“A Great Teacher is like a fountain; she draws from the still deep waters of personal growth and professional knowledge to serve others from her abundant overflow.” ~ Wynn Godbold
Today I delivered my workshop, Musical Links to Literacy, to early childhood educators working in the Full Day Kindergarten program, in Toronto. I consider it a privilege and an honour to meet, learn from and share ideas with other professionals in the field. There simply aren’t enough opportunities to do this, but today was a professional development day and a chance to enjoy a morning of music making with educators who make a difference in the lives of young children every day. And it was an opportunity for us to explore music and experience it as young children would. We had a lot of fun, and I am very thankful to the principal who supported my efforts to make this happen, and to those who attended. Over time I hope to deliver this workshop to even more early childhood educators. Moreover, I hope that other educators will turn their own special knowledge and skills into workshops, so we can build and strengthen our professional network, and continue to help each other grow, both as practitioners, and as people.
Today, we talked about why it is important for early childhood educators working in full day kindergarten classrooms to learn what they can about the value of music education for young children. Not every school has a music program designed for the youngest children. And recently, when there was a chance that funding for music programs would be cut, it became clear that the front line educators – both teachers and ECEs – might be relied on to provide music education, particularly for those children who might not receive it otherwise. Specialized music programs, while wonderful, are very costly, and not accessible to all children. So it rests in the hands of educators in schools to enrich the lives of these children by enriching the daily curriculum with music experiences. We talked about how music fosters development across the domains, how music promotes the education of the whole child. We talked about basic musical concepts. And we put these ideas into practise by engaging in a variety of musical activities ourselves – ideas we could learn today, and implement tomorrow. Lastly, we worked in small groups and explored ways to connect music experiences to a variety of picture books.
It took a while for the opportunity to deliver the workshop to present itself. But I am glad that it finally happened. I have long believed in on-going professional development and the value of investing in my own learning, not only to improve myself as an educator, but to be a happier person. And I believe in sharing what I have learned with other educators. There was a lot of joy in the room today that came from learning through our own willingness to play, from being open to new knowledge and ideas, and from our shared desire to open even more doors to children’s learning. Being an early childhood educator is a demanding job – an important job – and it takes a lot of dedication to constantly learn new things, and to seek out new ideas to share in the classroom. The educators I met today were an inspiration to me, and I know that they are an inspiration to the children in their care. Today we took some steps together, to bring more music into each Full Day Kindergarten classroom. And that is music to my ears.
“Teachers have three loves: love of learning, love of learners, and the love of bringing the first two loves together.” ~ Scott Hayden