I was doing a music activity with 3 and 4 year olds in a preschool setting. I set the stage by briefly telling the story of a baby bird in his nest. His mother would bring him worms and bugs to eat each day until he got big enough that one day his father said it was time to learn to fly. So the baby bird perched on the edge of the nest and gave a little jump and took off flying. His dad soared with him, over the farm and country side, up to the mountaintop. They rested in a branch of a tree and then flew home again. As I told the story I had the children do the movements with their hands.
Then I put on the music, Forgotten Dreams by Leroy Anderson. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sAN5G_8oSyk I whispered the story of the baby bird as the children and I again acted it out with our hands. We cupped one hand to be the nest and with our index finger and thumb of the other hand acting as the beak, we hungrily ate the worms and bugs our mother fed to us. We spread our wings and practiced flying, and as the music got faster we flew faster, pausing to catch our breath while we rested in the branch of the tree on the mountaintop. Then we flew home, tired but happy. As the music became softer and slower the baby bird sank into his nest and closed his eyes and went to sleep. And as I whispered, “good night, baby bird”, I looked around, and without me saying one word, all the children had closed their eyes and lain down on the floor pretending to sleep. It was magical.
I whispered to the teachers, “and that is why I love to teach preschoolers. You couldn’t do that with sixth graders!”