What’s so great about kids? They are just like sponges. (Not that they would wipe up something after they’ve spilled, of course). It’s that amazing brain in their heads that is so capable and excited to soak in all the wonderful knowledge and information given to them. Some like to learn from singing, others by visuals and some through group study and creative hands on work. That is why I’ve adapted my teaching to accommodate all different learners.
My youngest preschooler students benefit from the music/movement degree I received at the Cleveland Institute of Music in Dalzcroze Eurhythmics. I have written songs and used childhood favorites to enhance their learning by having them move around the room listening and getting their cues from the piano without verbal instruction. It’s quite the sight to watch how kids interpret a crab walk or a sleeping kitten! The best part of my approach is that they are learning about music without even knowing it. Walking notes, giant steps, tip toe running are all musical notes that they learn to write as they continue the class. Imagine your 4 year old showing you a quarter, half or sixteenth note and being able to show you how it moves! Those are the little sponges I’m talking about.
I like to bring Jewish learning alive with my costumes and puppets. Each one has a different story to tell; Leonard the Learned is a Torah maven, Malki the princess is silly because she only sings. Each puppet has a personality uniquely geared to him and they captivate the kids with their stories, songs and fables.
Shabbat is a very special time for youngsters as well. I sing Shabbat songs every week to enhance their classroom Shabbat time as well as strive to bring some of its beauty back to their homes to share with family. The songs include participation, finger plays and dance.
The Jewish holidays give the kids a real sense of connection to our history and traditions. Whether it be through song, story or puppet show, I dazzle them with the intriguing stories of our people. Many stories from Torah, midrash, (creative interpretation) and folklore, kids develop a real love and excitement for Judaic learning. They report back to me each week whether or not they’ve really seen a “Shabbat Angel” at their house on Friday night!