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Using Musical Transitions in Early Childhood Classrooms: Three Case Examples



Transitions occur as part of everyone's day. However, transitioning between activities, places, or events often is extremely challenging for young children. A literature review indicates that students transition more easily when those who work with them think about and plan in advance for these transitions. Research supports using music with young children for improving or enhancing communication, academic, motor, sensory, social, and emotional skills. Therefore, it was hypothesized that transition time between activities would decrease and run more smoothly when preplanned songs or sound stimuli were used to prepare and support young children of forthcoming change. We are spotlighting 3 case examples with different client groups to illustrate the efficacy of music in facilitating transitions in common early childhood settings. Observations were made at an inclusion toddler class at a public suburban preschool, a kindergarten class at a public elementary school classified as a TITLE I school, and an inclusive pre-kindergarten early intervention class for 4-year-olds. Each vignette describes the setting, participants, method, and data collection that reflect changes in behavioral response of children when structured musical transition was used. In each case, music seemed to effectively help children transition more quickly within the organization of the school day.
Using Musical Transitions in Early Childhood
Classrooms: Three Case Examples
DENA REGISTER University of Kansas
MARCIA HUMPAL Cuyahoga County Board of Mental Retardation anti
Developmental Disabilities, Cleveland, OH
ABSTRACT: Transitions occur as part of everyone's day. However,
transitioning between activities, places, or events often is extremely
challenging for young children. A literature review indicates that stu-
dents transition more easily when those who work with them think
about and plan in advance for these transitions. Research supports
using music with young children for improving or enhancing corn-
munication, academic, motor, sensory, social, and emotional skills.
Therefore, it was hypothesized that transition time between activities
would decrease and run more smoothly when preplannecl songs or
sound stimuli were used to prepare and support young children of
forthcoming change.
We are spotlighting 3 case examples with different client groups
to illustrate the efficacy of music in facilitating transitions in common
early childhood settings. Observations were made at an inclusion
toddler class at a public suburban preschool, a kindergarten class at
a public elementary school classified as a TITLE I school, and an
inclusive pre-kindergarten early intervention class for 4-year-olds.
Each vignette describes the setting, participants, method, and data
collection that reflect changes in behavioral response of children
when structured musical transition was used. In each case, music
seemed to effectively help children transition more quickly within the
organization of the school day.
While early childhood professionals may agree that the ad-
dition of well-planned transitions help children adapt to
changes and make the logistics of the day run more smoothly,
they may not take the time to plan and systematically imple-
ment workable transition strategies. Furthermore, not every
strategy works well with every group; an element of trial and
error may be necessary before finding the right match for each
unique group of children. These challenges make it difficult
for teachers to consistently implement such changes. Yet,
when the classroom teacher uses organized, scheduled, and
consistent transition strategies, success often becomes evident
across all aspects of the classroom routine (Buck, 1999; La-
Paro, Pianta, & Cox, 2000; Mclntosh, Herman, & Sanford,
2004; Woolery, Brashers, & Neitzel, 2002).
Related Literature
Black (2004) discussed the need for early childhood edu-
cators to utilize a team approach when developing strategies
Dena Register, Ph.D., MT-BC, is an assistant professor of nlusic eclucation and
music therapy at the University of Kansas. This article is based on her work
at East Heights Early Childhood Center.
Marcia Humpal, M.Ed., MT-BC, is a music therapist in the early childhood
division of the Cuyahoga County Board of MR/DD in Cleveland, Ohio. She
would like to thank Eileen Matyjasik, Developmental Speciahst, for her col-
laboration, encouragenlenl, and support of this project.
© 2007, by the American Music Therapy Association
for easing the child's transitions throughout the clay. This re-
quires communication among the various disciplines and in-
dividuals who interact with the children, focusing on creating
less chaos and maximizing the children's learning capacities.
Woolery, Anthony, Cladwell, Snyder, and Morgante (2002)
embedded information that they wanted children to learn into
circle ancl transition times. Using the Ecological Congruence
Assessment (ECA) from Woolery, Anthony, et al. (2002) as a
point for developing interventions for a child with special
needs, they identified and created potential opportunities
throughout the clay to help a child transition more easily be-
tween activities as well as participate more fully. For example,
when transitioning between indoor and outdoor play, some
children may simply stand and watch their classmates putting
on their coats or asking for help from peers or teachers. Chil-
dren may require assistance to engage in the same activity as
their peers and remain on task through task completion. The
ECA identifies such a need, and all personnel are involved in
creating a strategy to help the child overcome this challenge.
Strategies may include manipulating materials or involving
other students in the transition process to help the targeted
child achieve greater success.
Minimizing upset and distraction provides increased focus
and learning opportunities for all children. This is particularly
important for children who have some type of developmental
disability. Planning adequate and effective transitions be-
cornes more consequential and challenging for professionals
striving to maximize the learning potential of these youngsters.
It is critical to help these children excel in each developmen-
tal domain (Werts, Woolery, Venn, Demblowski, & Doren,
1996; Marks, Shaw-Hegwer, & Schrader, 2003). Chilch'en's de-
velopment of perception and cognition are supported through
processes that provide multi-sensory input and habituation, or
the ability to focus on a specified environmental priority in
exclusion to other distracters (Allen & Marotz, 2002).
Music may provide a unique tool for processing informa-
tion. Campbell (2000) stated "the systems the brain uses to
process music are either identical to or fundamentally en-
twined with the systems used in perception, memory, and lan-
guage." Robb (2003) noted that music may help children with
visual impairments increase attentive behavior by soliciting
optimal levels of arousal. Wolfe and Horn (1993) used mel-
odies as structural prompts for learning and retention of se-
quential verbal information in their work with preschool stu-
dents. They found that students learned sequential numbers
more quickly when the numbers were taught using familiar
melodies rather than unfamiliar melodies or spoken instruc-
tion. Furthermore, adding music to social stories seems to be
an effective way to teach skills to children with autism spec-
trum disorders (Brownell, 2002; Pasiali, 2004).
Early childhood professionals commonly mention using
music to structure time and activity in the classroom environ-
ment. For example, researchers in numerous publications
have discussed ideas for helping children transition front one
daily activity to the next through the singing of familiar tunes
with new words as a means of prompting them to complete
a task or engage in a particular behavior (Campbell, 2000;
Church, 2002; Miller, 2001, 2002; Parlapiano, 1998; Smythe,
2002; Wherry, 1998; Zero to Three, 2002).
Music therapists have described how music provides struc-
ture as well as a cue for what is coming next in a routine
(Rubio, 2003) and also how transition songs may be part of a
team strategy for goal implementation (Humpal, 2002; Hum-
pal & Wolf, 2003). It appears that musical stimuli and inter-
ventions may, perhaps, offer excellent ways to support man-
aging group behavior and reducing time off task for children
of a variety of ability levels. Therefore, the purpose of this
article is to examine the outcomes of music-supported group
transitions in three early childhood settings.
It appears that musical stimuli and interventions
may, perhaps, offer excellent ways to support man-
aging group behavior and reducing time off task for
children of a variety of ability levels. Therefore, the
purpose of this article is to examine the outcomes
of music-supported group transitions in three early
childhood settings.
Case Sample One
Case sample one took place in an inclusive toddler class
that met 2 times per week for 3 hours in the morning in an
early childhood center operated by a suburban public school
district. The class was taught by two instructors (one teacher
from the local public school district and an early intervention
specialist from the county board of mental retardation and
developmental disabilities) and one teacher assistant. Ancil-
lary staff included a music therapist, an adapted physical ed-
ucation instructor, an occupational therapist, a speecMan-
guage pathologist, a physical therapist, and a psychologist.
Of the 12 children enrolled in the class, 6 had diagnosed
special needs. Three had autism spectrum disorders, 1 had
achondraplasia (dwarfism), 1 had a mitochondria disorder and
was globally delayed, and 1 exhibited speech delay. All 12
children were between the ages of 2 and 3. Of the children,
7 were male, and 5 were female.
Administrative personnel approved the project in advance.
Music Therapy Perspectives
(2007), Vol. 25
Per agency policy, parents granted permission to videotape
and photograph children for educational purposes. Consent
forms were distributed by the classroom teacher and obtained
by the music therapist once consent was granted.
Group music therapy sessions were provided in the class-
room for 30 minutes each week. Staff reported that all of the
children needed multiple prompts to end an activity and to
begin another. Many cried when they had to relinquish ob-
jects or turns. All seemed to respond to music and enjoyed
hearing familiar songs and playing rhythm instruments. Fur-
thermore, many of the children had goals that entailed playing
together or attending to a group activity, and music therapy
was conducted in a group format. Therefore, working to de-
crease time for transitioning and helping the sessions run more
smoothly were logical areas for focus.
Prior to beginning the music group, all children were ex-
pected to put their toys away. Each music therapy session be-
gan with an activity that gathered the children to the music
circle area around a large translucent cloth that they held and
moved to music. Each child then greeted the therapist in the
hello song. Activities that followed always included some type
of singing or using the voice, moving, listening, and playing
instruments. The music therapist planned musical experiences
after consulting with other therapists and the classroom staff,
noting specific needs of each child as well as themes that were
part of the classroom instructional scope. Each session ended
with an individual good-bye song to each child.
Data were taken to measure how long it took for the entire
class to respond to directives involving transition. The same
two specific tasks were observed each time data were taken:
I) gathering for the group music circle time and 2) putting
away the rhythm instruments after group improvisational play.
The music therapist measured the latency of response time via
stopwatch. She started her stopwatch when she uttered or sang
the first word of the initial directive and stopped the watch
when the last child had completed the requested task.
At the initial session, baseline data were gathered with di-
rectives being issued verbally ("It's time to come to the circle,"
or "It's time to put the instruments away."). For the next five
sessions, all directives were sung using consistent simple tran-
sition songs that were repeated until all the children com-
pleted the task (see Figs. I and 2). During both types of di-
rective conditions, the therapist and staff demonstrated and
often helped the children finish what was expected of them.
Songs also were sung between each activity within the ses-
sion, fostering seamless transitions between activities as well
as between changes from one classroom routine to another.
At the end of 6 weeks, data were collected using musical
directives. The music conditions were withdrawn at the sev-
enth session and data again were taken during the eighth ses-
sion, using only verbal directives. Music conditions were re-
introduced at the ninth session and continued until all data
were gathered at the 15th and final session.
27 Musical Transitions in Early Childhood
Come to the Circle
M. Humpal
Come to the cir -cle, the cir -.clc, the cif - clc. Come to
Figure l.
Come to the Circle.
the cir- cle and sit right down!
Figure 3 (graph representing group response time for "Come
to the Circle") and Figure 4 (graph representing group re-
sponse time for "Time to Put the ... in the Bag") illustrate the
resuhs of data collection.
Baseline data (condition A-l) indicated that 180 seconds
elapsed between the issuance of verbal directions and the
time all of the children came to the circle, and 75 seconds
passed before all of the instruments were picked up. When
directives were issued within the transition songs at the sixth
session (condition B-l), children came to the circle within 80
seconds and picked up their instruments within 45 seconds.
After music conditions were withdrawn at the seventh session
and measured at the eighth session (condition A-2), all came
to the circle within 120 seconds and picked up instruments
within 60 seconds, responding more quickly than during the
initial baseline period but more slowly than when music was
utilized. After the reintroduction of the music conditions from
sessions 9 to 14 and measured at the 15 m session (condition
B-2), the children's response times continued to decrease
across both situations. They came to the circle within 50 sec-
onds and picked up instruments within 30 seconds. As a
group, the children responded more quickly to directives is-
sued in music than to directives given verbally.
Furthermore, staff reported that they had begun to use tran-
sition songs throughout the day and the children seemed to
be responding more quickly. The students also appeared less
Time to Put the
I~~ ,,,
I i,
I i
Tim©to put the (in -stru-ments) in t~e
agitated when requested to relinquish toys or end favorite ac-
All children were present for all but the last data collection
example. One child was ill on the day of the final sample.
Though data were not taken on the response time of individual
children, staff commented that the children with special needs
seemed to benefit especially well when song cues were used
to transition. They seemed to have developed a better "com-
fort level" by having cues that indicated a predictable out-
come. Some children actually sang or babbled the transition
songs as they performed the task at other times or during free
play. In addition, music encouraged group play and cooper-
ation in a nonthreatening manner.
Case Sample Two
This case sample was conducted in a kinclergarten class of
23 students at an elementary school primarily serving students
from a low socioeconomic background. The school was con-
sidered a TITLE I school and 75% of the student body qualified
for free or reduced lunch. A certified public school teacher
and one teacher assistant taught the class. All students were
present and received group music therapy in their classroom
for 30 minutes during each of the 4 clays of data collection.
In a short-term, intensive music intervention, data were col-
lected at the beginning of music therapy sessions for 4 clays.
in the Bag M. Hump~
i~ the ~, in the 1~.
V ,,,
I _]1 I I I I
~1 / l I /
~,"~ J
~'~ lJ
l AJ i JJ
~ ~ @ li
1 ~ 1
Time to put the (in - s-tru- merits) in the beg, 'cause our (in -sa'u- mcnts) song's all done.
Figure 2.
Time to Put the __ in the Bag.
I Time in seconds l
A-I B-I A-2 B-2
Figure 3,
Case sample one--song one ("Come to the Circle").
Permission to undertake this project was granted by the school
district office and the school principal in accordance with dis-
trict policy. The music therapist established a relationship with
participants prior to the data collection period during an ear-
lier occasion of service delivery. Participants were familiar
with the music therapist and a preestablished routine for mu-
sic therapy in their classroom.
Participants had music therapy immediately following special
area time (e.g., when they left the classroom to go to art, music,
physical education, or library). Upon returning from special
area, the class engaged in music therapy to facilitate literacy
learning. Children had difficulty transitioning smoothly from the
previous activity to music therapy. Teachers reported a great
deal of frustration regarding the children's manner of putting
away coats and materials upon entering the classroom and then
moving to the floor space for music therapy.
Data measured how much time elapsed before the entire
class responded to directives involving transition. Each day,
for 4 days, the following tasks were observed and measured:
1) the amount of time needed for all children to enter the
classroom, put away materials, and join the circle to begin
8 4o
I Timc in seconds
A-I B-I A-2 B-2
Figure 4.
Case sample one--song two ("Time to Put the __ in the
Music Therapy Perspectives
(2007), Vol. 25
6:00 ~-
I I Respom;e time in min./sec
Day I Day 2 Day 3 Day 4
Figure 5.
Case sample two--response time.
music time and 2) the number of verbal prompts or redirec-
tions for on task behavior by the music therapist, the class-
room teacher, and the teacher's aide. Sessions were video-
taped each morning for later review by trained observers who
recorded the length of time between the first child's arrival in
the classroom and onset of first intervention. Observers re-
corded the total number of verbal prompts or redirections of
student behaviors during that period. The 20 second/10 sec-
ond observe/record time sampling method was utilized for ob-
At the initial session, baseline data were gathered with di-
rectives being issued verbally. For the next three sessions, mu-
sic (live singing with guitar accompaniment) began the mo-
ment the first child entered the classroorn. While singing and
playing the guitar, the therapist and staff provided nonverbal
reinforcement and incorporated mutually exclusive behaviors
into the music intervention to assist the children in being on
task. Once all children were seated in the circle, looking at
the music therapist, the session began as planned.
The entire group responded more quickly to directives is-
sued in music than to directives given verbally. Results are
graphed in Figures 5 and 6.
On day 1, using verbal directives, it took 4 minutes and 55
seconds for 23 students to come into the room, put away coats
and materials, find a place in the "music circle" and begin
8 I Rcdireclions given J
0 Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4
Figure 6.
Case sample two--number of verbal redirections required.
29 Musical Transitions in EarLy Childhood
the group. During that time, the three adults in the room pro-
vided 15 redirections of behavior.
On day 2, using live singing accompanied by guitar, this
same process took 2 minutes and 8 seconds. Song lyrics di-
rected children to put away materials and find a place in the
circle. As students came to the circle, they were invited to join
in singing and were asked via sung directives to respond with
a particular motion (e.g., tapping their knees or clapping their
hands) while singing. Only two redirections of student behav-
ior were given in that time by the music therapist.
Days 3 and 4 reflect similar outcomes, with total time for
process rising slightly on day three (2:25) and dropping on
day four (1:58). No verbal redirection of students was required
during either of these days. Students entered the room and
went directly to their "cubby" to put away materials and pro-
ceeded directly to the circle.
Case Sample Three
Case sample three was conducted in an inclusive early in-
tervention class for prekindergarten students in a public
school setting. Classes met 5 days per week for a full day. Two
instructors (one certified teacher and one teacher assistant)
taught the class. Ancillary staff included a music therapist, an
exceptional student education case manager, an occupational
therapist, a speech/language pathologist, a physical therapist,
and a psychologist.
Of the 17 children enrolled in the class, 4 had diagnosed
special needs. One had an autism spectrum disorder, 1 had
Down syndrome, and 2 exhibited speech delay. Additionally,
1 child was an English language learner. All 17 children were
between the ages of 4 and 5. Of the children, 8 were male,
and 9 were female. All students were in attendance when data
was collected.
Group music therapy sessions were provided in the class-
room for 30 minutes each week in a group format. Children
would frequently ask, "What are we going to do now?" or
we get to do something else?" Therefore, finger cymbals
were used as a quiet, individual listening intervention imme-
diately prior to the end of the session. The music therapist
introduced the finger cymbals by pulling them out of the bag
and placing her finger over lips and pointing to her ear with
the other hand as a nonverbal cue for children to remain quiet
and listen. The music therapist then tapped the finger cymbals
together lightly by holding them parallel to the floor and gent-
ly striking the edges against one another. Once a sound was
produced, the music therapist moved the finger cymbals
around her ears, one finger cymbal by each ear. The music
therapist used facial expression to indicate that she heard and
felt the vibration of the sound. This procedure was repeated
for each student in the group. Immediately following this pro-
cedure, the music therapist began to sing and sign the good-
bye song.
Permission to develop, implement, and evaluate this pro-
Response time for listening
0:57 [] Response t me br goodbye
'% %. '% ,,- %. '%
Figure 7.
Case sample three--response time for listening and good-
tocol was granted by the school district and school principal
as regulated by school district policy. Data collected over a
period of 6 weeks measured how long it took for the entire
class (defined as all students in attendance) to respond to di-
rectives involving the transition of listening to the finger cym-
bals followed by the goodbye song. Two specific measure-
ments were taken at each trial: 1 ) the amount of response time
from finger cymbals being removed from the bag to all par-
ticipants in the group being quiet and ready for listening ac-
tivity arid 2) the amount of response time between the end of
listening activity and response for the prompt of the goodbye
song. Latency of response was measured by using a stopwatch
to time the number of seconds from the time of the visual cue
until the last child had completed the requested task.
At the initial session, baseline data were gathered with an
explanation being issued verbally. For the next five sessions,
all directives began with nonverbal cues and followed up with
verbal cues if necessary. Once the listening transition was
complete, the music therapist would do the first sign that in-
dicated the beginning of the goodbye song.
Following the 1st week of introducing the sound stimulus and
its placement in the session, children responded with increasing
speed over the course of the next 3 weeks. After week 3, children
would remain quiet throughout the listening intervention and,
once the last child had listened to the sound, would say, "It's
time to go," which is the initial phrase of the goodbye song. -time
for process completion is reflected in Figure 7.
Week 1 represents the baseline time of 1 minute, 45 sec-
onds for the first portion of the process and 16 seconds for
the time between the sound stimulus and the goodbye song.
Times for each phase decreased steadily over the subsequent
3 weeks. Weeks 5 and 6 reflect maintenance in the decrease of
time to bring the group to closure. This procedure worked well
with the contour of the session, allowing children the opportunity
to sit quietly and listen for a developmentally appropriate
amount of time before bringing closure to the session.
Teacher observations of this process and children's behaviors
immediately following music indicated that students remained
quiet and ready for further direction from the classroom teacher
and assistant immediately following music. It appears that this
predictable sequence may have provided the preparation that
some students needed to make the transition from music to the
next classroom activity. This simple step provided a recognizable
structure to indicate the end of music.
Data presented in this article indicate possible positive ef-
fects of collaborative or consultative work of music therapists
in early childhood settings when using rnusic to ease transition
times across the age-span of early childhood programs. It is
important to note that these music transitions often were
paired with other strategies such as object cues (e.g., shaking
a cloth while singing "Come to the Circle") or picture cues.
Furthermore, simply seeing the sound stimulus before it was
played may have functioned as a cue. This visual cue, in ad-
dition to the musical one, was not measured or accounted for
in these case examples. However, this multimodal approach
may contribute to success in on-task behavior of children with
varying ability levels. Further investigation of this factor is war-
ranted in future investigations.
Data presented in this article indicate possible pos-
itive effects of collaborative or consultative work of
music therapists in early childhood settings when
using music to ease transition times across the age-
span of early childhood programs.
Data in the first case example may have been skewed by the
reluctance of one or two children to end the previous task cre-
ating a total measure of response time that was not indicative of
that of the majority of the group. The children always responded
more quickly to the second transition song example ("Time to
Put the __ in the Bag"). However, they were already assembled
in the group setting and also had to move a shorter distance to
complete the task when this song was sung.
The method utilized in the second case example indicated
immediate and definite response to the music intervention to
ease transition back to the classroom. Future investigations
might be extended for a longer period of time and behavioral
techniques of chaining and fading over time may be employed
in order to support the teacher in utilizing the strategies with-
out the music therapist. A subsequent study might evaluate if
the positive effects of the music intervention are sustained
over time.
The classroom teacher or other early childhood professional
may easily replicate the sound stimulus intervention utilized
in the third case example in order to signal a change in the
schedule. This strategy also may be something that the chil-
dren themselves could engineer. For example, using the sound
stimulus to cue the class that it is time to clean up or line Lip
Music Therapy Perspeclives
(2007), Vol. 25
at the door could be added to the daily "jobs" handled by
students (e.g., line leader or door holder).
Music in early childhood settings provicles the ideal avenue
for trans-disciplinary programming. Music therapists have suc-
cessfully cotreated or cofacilitated with classroom teachers,
occupational, physical and speech therapists. Because the
tasks required of children in these therapies often may be te-
dious or unpleasant, music therapists may provide opportu-
nities for making the experience more enjoyable for everyone.
Music also is an avenue for the muhi-sensory experiences
essential to a child's perceptual and cognitive development.
The vignettes described herein illustrate the capacity of music
to cue desired behavioral response with a great deal of suc-
cess. As with multi-modal stimulation, habituation (the ability
to ignore everything except that which is most important in
the immediate environment) is vital to the development of
perception. Employing habituation to sound stimulus may be
a very effective strategy for teachers and classroom personnel
who are not comfortable utilizing their singing voice.
These case examples as presented do not represent formal
research methodology. It is the authors' intent that readers
view these case samples as a starting point for the develop-
ment of a research protocol that may be piloted based on the
ideas contained herein. Future, more defined, studies would
need to control for threats to internal validity and establish
interobserver reliability measures. Furthermore, absence of
children on any given day may affect the performance level
of groups. This variable also would need to be addressed in a
formalized inquiry.
Based on the information provided in this article, potential
studies might include measurement of the difference between
response times of children with special needs versus those
who are typically developing. Additionally, further study of
possible therapist effects is warranted in order to determine
how well this process generalizes to other settings and people.
Future plans pertaining to the information presented in this
work include developing a protocol and written materials for
teachers and staff that can be clinically tested for efficacy.
These materials also may help parents and caregivers provide
consistency at home throughout the day for cleaning up,
changing environments, coping with separation, waiting for
parent to return, changing diaper, eating lunch, etc.
The challenge of transitioning children efficiently from one
activity to the next during the school day appears to take place
more easily when music is utilized. Music, when designed
and used in a systematic manner, provides a way for students
to work through change while maintaining positive engage-
ment with their classmates, teachers, and environments. This,
in turn, eases the burden on the teachers, thereby making the
process more pleasant for all involved.
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... 1.5.1 Music and transitions. Register and Humpal (2007) examined three case studies that used music as a tool to facilitate transitions throughout the school day. In the first case study, a music therapist used transition songs to encourage a toddler class to continue to the next activity. ...
... In the third case study, a class of pre-kindergarten students was measured before and after a finger cymbal and goodbye song was introduced. After six weeks, the amount of required time had decreased to less than 35 seconds (Register & Humpal, 2007). This decrease in time implies that music integration could be an effective tool for promoting effectively managed classroom transitions. ...
... The current research on music and movement interventions in the classroom indicates that students' attention and academic performance improve when such integrated activities are utilized (Register & Humpal, 2007;Sandberg et al., 2013). Even though research studies have shown positive outcomes, there is a lack of research on music and movement as interventions for improving transition times and student engagement in the classroom. ...
... Singing is one of the most common musical activities in Early Childhood Education (ECE). Songs are taught to provide children with a repertoire to perform (Campbell, 2010;Gul & Bozkaya, 2015;Young, 2006), to increase vocabulary and enhance the ability to speak (Kristyana & Suharto, 2014), to reinforce foreign language learning (Ludke et al., 2014;Millington, 2011), to boost long-term memory and retention (Wolfe, 2010), to ease transitions, routines, and as a clean-up strategy in the classroom (Addessi, 2009;Register & Humpal, 2007), and to create positive learning environments (Angel-Alvarado, 2017;de la Vega Sestelo, 2015;Paquette & Rieg, 2008). Songs are inherent to culture and can help children gain a better understanding of the identity of their community, their culture and the culture of others (Ilari et al., 2013). ...
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This paper aims to explore Spanish curriculum policy related to song in early childhood education. By means of a document analysis, the different state governments' guidelines were reviewed. Song and singing songs are included in the official documents as curriculum content, as a pedagogical tool to approach curriculum content, and as an activity that helps promote personal and social development. In the first case, song is associated with the interpretative, aesthetic or artistic values to be enhanced in the early childhood; in the second case, singing songs is identified as a means to approach foreign language learning and as a way to gain a better understanding of culture; and lastly, as an activity that can help strengthen group cohesion, interpersonal relationships and the sense of belonging to a community. The present study findings suggest that song is taken into account as a valuable educational means in early childhood curriculum. Further study is needed to analyse how singing is approached in teacher education and how it is integrated into teachers' daily practices.
... Şarkılar kullanılarak çocuklara kazandırılmak istenen hedeflerin ritmik ve uyaklı bir şekilde sunulması çocuk eğitiminde oldukça başarılı bir yöntemdir (Zeybek, 2015). Çocukların duyusal, sosyal, duygusal, iletişim ve motor becerilerinin geliştirmesi için şarkılar veya ses uyarıcılarının kullanması önemli görülmektedir (Register & Humpal, 2007). ...
... Yapılandırılmış bir öğrenme ortamı yaratmayı sağlayan görsel etkinlik çizelgeleri Humpal, 2007). ...
... When we look at the results related to the frequency of prompts provided to CWSN and CWOSN, it is seen that the teachers give more prompts to CWSN. In the literature, there is a variety of research studies conducted to teach skills/concepts/behaviours and to reduce problem behaviours by using prompts (Flannery & Horner, 1994;Kamps et al., 1992;MacDuff, Krantz, & McClannahan, 1993;Zanolli, Daggett, & Adams, 1996) and about the prompts given to CWSN to reduce the problem behaviours they display at the same time reducing the amount of time spent for transitions (Angell, Nicholson, Watts, & Blum, 2011;Banda & Grimmett, 2008;Bryan & Gast, 2000;Pierce, Spriggs, Gast, & Luscre, 2013;Register & Humpal, 2007). According to the common findings of these research studies, the prompts provided to children during transitions contribute to easier and problem-free transitions and at the same time help teachers use time more effectively (Wurtele & Drabman, 1984). ...
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In this study, in-classroom transitions in inclusive preschools in Turkey were examined. The study, which was conducted with the descriptive model, was carried out with 30 preschool teachers and 30 children with special needs (CWSN) and 30 children without special needs from these teachers’ classes. In order to collect data, Information Form and Classroom Transitions of Preschools Observation Form were developed. Analyses from structured observations indicated that the teachers used different types of transition strategies but did not use most of the transition strategies which were suggested to be used in literature, and they spent 35.09% of two-hour school time for transitions. Statistically significant differences were found in the frequency of prompts teachers provide and in the frequency of problem behaviours displayed. Besides, the analysis revealed that children’s use of time to complete transitions did not differ significantly.
... The use of musical interventions as a means of modifying tasks has been demonstrated to be useful for children with autism (Brownell 2002;Kern et al. 2007;Register and Humpal 2007), though the use of music specifically to address sensory processing differences has not been investigated. Musical interventions that are comprised of individualized lyrics or melody are typically designed by a music therapist, but using a familiar tune and modifying the lyrics, or using a previously existing tune and lyrics are strategies that can be implemented in a variety of settings by various caregivers. ...
There is a history of clinical and first-person accounts reflecting the impact of repetitive behaviors and sensory features on the daily lives and occupations of individuals with autism. In Kanner's (Nervous Child 2:217-250, 1943) original account, he remarks on the odd, repetitive patterns of behavior displayed by case number one, Donald T., the first known individual to be diagnosed with autism, stating, Most of his actions were repetitions carried out in exactly the same way in which they had been performed originally. If he spun a block, he most always started with the same face uppermost. When he threaded buttons he arranged them in a certain sequence that had no pattern to it but happened to be the order used by the father when he first had shown them to Donald (p. 219). In her autobiography of childhood autism, Grandin (Emergence: Labeled autistic, 1996) recollects difficulties modulating responses to sensory stimuli across visual, auditory, and tactile modalities that subsequently interfered with overall social and adaptive development. She describes several examples of extreme sensory responsiveness: The pain that racked my head when the fog horn sounded was excruciating. Even with my hands over my ears the hurtful sound assaulted them to the point that I'd throw myself down on the deck and scream (p. 22). She adds paradoxically, Intensely preoccupied with the movement of the spinning coin or lid, I saw nothing or heard nothing. People around me were transparent. And no sound intruded on my fixation. It was as if I were deaf. Even a sudden loud noise didn't startle me from my world (p. 23). Although repetitive behaviors and sensory features are quite salient symptoms of autism, there has been debate about whether or not they represent distinct phenomena, and thus, whether differential treatment approaches should be used. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media New York. All rights are reserved.
Music experience during early childhood can promote language and literacy skills, particularly phonological awareness, vocabulary, and turntaking and self‐regulation skills useful for communication more broadly. Incorporating music activities into the early childhood classroom can be particularly useful for Dual Language Learners' (DLLs) language development. Here, we review research on links between music experience and language and literacy development, discuss how early childhood teachers use music in their classrooms and the challenges they face in doing so, and provide some tips and specific resources and activities for teachers to help incorporate music into their classrooms.
This research asks the question: “How and why does “musicking” occur throughout the day in kindergartens in Qingdao city, Shandong Province, China?’ This study was carried out in 12 kindergartens, of which 6 were public and 6 were private. Two data collection methods were utilised: semi-structured interviews with teachers, as well as participant and non-participant observation of all activities over the research period. The research demonstrates that musicking occurs in kindergartens within three themes: (i) organised music sessions, (ii) socially functional musicking and (iii) background music. Although there were many functions that emerged during such musicking (e.g. music for physical exercises, music for fun, etc.), the most important music activity for teachers and children in kindergartens is structured music lessons, the main purpose of which is for children’s musical learning. This study not only demonstrates that organised music sessions in kindergartens were group activities within a teacher-centred teaching style, but it also reveals how teachers rely heavily on textbooks.
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The article examines music therapy literature from 1990 to 2012 focusing on children aged 0 to 5-years old. The literature includes clinical descriptions, research articles, chapters in books, peer reviewed electronic publications, and peer reviewed journals. Altogether 125 different texts were found which fulfilled the criteria for inclusion. Simple quantitative analysis gave guidelines for deeper, comparative qualitative analysis. According to the data the older children were more often written about than younger children. Historically the dominance from individual work has been shifting to dyadic/family work. The active methods were most commonly singing and playing with instruments. Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) were most strongly represented together with paediatric patients and children with developmental disabilities. Interaction between family members and the positive factors were emphasized in the articles. The importance of fun and enjoyment was underlined throughout all client groups. The results claim that more specific information of the effects of early childhood music therapy is needed. In addition, related areas of research, cross-scientific viewpoints, and common fields of interests should be taken into consideration in the future.
Young children with disabilities and their caregivers often face multiple challenges as they engage in everyday life, and occupational therapists provide vital services to help address these and other challenges by focusing on goals related to participation in daily life activities and routines, collaborating with others, and providing resources and other supports to family members and teachers. OTs working in early childhood settings make use of a holistic assessment process that considers the child, family, and other caregivers, the activities and routines that comprise the child’s day, and the environments in which the child and family participate. Goals are then established based on family priorities, child strengths and needs, and assessment results. The OT designs individualized intervention plans that incorporate relevant research evidence, the therapist’s clinical reasoning, understanding of the child and family situation, and input from the child’s parents, teachers, and other professionals. Core philosophies regarding family-centered care, evidence-based practice, theory-based practice, and the importance of occupation and social participation for health and quality of life, all form the foundation for the work of OT in early childhood/early intervention. This chapter provides an overview of the domain, process, and principles of OT practice with very young children and their caregivers, and includes challenges and future directions for growth for OTs in this practice setting.
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The effects of using transition-based teaching (i.e., trials distributed throughout the day during transitions between activities) and using instructive feedback (presentation of extra information in consequent events) were evaluated to determine whether kindergarten students with and without disabilities would acquire academic skills. A minimal number of trials presented during in-class transitions were used to teach naming the values of coin combinations. The teachers introduced instructive feedback stimuli (number words corresponding to the values) in feedback statements following correct responses. A multiple-probe design across sets of coin values and replicated across participants was used. The results indicate that constant-time-delay procedures delivered during transition times were effective in establishing acquisition of all target behaviors for several students and some target behaviors for other students. Modifications of the procedures were implemented for the students with disabilities. The modifications were designed to require minimal effort and time from the general education teachers and to require no deletions from the planned curricular activities. In addition, all students who acquired some or all of the coin values (i.e., target behaviors) also acquired some or all of the corresponding number words presented through instructive feedback. Implications for application in the classroom and for further research are discussed.
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This article is designed to explore the challenges of classroom transitions and describe teaching techniques to make transitions more successful. Four strategies are presented to promote efficiency and safety during transitions both within and between activities, including teaching routines, precorrections, positive reinforcement procedures, and active supervision. Each strategy is defined and explained in detail with examples. A sample lesson plan and a blank template are included.
A national sample of kindergarten teachers reported their use of transition practices for young children with special needs. Teachers most frequently reported sending letters to parents after school started and arranging visits to 1st-grade classrooms. The least frequently reported transition practices were home visits and meetings to discuss the kindergarten to first grade transition. Reported use of transition practices were similar for teachers with and without children with special needs in their class. However, teachers with children with special needs in their class generally reported using more individual transition practices before school started and arranging meetings to coordinate personnel. Findings are discussed in terms of adherence to legislation and recommended practice for children with special needs.
The purpose of the present study was to investigate the effect of a musical presentation of social story information on the behaviors of students with autism. Social stories are a means of incorporating an individual with autism's propensity toward visual learning with educationally necessary behavior modifications. Participants in the study were four first- and second-grade students with a primary diagnosis of autism attending an elementary school in eastern Iowa. A unique social story was created for each student that addressed a current behavioral goal. Subsequently, original music was composed using the text of the social story as lyrics. The independent variable for this study was one of three treatment conditions: baseline (A); reading the story (B); and singing the story (C). The reading and singing versions of the social stories were alternately presented to the students using the counterbalanced treatment order ABAC/ACAB. The dependent variable was the frequency with which the target behavior occurred under each condition of the independent variable. Data were collected for a period of 1 hour following presentation of the social story. Results from all four cases indicated that both the reading condition (B) and the singing condition (C) were significantly (p < .05) more effective in reducing the target behavior than the no-contact control condition (A). The singing condition was significantly more effective than the reading condition only in Case Study III. For the remaining case studies, the mean frequency of the target behavior was smaller during the singing condition, but not significantly so. These results suggested that the use of a musically adapted version of social stories is an effective and viable treatment option for modifying behaviors with this population.
The researcher investigated the effect of prescriptive therapeutic songs on promoting social skills acquisition by children who have autism. Participants were three children with autism. The researcher created an individualized song for each participant, the purpose of which was to decrease an undesirable behavior identified by the parents. The researcher developed the lyrics of each song by following the current guidelines for writing the text of social stories. “Social stories” is a strategy developed by special educators for modifying problematic behaviors of children with autism. The adapted lyrics were then set to the tune of a favorite song of the child. The song intervention was implemented during the treatment phases of the ABAB reversal design. Even though the results are not conclusive, there is some indication that prescriptive songs are a viable intervention with children who have autism.
This article is based on the assumption that childcare programs can be desirable intervention contexts for young children with disabilities. In such sites, however, two potential problems often occur: nonfunctional goals and contextually irrelevant recommendations by specialists (special educators and therapists) to childcare teachers. To address these issues, the ecological congruence assessment process was developed. This process involves three phases: The teacher collects information about child functioning in usual classroom activities, routines, and transitions; summarizes the collected information; and shares the summarized information with the team. Use of the ecological congruence assessment process may produce more functional goals and provide useful information for making practice recommendations that are specific to the classroom.
The purpose of this study was to evaluate embedding and distributing constant time delay instructional trials into circle time activities and transitions between activities. Three boys in a summer day camp participated, and their teachers implemented the instruction. A multiple probe design across behaviors and replicated across participants was used. The data indicated (a) the teachers embedded and distributed the instruction accurately; (b) the children acquired the behaviors they were taught; (c) the trials to criterion and percentage of errors were similar, in large part, with what occurs when constant time delay is used in structured instructional sessions; and (d) the children generalized the learned behaviors across adults and materials. The findings are discussed in terms of our existing knowledge about embedding instruction in inclusive activities.
Many students with learning and attention-related disabilities have difficulty dealing with classroom transitions. In this article, the problems that are often associated with this classroom activity are discussed within the context of effective teaching. Short case studies are provided to show how behavior problems escalate when effective teaching methods are not utilized. Several transition techniques are suggested.