Three simple goals in Stuart’s work with early childhood teachers.
1. Increase singing with young children.
2. Encourage storytelling
3. Build a sense of professionalism, advocating for children and those who work with them.
Childcare and preschool play essential parts in millions of family’s lives. Caring for children is a sacred and powerful role. We all want our teachers and providers to be kind, energetic, and knowledgeable about the children they serve. We want children to be literate, compassionate, and creative, and we know that learning in the early years is critical to enhancing these qualities. Music and stories can have a huge impact in building positive qualities.
Music helps with literacy, too, providing an excellent approach for language acquisition. The patterning,the sequencing,the repetition, the sounds and rhyming, and the rhythm all tie into fundamental brain functions that connect to language. Movement is another language tool; every time we connect movement to a concept, a phrase, or a word, the learning goes deeper as more connections are made across the brain channels.
In the last thirty years, advanced brain-research techniques have given us insight into the ideal conditions for healthy child development. Singing with children provides many of these conditions, enhancing social skills, building creativity, and laying a foundation for literacy.
In short, singing is good for your brain.
Keynote and training sessions give childcare workers songs, activities, and strategies that they can implement immediately with children. Stuart also includes accessible and relevant brain research so that participants have some idea of the scientific rationale for why these approaches are important and successful.
Presentations are engaging and interactive, with lots of singing, movement, and participant reflection. People of any age don’t learn well sitting in chairs for long periods of time. Stuart’s understanding of how people learn is nicely summed up in this blog post by Jeff Hurt.
In addition to focusing on music, story, and connections to brain research, Stuart includes songs and stories from his “I’m a Teacher Not A Babysitter” project. This material is based on interviews and conversations with providers around the country, and it reflects joys, challenges, and stories inherent in working with young children. Sometimes funny, sometimes poignant, these pieces speak directly to the heart of the work, and are always received with good spirit.