Children are naturally joyful, active, talkative, and energetic. As teacher of young children, one of our most important and challenging roles is to guide them through the many transitions in a day. When we prepare children for transitions and focus their attention in positive ways, we eliminate many disruptions. Positive communication is key. Dr. Jean Feldman shows us how to make transitions fun by focusing children's energies through fingerplays, songs, and games.
“Shhh! Sit down and be quiet!” That doesn't work very well, does it?
Hi, I'm Dr. Jean, and I've got a few little tips that might help you capture your children's attention, because you have to reach them before you can teach them. A fingerplay, a song, or a game is the perfect way to engage children. So, I love fingerplays. Before I do a finger play, I always prompt the children, “Show me your hands.”
And you will notice when I do these things, I'm engaging all of the children's senses. It's not just like they're sitting still and listening to me. I've got their eyes, I've got their ears, I've got them talking, and I've got them using their little fingers.
“So, show me your finger band! Now put it behind your back!
The finger-band is coming to town, coming to town, coming to town.
The finger-band band is coming to town, so early in the morning!
This is the way we play our drums, play our drums, play our drums.
This is the way we play our drums, so early in the morning!
This is a way we play our horns, play our horns, play our horns.
This is the way we play our horns, so early in the morning!
The fingerband is going away, going away, going away. (make your voice softer)
The fingerband is going away, so early in the morning.”
Now when you do a fingerplay and you lower your voice and do it slower at the end, it just kind of pulls the children in. But do you see how much better that is than, “Sit down and be quiet?” I’m engaging them, they're active with me, and doing something.
Now another thing I love to do— I love songs. And so, you don't have to sing or be a great musician. You just get the kids moving and have a good time. You all know the Hokey Pokey. This is one that they can do when they're sitting! So instead of “Sit down and be quiet,” you can say “Show me your thumbs!” Do you see how I prompt them? I get them ready.
“Show me your thumbs!
You put your thumbs in, you take your thumbs out, you put your thumbs in, then and you wiggle them all about!
You do the couch-potato-pokey and you roll your arms around, ‘cause that's what it's all about!
You put your pinkies in, you take your pinkies out, you put your pinkies in, and you wiggle them all about!
You give a microwave with your pinkies, and say goodbye today, ‘cause that’s all we’re going to play!”
Now I could have done other verses like—you put your eyebrows in, you put your chins in, you put your nose in, you put your shoulders in, etc. As much time as you have, you can extend these fingerplays and these songs to keep the children busy.
And maybe a few of them have sat down with you, and are ready for a story. As the others come and join you, you can extend these fingerplays and songs and make them a little bit longer.
One of my favorite ones, and I do this with children, is I say:
“Can you repeat after me?
Thumbs up! (repeat) Thumbs up!
Across the chest! (repeat) Across the chest!
Pat on the back! (repeat) Pat on the back!
Because you're the best! (Repeat) Because you're that best.”
Now, when you do that little echo chant with them, what happens is they are going to get centered when they cross their arms like this— it kind of pulls them in and helps them remember where they are. So that's just a good one. Let's try it again.
“Across the chest! (repeat) Across the chest!
Pat on the back! (repeat) Pat on the back!
‘Cause we're the best! (repeat) ‘Cause we're the best!”
And so the first time we said, “You're the best!” The second time we said, “We’re the best!” You can change these words. You can do anything you want to.
One other little tip, I want to share with you is a little prompt that you can use. Now, if you get a gift bag and you tell the children, “I have something in the gift bag that I want to share with you. Oh, it's my friend, Patch the Puppy. He says he has little tiny ears, so you have to be very quiet so that when I pull him out, he's not afraid. Ready to come out Patch? Okay. Here's Patch the Puppy, and he wants to see if you can do what he does. Can you do this?..... Can you do this?....Can you do this?.... Could you do it with both hands?....Can you put an ear up? No! You can't do that because you don't have ears like the puppy, do you? Can you stand up like Patch?....Can you jump up and down?”
You just make different movements with your little puppet, or your stuffed animal, or whatever it might be. So I have lots of ideas! If you go to my blog, drjeanandfriends.blogspot.com, and put your email address in, I'll send you an idea every day or you cansearch my blog.
“It is time to say goodbye to all my friends.
It is time to say goodbye to all my friends.
It is time to say goodbye, give a smile, and wink your eye.
It is time to say goodbye to all my friends.”
Friends, thank you for joining me. Thank you for being wonderful teachers. Reach up and grab a star and put it in your heart because you're so special.