Musically Montessori: Day 3: Musical Ways to Manage Daily Routines in the Montessori Classroom


Using music and songs can make your classroom procedures go along effortlessly and very proficiently. Singing is my magic wand for managing the everyday activities in the Montessori environment.

This post is my musical group management article "Day 3," the third in my "24 Strategies" series. 

            You can read "Day 1" at this link. 

            You can read "Day 2" at this link.

Watch for "Day 4," coming up next! 

Today's activities feature my musical ideas for reinforcing the daily routine activities that make a classroom move along smoothly. 


A little child's brain is like a "absorbent mind." I think this is one of the most exciting things about teaching young children. As Montessori educators, we actually don't need to teach, as much as "show, show, show!" This little phrase was brought up many times during my Montessori training many years ago and, as a new teacher, I spent most of my days, showing and showing and showing. So, I decided to accompany all this "showing" with singing and I discovered that it works like magic!

DAY 3: 
There are so many components of the Montessori method that incorporate the principles of order, concentration, coordination, and independence. 

Montessori children take care of the environment themselves. Their tools are child-size and in good working order.  Each activity has an organized sequence to follow. Classroom procedures are well-defined and designed in such a way that the children can perform them without adult assistance. Each child sets up their individual work on a designated work rug or mat. Then, it is that child's responsibility to return their individual work to its place on the shelf. Children are encouraged to respect others' work, and it is understood that each child is allowed to complete their activity before the next child has a turn.

Songs can make some of these daily procedures easier for children to remember and follow, like for example:
  • Setting up the work rug or mat
  • Waiting in line
  • Waiting for a turn
  • Washing hands and self care
  • Cleaning up
  • Maintaining the environment
  • Preparing food and eating together

Strategy #10 

I am surprised when I notice that very few classrooms teach the song, "Roll, roll, roll the Rug" to the children to remind them of how to successfully roll up a Montessori work rug.

When I was taking my second Montessori training in the 2000's, I learned this cute little musical trick for teaching children the technique of rolling and tapping the ends of the work rug.

The song is sung to the melody of "Row, row, row your Boat."

When presenting the lesson, the teacher is showing the children how to roll the rug while she sings the words of the song.

The rug rolling song uses these words:
"Roll, roll, roll the rug
Roll it nice and straight,
Tap the ends, tap the ends
Make sure that it is straight."

I love to sing this song whenever I see a child rolling up a rug. It is a delightful way to reinforce the lesson!

Strategy #11 

Okay, there are a gazillion little actions throughout each day that keep the Preschool environment running smoothly. 
Children must wash their hands, set up the snack table, sweep up crumbs on the floor, carry scissors, sit at circle, put away art work, scrub an art mat, put on an apron, cut a banana, carry a tray, hold a pencil...the list is endless!

When presenting the procedures for the various tasks that keep the classroom running smoothly, I almost always include a little song about the actions of the procedures. These songs can be short and sweet, or they can also have several verses. 

For example, washing hands has many steps and I sing about each one when I give the first lessons to the children at Circle Time.

If you don't know the song, "Here we go Round the Mulberry Bush" then you are in for a treat!  The simple melody of this song works beautifully with just about any set of actions you can think of!

Example: "Washing Hands Song" (to the melody of Mulberry Bush song)

While singing the words, the teacher is showing the children the actions by pantomiming (or actually doing it at the sink)

Verse 1:
"This is the way we wash our hands, 
wash our hands, wash our hands. 
This is the way we wash our hands, 
so early in the morning.

Verse 2:
This is the way we turn on the water, 
turn on the water, turn on the water,
This is the way we wet our hands,
so early in the morning.

Verse 3:
This is the way we pump the soap... (etc.)

Verse 4:
This is the way we rub hands together... (etc.)

Verse 5:
This is the way we rinse the soap off... (etc.)

Verse 6:
This is the way we turn off the water... (etc.)

Verse 7:
This is the way we dry our hands... (etc.)

Verse 8:
This is the way we throw away the paper towel... (etc.)

Strategy #12 

Every early childhood environment I have seen, has a little procedure for eating together. 

First, the children are encouraged to wait until everyone is seated with their food.

Next, there is a simple way of settling and getting quiet. 

I like to sing a simple "Thank You Song" that is sung to the melody of "Rain, rain, Go Away."

Here are the words I like best: (sung to Rain, Rain song melody)
"Thank you, thank you 
Thank you for the snack,
Thank you, thank you
Thank you very much!"
Then we say (as opposed to singing) "Bon a petit, you may eat!"

This little musical moment of centering before eating together quickly becomes a classroom tradition and aids the children in remembering to stop, wait for everyone to get their food, and then to quiet down before taking that first bite!

Strategy #13 
TAKING TURNS: "We're waiting..."
Okay...we all know how trying it can be to have to wait! And, little children spend quite a bit of time waiting. At school, there is waiting in line, waiting for a turn, waiting to eat or waiting to go to the next activity. There are even times when it is so very hard to when the muffins are baking in the oven!

In my Montessori classroom music lessons, we sometimes have a special instrument that is passed around the circle for each child to try out. A few years ago, I discovered a sweet and simple little song to sing during times when children are having to wait for their turn to play that special instrument. 

My groups love singing it. Check out my video below to hear the "We're Waiting" Song  

You can easily change the words in the song to fit the situation. For example, we sing "We're Passing...passing...passing very carefully!" to remind the children to keep passing whatever object is being explored at group time. 

Here's a fun suggestion:

Turn the waiting time into an activity by singing, "We're clapping, clapping, clapping while we wait in line..."!

So here we have a few more musical ideas for classroom management with a gentle touch! 

Thanks once again for visiting my Blog today and I hope you are getting lots of ideas for musically managing your group in your Preschool environment!

Have you joined my email list? When you become a subscriber, you can access my Subscribers Freebie Collection (30+ downloadable resources, including my eBook!)


You can sign up on the side bar of this blog or scroll down to the end of this article if you are on a mobile device.

Photos are from Magical Movement Company archives and from Adobe Stock. All rights reserved.

View Post

Musically Montessori: Day 2: Music Activities For Managing Behavior ~ Grace & Courtesy Lessons


This article is "Day 2," the second article in my "24 Strategies" series.  Read "Day 1" at this link. 

Watch for "Day 3," coming up next! 

Today's activities feature my musical ideas for promoting grace & courtesy skills that encourage positive behavior.  

Photo by J J Idarius Photography


*"Teach" by your example*
One of the most effective ways to teach children the social graces is by your own example. They will naturally and spontaneously act the way the adults around them act. 

As teachers, we are trained to behave respectfully towards children, as well as other adults in the environment. A day in the Montessori classroom will have times for greeting & shaking hands, introducing ourselves to visitors, asking for things, apologizing, walking around others and their work, lining up, eating meals together, taking turns, and the list goes on and on!

*Don't force it*
My one rule of thumb in the classroom is not to force children to say "please", "thank you", and especially "I'm sorry."

However, consistently giving the children the language of grace and courtesy will be very effective. Songs and musical games can reinforce polite and positive interactions in a playful and fun way. 

Also, I have seen that children retain information when they have little songs to remind them.

*Be aware of cultural differences 
regarding social graces*
There are some families whose background may differ from the teacher's. (For example: Some cultures expect children to avoid making eye contact with adults, considering this to be disrespectful.) 

It is important for us, as teachers, to find out about any cultural differences in our groups that influence the children's grace and courtesy practices. Then, we can give our Grace & Courtesy Lessons in mindful ways.

DAY 2: 
Personally, I love the classic Montessori lessons in Grace & Courtesy. When I was a classroom teacher, I always looked forward to giving these lessons during the first weeks of school. They are foundational in classroom management and the Lessons can be fun and effective, through music & movement!

My co-teacher and I would create little scenarios to present to the children. We would "dramatize" scenes like:  
  • walking around The Circle as opposed to walking in front of others when children are gathered in a group 
  • greeting each other and shaking hands
  • listening and waiting for your turn to speak
  • asking for things
  • sitting at snack or lunch
  • waiting in line
  • taking turns
  • walking around the work rug
  • and, most importantly: how to give a "message" to others who are being hurtful
Here are some musical ways to present and reinforce some of the Montessori lessons in grace & courtesy:

Strategy #5.  

One of my favorite songs for reminding children to walk around the group when children are gathered for Circle Time, is a song from Frank Leto that I have adapted as a simple reminder.

 "Walk Around the Circle" is a fun song to  play for the children as they move to the actions of the words. Then, I use the melody to simply sing the phrase "Walk around the circle" when showing children how to walk behind the sitting children. Later, whenever a reminder is necessary, I spontaneously sing the phrase, instead of saying it to the child.

Strategy #6.  

The little "drama lessons" that are shown at The Circle are delightful for the children, especially when the children are given turns to act these scenarios out themselves. 

Saying "please" when asking for something, then remembering to say "thank you" is so important in life! Children hear this over and over from all the adults around them. 

What is even more effective for reminding children of these "magic words" is singing them! 

You can view this little collection of short Youtube videos for ideas of how to remind the children in fun ways that will stick in their minds.

My groups LOVE using sign language for 
"please" and "thank you." 

This little song is simple and effective 
any time throughout the day:

This is a traditional "please and thank you song" that is fun to do at group time.  Here is a fun EXTENSION: You can pass around plastic veggies, fruit, and other play foods (or even butter) to enhance the song with actions!

Strategy #7. 

*When children hurt others...*

For many years, I have worked at Fountainhead Montessori School, as a teacher, a site director and nowadays I am an AMS teacher trainer with their FMAE program.

A phrase that we use with the children throughout the day is: "Did you give him/her a message?" or "Did you hear her/his message?"

These are the phrases we use to remind children to speak up to the child who is hurting. (give a message) We go on to suggest words (messages) for the child to say. An example is: "Please don't push me!"

*Teach children how to give effective "messages"*

One of my favorite songs about this topic is Woody Guthrie's "Don't You Push Me." The recording is fun to sing along with. Then, you can sing this song without the recording and  change the words a bit, adding "please," so the children sing,  "Please don't push me, push me, push me. Don't you push me down." 

You can easily incorporate this little song into your drama-demonstration during your Grace & Courtesy Lessons about what to do when someone hurts you.

And, you can substitute other words, such as "don't kick me", or "don't call me names", etc.

Strategy #8. 

An integral part of developing social graces is learning how to listen. Children deserve lots of practice with developing their abilities to listen attentively. And, this practicing is most effective when it takes the form of a game for the children. 

Focused listening activities can take many forms, including an extension of the "Montessori Silence Game." Before going into the silence, you can ask the children to listen for what sounds they hear during the Silence Game. I like to open a window so that children might hear birds singing or the wind blowing!

There are many "What's That Sound" listening games, such as "Mystery Bags" filled with various everyday household items. The children close their eyes while the teacher makes a sound with one of the objects from the bag (ex: shaking keys). Then, the children guess what made the sound. You can vary the objects in the Mystery Bag, for example: using a variety of rhythm instruments. You can even ditch the bag and simply play the game with sounds that you make with the body (ex: coughing, clapping hands, clicking tongue etc.)

"What's That Sound" Games are some of the most effective strategies for helping children sharpen their listening skills.

You'll find complete Montessori lesson plans for these kinds of listening games (& more!) in my upcoming eBook. 
Become one of my subscribers, and you'll be the first to be notified when my book is's coming soon!


Strategy #9. 
Movement Song

During my Orff-Schulwerk training for children's music education, I learned a delightful song that works so well in the Preschool classroom. "We're Following the Queen" is a sweet and simple song with a lovely movement component. 

Basically, it is a "Follow the Leader" sort of game. However, the children actually do follow the leader who is walking carefully throughout the environment. The leader becomes "the queen" (or "king") and moves through the classroom while the children follow in a line behind her. (or him) When the queen is leading the line of children, she is modeling to the children how to move carefully and not bumping into furniture or other people!

One group management goal of the Montessori Preschool teacher  is to give the children skill in moving about the environment with grace and respect for others. So, this little movement song works beautifully for that goal.

Here are the words I sing: "We're following the queen. ~ Following, following. ~We're following the queen. ~Wherever she may go!"
The melody is from the song, "Following the Leader" from Peter Pan. You can hear/watch  this scene from the movie at this link:"Youtube". I prefer these lyrics to the ones from the original movie.

Here is a nice touch: add a crown for the "queen." 
Here is a fun EXTENSION: Later, after the group has had experience following the teacher throughout the classroom, then one of the children can be the "queen" or "king," and the others can follow.

Thank you again for visiting my Blog today. I hope you have been getting some new ideas for your Group Management Strategies with a musical twist!

View Post

Musically Montessori: Day 1: "24 Strategies" for Group Management Through Music!


Here is what I have for you: "24 Strategies" ~5 Days of My Group Management Secrets of Success ~ they are musical, effective and there are 24 different strategies you can use! 

This article is "Day 1," the first article in my "24 Strategies" series. Watch for "Day 2," coming up next!

Photo credit
After hearing from my AMS interns in a recent Montessori training I taught, I found that many new teachers are searching for group management strategies that really work. 

So, I decided to gather up my own best group management strategies and present them to you in a five day succession of Blog articles right here! (and a BONUS sixth day too)


Day 1: The VERY BEST Strategy: Using "Musical Messages!"

Day 2: Music for Lessons in Grace & Courtesy

Day 3: Music for Daily Routines

Day 4: Musical Techniques for Regaining Control of the Group

Day 5: Musical Ways to Create a "Community of Learners"

Day 6: Bonus! The Art of Opening & Dismissing Circle/ Group Time (3 more strategies... which actually brings the total to 27 strategies!)


Now, I have to tell you that I have not ever been able to come across as a strong authority figure with the children. That means that during my decades in the Preschool classroom, I have had to develop strategies for managing the group that are effective and also compatible with my gentle style of teaching. 

My most effective strategy: MUSIC!

Here is an example.

When it is time for the children to get ready for lunch. There are ways to prepare the children.

You can say: "Time to put your work away. It's almost lunch time!" Some children will hear your words and respond by quickly doing what is necessary to prepare for eating their lunch.


 ~ You can sing: "Time to put our work away. 
 Let's get ready for lunch today!"  Just about 
 every child will perk up when they hear you 
 singing and quickly do what is necessary to 
 prepare for lunch. This works like magic!

So many, many educators have said to me, "I can't sing!" or "I'm not musical!" That is when my heart genuinely goes out to each and everyone who feels that way. 

Because, I truly believe that we can all sing and I want to give you some insight about this belief of mine.

I have some tips that will help you sing with confidence:

*Breathe, in such a way that you support your lungs*

~ Part of what singing involves is breathing to support the voice. (this  can be practiced)

When you breathe from your belly, you are using the muscles of the diaphragm to support your lungs and this gives your singing voice strength and vitality!

Photo credits
1) Stand or sit with your back straight. Place your hands on your belly. This is where you want to focus your breathing, rather than up higher in the lungs themselves. 
2) Breathe in through your open mouth and you will feel your belly go out. Using those muscles of your diaphragm will give you much more air for your exhale where you will be making your song come out!
3) As you exhale,  (breathe out) you will feel your belly moving inward and your lungs will be lifted upward. This is a little  like blowing up a balloon and then gradually releasing the air inside the balloon. 
4) When you begin to sing, remind yourself to breath from your belly, and you will see how much stronger and clearer your song will sound!

*Sing songs you love*

~ Part of what singing involves is choosing songs/ melodies that you love (this can be developed)
1) When you are singing a song that has a melody (or words) that you like, the children will feel your enthusiasm! Listen to collections of children's songs and you will soon develop a list of your favorites. You don't need tons of these...even half a dozen will be great for a start. However, you can choose from any of my favorites that I have assembled for you in my "Let's All Sing" on-line eCourses at this link. 
2) Here is one of my favorite resources for children's songs: "200 of the Greatest Nursery Rhymes Ever, " from Sugar Kane Music. 
3) You can also check out my listing of 100 favorite songs of my groups in this collection of my Blog Posts, Musically Montessori 100 Songs. All of the songs listed have links to hear samples of each.
****A special note: If you have a favorite song or two from your own childhood, the children will love learning it from you, even if it is in a different language! 

*Sing with ENERGY*

Part of what singing involves is channeling the energy of your heart (this can happen!) 
1) Choose your song
2) Take a nice breath in
3) Close your eyes
4) Let your song come out

Sing your song once again, this time with energy.  Let your heart open and just sing, baby, sing!

DAY 1:

Maryanna Higgenbottom, one of my AMS mentors, gave me this handy term, "musical messages." Basically, you can sing (or play) whatever it is you want the children to understand, and nine times out of ten, they will listen AND then do it! It's the magic of "musical messages." 

I have relied on this technique for decades, and I am so grateful to have discovered how effective it is for group management in the Preschool environment! If you are a seasoned Montessorian, then you probably already use this strategy consistently throughout your day...

 Strategy #1.  Sing your messages
 When you need to let the children know what you
 want them to do next, try singing it. You can make
 up these little songs with the simple "sol-mi melody."
 (melody of "Rain, Rain Go Away.")
 Another melody that works well for just about any 
 "message" you have for the children is "Twinkle, 
 Twinkle Little Star."

 Strategy #2. Play your messages 
 Try playing a rhythm instrument (or even
 piano or guitar) as a familiar "cue" for the
 children that it is time for the next activity. 
 (ex: time to get ready for lunch or time to come in from outdoor play.)

  Strategy #3. Play "wind-up" messages
  My groups have always LOVED playing a
  little music box to let everyone know it is
  time to prepare for the next activity. This is
  such a quiet and lovely way to announce
  your "message," since you have to walk
  around to get closer so each child can hear it.

  Strategy #4. Play"recorded"cues
  There are some delightful cd's that have 
  songs with appropriate "messages" for
  announcing the next activity.  The song, 
  "Come Join the Circle" is perfect! Also 
  Frank Leto's "Circle Time" (Clean Up)
  & his "Afternoon Nap" are sweet "cues" for the children.

Okay, so if you don't get to my upcoming 20 more musical strategies for group management, you will still have a solid foundation with these four techniques that are described here today. 

That is just how much I LOVE using "musical messages" for managing my groups of  little children. They really work!

Have you checked out my other educational resources? 
Thank you again for visiting my Blog today. I hope you have gotten some ideas for activities with your children and I know you will find "musical messages" to be an effective group management tool!

Advertising Disclosure: Magical Movement Company may be compensated in exchange for featured placement of certain sponsored products and services, or your clicking on links posted on this website. Thanks for your support! 

View Post
Next PostNewer Posts Previous PostOlder Posts Home