Recently I have read and article on ‘Raising Kind Children’ by Janet Clark, Susan Gable and Ibtisam Barakat. They talk strongly about the capacity that children are born with to act kindly and with compassion. More importantly they discuss the vital role of adults around children to model kindness and compassion if they are going to continue to act in kind and caring way. When Guy Claxton says so powerfully we must always be at our ‘learning best’, I am immediately drawn to the view that if we are to build strong, caring and compassionate communities then we must all be at our ‘compassionate’ best when we are with children ! Julie is without a doubt a teacher who so wonderfully teaches those around her about kindness and compassion. Here is a lovely learning story she has given to us to share on the ‘Kindness Blog’.
The Healing Power of Music
Ashlee loves to sing, and I discovered this very soon after her starting with us at Stanmore Bay Kindergarten. There she was at the play dough table singing sweetly to her self “Skinny marinky” I joined her and we did a duet, we have delighted many of our visitors to the kindergarten with our Skinny marinky duet-its a very lovely welcoming song, and Ashleigh has such a sweet clear voice.
The other day Ashleigh slipped over and hurt her leg. We had a hug and then a little while after she was still a bit sad about her leg and asked me to sing it a song. “Sure!” I said and I scooped her up for a hug and sang a song to the hurt leg. The song went something like this “Dear little leg, I’m sorry that your hurt, I hope you feel better soon, I love you little leg, I know you’ll feel better soon.”
This cheered Ashleigh up. A little later in the morning I heard the sound of crying by the slide, Kobe had found himself under a pile of friends who had tumbled down the slide together. I sat down and was giving him a hug when Ashleigh came over “He needs a song” she said “Yes, I think that would be great-can you sing a song for him?” Ashleigh sang the sweetest little song that went something like this “Dear Little Kobe, I’m sorry that your sad, dear little Kobe, you’ll feel better soon, dear little Kobe” It was so sweet, I was so sorry I didn’t have the camera or a voice recorder with me!
Since that day there has been more marvelous songs created. Ashleigh improvised a song for the dead goldfish at its funeral, and while she was drumming she created a two and a half minute long improvised song about a puffer fish going up and down-I know it was two and a half minutes because I filmed it! I can so see her in a band when she’s older! I want to be known as the person who recorded one of her first songs!!!!
What learning is happening here and how can we support it?
Ashleigh has the most wonderful spirit, she is loving and outgoing and she expresses herself fully through all she does-especially singing. I thought it was very kind of Ashleigh to empathize with Kobe’s pain and sing him a song. This isn’t the first time I have been really touched by Ashleigh’s sensitivity and kindness.
I will continue to encourage Ashleigh in her song making. I will see if she would like to make a music video of her songs, we could incorporate art and moving footage, maybe we could use garage band to add some percussion! Maybe I will call her over the next time someone hurts themselves and ask her to sing one of her special healing songs!
“Being a singer is a natural gift. It means I'm using to the highest degree possible the gift that God gave me to use. I'm happy with that.” Aretha Franklin
“Music is the purest form of art... therefore true poets, they who are seers, seek to express the universe in terms of music... The singer has everything within him. The notes come out from his very life. They are not materials gathered from outside.” Tagore
This learning story was written by Julie Killick is currently the Head Teacher at Stanmore Bay Kindergarten in the Northern Auckland Kindergarten Association.
What are the ways you are building a strong moral community in your early childhood setting? Are the values of kindness, caring and compassion visible in your place?