As part of my final practicum we had a lady (Susan) from the Community Outreach Program come for weekly singing sessions. The classroom teacher, myself and Susan working with the children with the aim of building the children’s repertoire of songs and thus going out to do outreach singing in the community.
While in term 1 the children were still becoming accustomed to Susan and her new songs, in term 2 the class began their history inquiry unit into Wars of the Past (primarily WW1 and WW2) and we began learning songs from this era. This was a powerful learning method as Susan had access to a large variety of War songs and authentic materials from the era and we were researching the topic in class. When pieced together the songs really brought our research to life and helped the children to really understand the feelings of people in the wars.
For example songs for recruiting, anti-war songs, farewell songs, welcoming home songs, we miss you songs and children’s songs.
I really loved this song and thus I took it to the Long Day Care Preschool room I work in each week and taught it to them. They loved it to as it was so catchy and easy to learn with actions. The week after I taught it to the class I found out they had been practising it while I was gone and asked to sing it again, which we happily did each week there after. One child particularly liked the song and taught it to his family (see reflection below).
Throughout term 2 we conducted community singing at the school on Friday afternoons. During this time we practised our songs for outreach programs, we taught and sang with the younger children in the school and encouraged families to join in and sing with us. This was lots of fun and encouraged parents and carers to stay after school and build relationships with other families and the staff.
In week 4 of term2, we went on an outreach to a local veteran seniors home to sing with them some of the songs we have learned. This was really authentic and powerful as the children got to chat with some of the seniors about their experiences in the wars but also brighten up their day with their young smiling faces. I never knew the outreach program would be so successful and impacting on the community, it has really blown me away.
Not only did this experience benefit the children but I also gained a great deal for the process too. I learned that teaching music;
- does not have to be done by a specialist teacher to be quality,
- can be more than just a school assembly/performance,
- can empower students,
- can be integrated in many areas of learning,
- can engage and spread amongst the community
This experience really epitomises the definition of integrated learning and truly reflects my teaching philosophy.