Our community sang praises this past Easter to our Lord and Savior. From the young to the old, there is a song in the air of spring as we worship in gratitude the beautiful world. Our churches and the beautiful sunrise celebrations brought forth praise and joy for God in which He loves to hear our praise. In the different preschool situations where I am so blessed to teach children, we sing our Bible verses and lessons. Children simply delight in music and song. As an early childhood teacher, I love to sing songs to these children as they go through the transitions of subjects or centers. Children love and respond happily to music directions. They pick up so quickly on singing the song with you! Try it at home. I would like to review the importance of music at different early childhood ages.
Little babies are very aware of and sensitive to the rhythm, intonation and tempo of music. Studies have shown that infants can discern musical styles, and we early childhood teachers observe this each day. It is heartwarming to hear early childhood teachers in rocking chairs singing to the little babies. It’s even more special for mommies to sing to their babies. An infant quickly recognizes his mother’s singing voice. Children love to repeat familiar tunes.
I love to go into the toddler class. Toddlers are great imitators. With a smile and a wink, they follow every move of song with their teachers and parents.
Preschool age children enjoy music just for music. They love to shake rattles and bells, play tambourines and sing. They love to sing and hum when they are playing and doing their little jobs. They love to do moving exercises with music. Children love to dance, skip, run and jump to different rhythms. Familiar songs such as “London Bridge,” “The Wheels on The Bus Go Round and Round,” “If You are Happy and You Know It,” etc. involve children in the words and activities of the songs. These songs help in the language arts area of comprehension and the physical domain of coordination. Music teaches children to change patterns which connects them to math understanding, changing sounds, rhythm, tempo which helps them to understand math concepts later on. Using music to help your children memorize words, spelling of words, math facts, science facts, etc. varies the learning of certain subjects.
There are so many ways for parents to share the gift of music with children: waking up children with a happy song, slightly lowering windows in the morning for the children to hear the birds chirping and singing sweet lullabies relax children when it’s time for afternoon naps or to go to sleep at night.
Coming up on April 8, the sun, moon and earth will interact in a total solar eclipse along a narrow track stretching from Texas to Maine. A partial eclipse will be visible throughout all 48 states. Explaining this solar event to children, as teachers and parents we have to keep it simple. In a solar eclipse, the moon passes between the sun and earth. This prevents the sun’s light from reaching the earth. As the moon passes in front of the sun, the moon’s shadow sweeps across the earth. The sky grows darker. This can be modeled by using a globe for the earth, a ball for the moon and a flashlight for the sun. Children can be assigned to hold the earth, moon and sun to demonstrate this movement of the solar eclipse. No one should be looking at the sun during a full eclipse, partial eclipse or even a little bit of an eclipse without proper safety glasses. Please be sure you and your family are properly prepared to observe the eclipse.
‘Happy No Housework Day’ falls on April 7, which is this coming Sunday. Let’s all take a break from vacuum cleaners, scrubbers, brooms, mops, dusters and all housework. This is very good time to spend time with your children on a Sunday afternoon.
Last year, when I went to visit my son and daughter-in-law in Grand Rapids, Michigan, after the snows of the year, I could not help but notice how happy folks were, out in their neighborhoods smiling, walking, running, greeting and helping each other. It was like a spring parade to this Alabama visitor’s eyes. My son told me it was because folks had been locked up all winter with the cold and snow, and they were just happy to get out.
These past few weeks I have enjoyed being out with my little dog, Cookie, waving and greeting folks with this beautiful Spring weather. Not too cold or not too hot, just right to make new friends and be in God’s beautiful world. As a teacher and parent, I faithfully watched Mister Rogers’ shown on PBS. “Love your neighbor, love yourself” was a winding theme through all of his programs. He believed in outreaching to all people in a helpful way. He was an encourager and would point out that we have so many helpers and caring people in our world. “Love Always Wins!”
“Just Be Yourself” was also a continuous theme on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. On the show, he would lean in and really listen to children’s feelings. Children feel free to express themselves when they sense people are truly listening to them. He would address different feelings, like happiness, sadness and loneliness. He would reflect in his programs that children were to be valued and appreciated simply for being who they are. He would guide children to cherish the little things in life. Pointing out the beauty in nature, accomplishing simple tasks, being able to button up a coat or sweater or tying a shoe were the simple things for which children can and should be proud.
Yes, it is a wonderful day in our neighborhood as we adopt the simple lessons that Mister Rogers provided for children (and that we grownup children will never forget). Going back to music, wake up your young child with a song on your heart. Plant a song in your heart, as well.

Beth Pinyerd has taught many years in the early childhood classroom. She has a master’s degree in early childhood education.