The toddlers sit and stare at me, my picture book, my keyboard, and my puppets with wide eyes. Very few can clap on the beat or sing a whole song, but their excitement shows in their bouncing shoulders and their beautiful smiles.
In the two-year-old room, more children are wiggly and wandery. They know more animal sounds and a few join in singing new songs confidently. Unlike the toddlers, they’ll talk to me and make jokes. (Example: a frog in my story went “glub glub.” Mohammed said, “No glub glub! No glub glub!” and laughed. I laughed with him and said, “Yes glub glub!” Like most two-year-old jokes, this went on for several minutes!)
By the time I reach the Pre-K’s they feel like my graduate students – eager to share their musical ideas, asking questions galore, listening to me and to each other with more patience and respect. They’re much more articulate when expressing their needs – or pointing out their boo-boos to me. I love their readiness to jump on board with any new musical activity, whether I’m asking them to chirp like cricket or stomp like a bear – they’re boisterous, fun-loving, and VERY energetic!
It’s hard to believe that children learn and grow SO much in just three years!