I’m not a gifted singer, but I love to sing. I’m under the impression that my love of music makes my voice just a little bit better. Here’s the secret they don’t tell you in your education classes (shhh! Don’t tell anyone…) – Kids don’t care if you can sing. They won’t judge your singing. In fact, they will gaze upon you with adoring eyes as if Justin Bieber himself had walked into the classroom. Well maybe not, but close enough for me.
What I figured out quickly was, many children learn best through songs. Learn a tune and lyrics, and you’ve got the concept. This is how we learn the days of the week, the parts of a flower, our teen numbers, and most recently, the name of the ship the Pilgrims traveled on.
There is also something communal about singing. In today’s world of video games and 3D cartoons, the love of sitting around in a circle singing together seems all but lost. Not in my kindergarten classroom. When I’m asked what is the one item I couldn’t live without in my classroom, I always say, without fail, my iPod. That little baby sits on it’s dock and gets a full workout daily. Before the iPod, I shuffled CDs like a hardcore DJ, flipping, spinning, and slamming music into the CD player so frantically, that I broke a few of them.
As the rare male kindergarten teacher, I love showing the boys (because like it or not, boys don’t always love to sing), that men can sing. We sing loud and proud. The boys see the girls love to sing and even though girls are still ‘yucky’ – something in their DNA tells them, this might just be a good thing.
Every year, without fail, the sprout with the worst voice and no sense of pitch or tune has the loudest singing voice. When that child stands right next to me, it sometimes makes it hard to sing, but I do my best. I love looking down and seeing the face of a determined child. When you’re five, there isn’t much to keep you down. As I tell my class over and over, this is NOT American Idol and I am NOT Simon Cowell. This is kindergarten and everybody sings.