Monday, October 3, 2011
Music at home-Pathways and shapes
The movement focus for Lessons 5 and 6 is pathways. Our world is most commonly organized in straight lines, emphasizing efficiency and directness. When children have the opportunity to explore lots of different ways to get from one place to another, they enhance their awareness of the world around them, and develop increased agility. When a child creates curves and zigzags with her arms and upper body, she frequently crosses the midline, helping to strengthen her corpus callosum and the ability of the brain’s two hemispheres to communicate with each other. When we explore the space we have around us, we can create new pathways—curved, circular lines; sharp, angular, zigzag lines; straight lines, forward and back, side to side, and all sorts of combinations.
Like other elements of movement, pathways help develop coordination and balance. What fun it is to have new ways to play on the playground, run at the park, and think about different ways to get from here to there.
Other ways to play with pathways include drawing paths with sidewalk chalk outside or with tape or hook-side velcro (my favorite if you have fairly low-pile carpet. One roll can be reused for a large number of learning activities for years as a child grows) inside and following them by walking, crawling, pushing toy cars, or rolling balls (like your sensory balls from your home materials) along them. This is especially helpful in reinforcing concepts as a child gets older, from simple shapes to letters, numbers, spelling words, and much more. I've even used this when teaching graphing to middle school algebra students! You can also draw pathways on paper and encourage your child to follow the pathway with a dot marker or bingo dotter, or to place stickers along the pathway (good for fine motor development).
Our piano skill this week is making and labeling paths on the piano-indicating to your child that they're moving higher, moving lower, playing short notes or long notes, playing on the black keys and white keys, playing one note or many. There is no wrong way to explore as a toddler, and by labeling what they do, we validate their explorations and encourage vocabulary development that will later turn into playing music.
Have a great week, and enjoy all the pathways in your life!