Musically Montessori: Start the Year with Songs. The Importance of Movement.

THE WAY CHILDREN LEARN IS THROUGH MOVEMENT! At least according to Dr. Maria Montessori.
You can engage your groups right away with planned Movement Activities at your Circle Time. 

“To have a vision of the cosmic plan, in which every form of life depends on directed movements which have effects beyond their conscious aim, is to understand the child’s work and be able to guide it better.” – Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind
This is the second article in my Blog series "Start the Year with Songs."

Click HERE to read the first article, "The Importance of the Hand."

Put on some relaxing music and show your groups some simple Yoga poses, such as "Mountain", or "Waterfall" or "Tree Pose." These can all easily be done at Circle while standing up and the poses take less than a minute to do!

This is a very helpful way to get children organized at Circle Time with a Movement Activity that is challenging and also calming. I have found that Yoga poses are a nice complementary activity to the "Montessori Silence Game." These types of activities help your newbies gain body control skills as well as develop ways of calming and relaxing during the first weeks of school. (or anytime!)

After you have introduced 2 or three Yoga poses at Circle Time, you can set up a shelf work with Yoga Cards, a card holder, and 2 child-size yoga mats. You can keep a music recording of quiet yoga music near the shelf where you store the Yoga Cards. Then, 2 children can practice Yoga poses together during work time. 

Using the Yoga cards, the children will not only be sharpening their coordination skills, they will also be gaining some pre-reading experiences by choosing the card, interpreting the pose that is pictured, and even "reading" the name of the pose and the yoga poem on the back of the card.

I really like this set of Yoga Cards for children from Kaplan. Click here to see a darling video of children doing the poses and reading the poems on the back! 


And here is one of my groups' all time favorite movement songs for Circle Time. "Yoga Clock" 

I've included links for 3 different youtube videos (see below) of this really fun song. This song is only available in cd version from Karma Kids Yoga at Amazon.

This is the way my groups do this activity:


Here is another way to enact the Little Yoga Clock Song:

Yet another version of this fun activity:

Looking for some lively and engaging activity for Friday afternoons? Put on your favorite dance music and have a dance party! Guaranteed to make the afternoon fly by...

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1. Set out several hula hoops in the middle of your large movement space

2. Explain that you will play some Freeze Dance music for the children

3. Invite the children to dance when the music is playing, but remind them that they must be listening for when the music stops!

4. When the music stops, the children must hop into the hoops and FREEZE!


Playing Rhythm Sticks

Have you ever tried having children move along the "Line" while playing rhythm sticks in various ways? (Ex: playing them behind their backs, or up high...down low, etc.)

You can also sing some familiar nursery songs (ex: "A Marching We Will Go") while marching and keeping a steady beat with the rhythm sticks.

Of course, you can also use musical recordings to guide children in how to play the sticks while moving along the line. (Ex: fast music=play rhythm sticks quickly)

Carrying a bell on a string

My groups have always loved having objects to carry while walking on the Montessori Line during work time. You can always have bells on the end of strings for a bit of a musical experience.

Simply moving on The Montessori Line while listening to recorded instrumental music

Whenever the children request, you can play some simple instrumental recorded music while they move along the Montessori Line during work time.  Adding beautiful music keeps the activity focused and calming.


Hand and finger plays that go along with nursery songs have long been an old standby of the seasoned teacher. (Think: "Itsy-Bitsy Spider") During these first weeks of school, my groups have been greatly enjoying the motions we use with the lively favorite, "Ram Sam Sam song"!

Check out my Newsletter for more activities!

If you are a subscriber to my Newsletter, you will enjoy my "Fun & Free Activity" in this week's email.   I describe the motions we use to go along with the Ram Sam Sam song and also how I add music concepts to further enrich the cognitive value of the song activity. 

How about starting your baby out with this upbeat little nursery song that adds large motor exercise to enchant any little one who happens to sit upon your lap! 

Learn how I do it,  in my latest email Newsletter!

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When you become a subscriber, you will gain the access code to my Subscriber's Freebie Collection with more than 30 free downloadable resources including my eBook, "Musically Montessori: First Lessons."

Did you know that my Montessori Baby-Ed eCourses are opening for enrollment on October 15th? 

Stay tuned for my early bird specials I will be offering to my Subscribers. 

You can check out some of my Free Sample Lessons at these Links:

Thank you again for visiting my Blog today. I hope you have gotten some fun and useful ideas for music with your children!

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Musically Montessori: Start the First Days with Songs! The Importance of the Hand

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There are childhood songs for just about every part of the day. And children respond to these sweet little songs in their usual adorable ways. 

This post is the first of my Musically Montessori series...
The seasoned teacher already knows that when you sing about what you want the children to do next (ex: "It's Clean Up Time" song), the children will do what you want just about every time! 

In my Montessori training, I learned a wonderful word/phrase for using song to get the message across: "musical messages." You can usually think of a nursery song, play a recording of a song, or simply make up a simple song on the spot that will guide the children to do what is needed to be done. 

So, if you're not using songs and music to help create your lovely little learning community from the very start, you might like to try  some of the ideas I have written about here. My groups have thrived on these musical activities year after year, and they work so well in the first weeks of school. 

 "A child who has become master of his (her) acts
  through long and repeated exercises, and who
 has been encouraged by the pleasant and
 interesting activities in which (s)he has been 
 engaged, is a child filled with health and joy and
 remarkable for his calmness and discipline." (Dr.
 Maria Montessori, 'The Discovery of the Child') 

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One of the first things we teach children when they enter Preschool is how to wash their hands.

One of the most versatile nursery songs I know is the melody from "Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush." 

You can adapt this song for your environment to teach the children how to wash hands, prepare for snack, put away activities, line up for transitions...the list goes on and on.

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Here is a way to create a song that teaches the children in your group the procedure of washing hands in your environment.

1) Decide on the procedure/sequence for your children to wash their hands (ex: turn on the water> wet your hands> turn water off> dispense the soap> rub hands together (make bubbles)>  turn water on>  rinse the soap off hands> turn water off> choose paper towel> dry hands> throw the towel away.)
2) Create the song for doing the activity:

(Sung to the Mulberry Bush Song melody while demonstrating the motions of each line of the song.)

"This is the way we wash our hands, wash our hands, wash our hands.
This is the way we wash our hands, before we eat our snack.

This is the way we turn on the water, turn on the water, turn on the water.
This is the way we turn on the water, before we eat our snack.

This is the way we wet our hands, wet our hands, wet our hands.
This is the way we wet our hands, before we eat our snack.

This is the way we squirt the soap, squirt the soap...etc."

3) EXTENSION: Instead of singing the words, hum them while you go through the various motions of each step of the process.

Another important lesson in the Montessori environment is the art of shaking hands. This is part of the lovely Grace & Courtesy Curriculum in the Montessori pedagogy.

The first time the child is introduced to this foundational lesson is when the child meets her teacher for the first time. 

Next, the teacher will demonstrate how to shake hands and greet someone in a group lesson at Circle Time.
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In the Montessori Preschool classroom, my groups have always enjoyed shaking hands with each other, too. Often, we have a hello song to go along with shaking hands to begin our day. 

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In past years, I have gone around the Morning Circle and shook hands with each child while singing a morning greeting song. Here is the link to one of my favorite Good Morning Songs.

Here, you can sing your favorite traditional greeting or even sing a song about shaking hands. 

You can try this little song I sing for two children shaking hands together.

(Sung to the melody of the song, "Clap, Clap, Clap Your Hands")
"Shake, shake, shake your hands
Shake your hands together.
Shake, shake, shake your hands
Shake your hands like this!"  

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Shaking hands is one of my favorite parts of the school day. 

Another way to incorporate shaking hands into your daily Preschool routine is to have a "Greeter" who shakes hands with each child as they enter the classroom.

I have always started out as being the "Greeter" myself. Then, after a few weeks, one of the children is the "Greeter" each day. 

When young children become accustomed to shaking hands as a greeting routine, it becomes an automatic part of meeting anyone new.

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Shaking hands when meeting someone is a lovely tradition that is often practiced all over the world. 

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Being introduced to this important courtesy through songs during early childhood gives children not only practice with an important skill, but also provides warm memories of their first days in a school environment.  

My conclusion for the first days of school: 
"When in doubt...sing!"

If you are looking for ideas for starting your school year with a lovely Montessori music curriculum, I invite you to check out my Musically Montessori resources.

Subscribers Freebie Collection

Thank you again for visiting my Blog today and I hope you have gotten some fun ideas for a musical start to the school year!

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Musically Montessori: Make Way for Music! Preparing Your Preschool Music Curriculum


One of the best ways to prepare your Montessori preschool curriculum & learning environment for the upcoming school year is to take a training.

Of course, I am going to recommend taking a music workshop or an on-line training! 

How about a fabulous deal where you can join a community of Montessori educators who are sharing ideas about organizing their classrooms for the upcoming school year AND get a wonderful 30-minute Montessori Music mini-training from me?!


Taking and teaching music workshops

I recently completed a one-hour  on-line music workshop at Age of Montessori and I learned at least half a dozen new things I can incorporate into my preparations for the upcoming year of Montessori Music Activities for my Preschool groups. 

And, that recent on-line music workshop got my creative juices activated for the annual AMS Music Workshop that I presented last month at Fountainhead Montessori Adult Education Training Program. 

While preparing to  present my recent AMS music training with FMAE, I was re-energized to do some more reading about Montessori's music curriculum that was developed by her colleague, Maria Maccheroni: Montessori and Music Education

Then, I dug into one of my favorite books that I obtained many years ago that was one of the original inspirations for my own Montessori Classroom Curriculum. This is an amazing PhD project by Karen Miller published in the 1980's, and I go back to it every year for even more ideas for music in the Montessori pedagogy. The Montessori Music Curriculum for Children up to Age Six.

Going to "Bootcamp!"

Now, after all my inspiring summer Montessori Music experiences and research, I am itching to not only set up my music Activities for the upcoming school year, I am also acutely in need of re-organinzing all my materials for teaching. (And, I have tons of materials!) 

Two years ago I enrolled in Seemi's on-line Montessori Classroom Bootcamp with the idea that I would check it out since I had been recommending it to my student/interns in the AMS training programs where I taught. 

To my delight, I got a gazillion new ideas for simple organizing strategies and techniques for me as a Montessori music specialist! 

These days, I don't teach in one Montessori classroom, but rather I travel around weekly to more than 25 Montessori preschool/lower elementary classrooms in the SF Bay Area as a music specialist. 

However, after decades of being a classroom teacher, I still get the "hankering" in late summer to re-organize, repair, take inventory, buy new supplies, and set up what I need for the year in an organized fashion.  

And, that's what I continue to do each year! 

However, I only have my tiny studio space (set up for making my eCourse videos) where I have a staging room, a small office, and my storage. And, nowadays I am working alone. 

Joining the Montessori Community on the world-wide web who are also organizing and setting up

So, first off, when I joined Seemi's Bootcamp, I got to join in with lots of Montessori educators from around the world who were all excitedly sharing experiences and photos on the FB page for the Bootcamp eCourse. 

All of a sudden I had a COMMUNITY of folks who were re-organizing, preparing, taking inventory, buying new supplies, and setting up their organization system, JUST LIKE I WAS DOING!

It was almost like those Prep weeks during years past when I was setting up my classroom as a Montessori Preschool teacher! 

Just what I needed.

So, I am looking forward to joining, once again, the other Montessorians world-wide who will be participating in Seemi's Bootcamp 2018! 

Seemi Abdulah brings together & shares her amazing skills in effective organizing 

Here are just a few of Seemi's ideas I have found helpful:

~ "Shelf maps" (Seemi's unique concept complete with a download to make your own shelf maps for your environment)
~ Covering inexpensive bankers boxes (for storage) with some nicely designed contact paper so that you can even have these in your classroom and they are not an eyesore, but rather, a lovely corner
~ Her use of a labeler machine to make EVERYTHING easy to read and keep organized
~ Creating a Cultural Studies Calendar: "Year-at-a-Glance Grid" that you can look at in a glance, as well as keeping extensive individual plans for each cultural unit (another handy set of downloads)


This year, I have been invited to be an affiliate in marketing this "go-to" eCourse for setting up your Montessori environment. When you use this link to explore and possibly enroll in Seemi's eCourse, I will be receive a monetary compensationMontessori Classroom Setup Bootcamp at Trillium Montessori Courses. (Thank you very much for your support!)

Oh, and Seemi has included a section in the Bootcamp for setting up your Montessori Music shelf! So, you will come out of this eCourse with a beautiful, comprehensive, and fully authentic Montessori environment for your group.


A very special "training-within-a-training" is waiting for you in Module 2 (Sensorial Learning) in the Bootcamp eCourse! 

It is an entire 30 minute segment during the second week with a portion of my Montessori music presentation from Trillium Montessori On-line Summit (2016) and so you will get a little mini training from me for creating and implementing your Montessori Music Curriculum to enhance your Sensorial and Cultural Activities.

Have you checked out my Subscribers Freebie Collection recently? 

I've added a few new resources over the Summer. They are waiting for you to create and place on your Montessori Music Shelf to celebrate the beginning of a new school year!

If you haven't joined my Subscribers list so that you can access my Freebie Collection, it is easy to do right here on this Blog, at the sidebar or scroll down!


Thank you for visiting my Blog today. I hope you you have gotten inspired for the new school year, right around the corner!

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Musically Montessori: "The Musical Balloon Garden Game," Exploring Pitch with Preschoolers and a Freebie!


Understanding the concept of "pitch" in music can be a challenge for young children. That's why creating games designed for children to explore this concept of high pitch and low pitch is a real winner in the Montessori music room.

During my Orff-Schulwerk music education training nearly two decades ago, I was fortunate to study with Janet Greene. She introduced us to some fun ways for little children to explore this challenging concept of "pitch" in music. 

One of her games that has been very popular with my Montessori Preschoolers over the years, is the Activity I call the "Musical Balloon Garden." 
Here's what you need to present this fun Activity to your groups:
  • An open and safe space for movement 

  • Various pictures of balloons being blown up and then popped and deflated 

  • A pitched instrument such as a Glockenspiel, Xylophone, Piano or the Montessori Brass Bells  

  • A small hand drum  


Once upon a time, there was a beautiful garden. (1) Not an ordinary garden! This was a garden of balloons. (2)

However, all the balloons were flat. Completely flat! (3) 

So, they had to all be blown up...(4)

Puff...Puff...Puff...Puff...Puff...Puff...Puff...Puff! (teacher pretends to blow up a balloon, while playing an ascending the scale on a pitched instrument)

Then, the balloons were floating all around in the sky (5) and up in the trees. (6)

All of a sudden, the balloons got caught by a prickly part of the tree (7) and BANG! they all popped and fell flat on the ground below. (8) (teacher or child taps a hand drum to make a bang sound, then teacher plays down the scale quickly on the pitched instrument)

Now, all the balloons had to be repaired.  That way they could fly up in the sky again. So, the balloons got patched.  (9)

Then they were blown up all over again, (10) and the balloons from the "balloon garden" (11) flew up in the sky once more. (12)

Every time these balloons were flying up high, they kept bumping into prickly things that caused them to pop! 

Then, they would fall flat down on the ground, and have to be patched over and over again... 

1. Start by showing the children some pictures of balloons when they are flat and then when they are all blown up.

2. Invite the children to pretend like they are balloons in a "Balloon Garden." 

3. Begin telling the "Musical Balloon Garden" story (see above) and have the children lie down flat like balloons waiting to be blown up.

4. Play up the scale (ascending) on the Pitched Instrument: Pretend to blow on a balloon each time you play one of the ascending notes on the instrument. (See chart below in this article: do-re-mi-fa-sol-la-ti-do' or C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C')

5. Invite the children to move from lying flat to gradually standing up until you have reached the high "do" on the pitched instrument.

6. When you have reached the high "do" (or C') on the instrument, then play a glissando to accompany the children pretending to be balloons flying up high in the air. 

A "Glissando" means rapidly sliding the mallets across the bars or keys of the instrument so that you are moving up and down the scale. 

7. As you tell the story to the children, the "balloons" are flying in the trees where they get pricked by a prickly part of the tree and then they pop.  Here, you tap the drum to create a sound like a balloon popping. POP! Then, you play down the musical scale (descending) on the pitched instrument, to indicate the falling motion of a deflated popped balloon.

8. The children then fall flat to the floor, as if they were popped balloons.

9. This part of the story can become a fun little game in which you go around to each child and pretend to repair each "balloon" with a "patch" so that the story can be re-inacted again. 

10. You will probably find, as I have, that the children love to act out this musical story over and over and over!


This set of Activities has been a great success in my Preschool classes for decades! It has turned out to be a really fun, hands-on way to present a first introduction to the concept of pitch (high and low) in music and the musical scale. (ascending and descending tones)

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