South Australia Early Childhood Conference Report

This entry was posted in National Newsletter - 2014 - Issue 1. Bookmark the permalink.

Yvonne Tysoe

South Australia Early Childhood Conference 8 – 9 July 2013

Overview Presenters Gaby Freer, Penny Hewson, Di Hogg and Kirsty Dent took turns to demonstrate learning activities using music for children from birth through to six years olds. Over the two days these presenters illustrated ways in which music can be used as an effective learning tool to address the outcomes of the Early Yearly Learning Framework (ELYF) and the National Quality Standard (NQS) showing how music links to all areas of child development and learning.

Presenters made it easy to see how so many of the ELYF outcomes could be addressed through music. They began by modelling ways of connecting with learners to ensure attachment, wellbeing and optimise learning. They shared songs and rhymes for developing language, articulation and broadening vocabulary. Many activities were aimed at developing a sense of identity and building confidence. Others encouraged social interactions, worked on memory, coordination and learning. And it was all fun. Although lots of repertoire was introduced, presenters emphasised young children’s love of repetition and encouraged teachers to use what they know well adapting activities around a song as children grow. Presenters demonstrated how one song could be used again and again in different ways from birth through to six year olds.

Marg Lange lead a reflection at the end of each session highlighting the aspects of music learning and pointing out how music could be used to enhance other ‘drier’ learning, liven up repetitive activities, connect ideas, form segues between learning sessions, and last but not least, build the foundation for music literacy. Participants were encouraged to ‘have a go’ even if they were not confident singers as the most important thing is the interaction between the adult and child. That said, they were also encouraged to become the best models possible for the children in their care. Towards this, important tips were shared such as singing a ‘ready’ note before asking a group of children to sing together.

There were excellent resources on hand for participants to view and buy. Many thanks to Susan O’Grady, Julie Dobo and other members of the committee who helped man the resource table over the two days. Last of all thanks to the participants themselves for responding so enthusiastically and for cheerfully joining us in the KMEIA SA’s celebrations for Marg’s 80th birthday and for Kirsty’s engagement to her fiancé Sean. (What a week!!!! )

In the following pages I have organised the activities into age groups rather than the order they occurred during the conference. Not all the music is reprinted in the newsletter because of the comprehensive amount of repertoire that was covered. Many of the songs are found in “Let’s Start With A Song” available by contacting Margaret Lange, online via or at our regular workshops. 

Music for Babies

Presenter: Gaby Freer Researchers in early childhood musical development point out evidence from well documented studies which support the notion that musical intellect of an adult is largely developed during the first five years of life. In fact the pivotal time in the growth of a human’s learning ability (growth of neural fibres in the brain that carry through) is between the first and second year of life. These neurological connections build pathways in the brain and prepare the child for true learning. Children learn to sing in the same way they learn to speak and that is through repetition, good modelling and enjoyment. Children reproduce what they hear, both good and bad. Therefore it is important, that music of the highest quality is used. (from Gaby’s notes)

Songs and Rhymes for Tiny Babies

Tiny babies do not respond well initially as they have little control of their bodies. The following activities are for babies in the first five months when they spend time on their backs or their tummies. When using the following songs and rhymes, manipulate the babies body to match the words you are saying. Please see also the adjacent tips from Gaby.

RHYME:  This Little Piggy

Origin: Traditional Nursery Rhyme and fingerplay

SONG:  Can You See Me?
Can you see me? Can you see me?
Here I am, Here I am;
Let us do some rolling, let us do some rolling,
my sweet lamb, my sweet lamb.

Origin: Words by Gaby Freer from traditional French song: Frere Jacques
Activity: Peek-a-boo game when baby is lying on their tummy

Gaby’s tips for working with tiny babies

  • Start with one or two songs you know really well—use songs from your own past that you’ve remembered. Babies will be happy with the same one over and over (but you will want a change)
  • Include traditional nursery rhymes which are tragically becoming lost
  • Involve the whole body of the child, for example, place your hands on baby’s body; hold baby’s own hands; work baby’s legs
  • Use all your voice range to make what you are saying as engaging as possible
  • Adapt songs to different circumstances
  • Invent your own words to traditional tunes
  • Tap the beat on the baby somewhere
  • Respond by echoing babies own sounds and actions, for example, if the baby smiles— smile back; laughs— laugh back
  • Use every minute you can, for example changing nappies, feeding, putting to sleep
  • Play good quality music in the background especially classical and folk music played by good musicians. Gaby recommended “ Cradle Song” traditional music on guitar by Karin Schaup.
  • Be careful not to overstimulate babies
  • Have a number of bouncing rhymes at hand to repeat as older babies love bouncing. Sometimes children want to take over—let them

Music for Babies

RHYME:  Johnny, Johnny
Origin: Children’s Fingerplay.
Source: “Let’s Start With a Song” Yvonne Tysoe and Margaret Lange
Activity for babies: Hold baby; lift up on the ‘whoops” Substitute ‘Johnny’ with child’s own name


SONG:  Here We Go
Origin: Words and Music Gaby Freer
Source: KMEIA SA Early Childhood Conference 2013

freer_herewego Activity:
1. Stroke the baby from head to toe with your hands
2. Hold baby’s own hands and move them as words suggest


RHYME:  Knock Knock
Origin: Traditional Nursery Rhyme
Activity: A fingerplay done directly onto baby’s face


SONG:  Swinging, Swinging (Slow and sedate)
Origin: Traditional Source: “Merrily, Merrily” Australian Breastfeeding Association Activity

  1. Move tiny baby up and down or side to side to match the lyrics
  2. With older children, lift the child up and down and substitute ‘here’ with the baby’s own name Use a rattle or bells instead to allow the baby to track with their eyes


SONG:  Diddle Diddle Dumpling
Origin: Traditional Nursery Rhyme
Source: “Let’s Start With a Song” Yvonne Tysoe and Margaret Lange


Songs and Rhymes for Older Babies

SONG:  Mr Sun
Origin: Traditional Hungarian Melody Lyrics: Deanna Hoermann and Doreen Bridges
Source: “Catch a Song” Deanna Hoermann and Doreen Bridges
Activity: Use as a ‘peek-a-boo’ song

  1. Carer puts a scarf over their own face, revealing themselves at ‘show your face’
  2. With older babies put the scarf over the baby’s own face


SONG:  Bell Horses
Origin: Traditional Nursery Song
Source: “Let’s Start With a Song” Yvonne Tysoe and Margaret Lange
Activity: With little babies shake bells keeping in time to the beat for eye tracking
Older babies – tap bells gently on child’s body


RHYME:  Father and Mother and Uncle John
Origin: Traditional Nursery Rhyme
Source: “Let’s Start With a Song” Yvonne Tysoe and Margaret Lange
Activity: Bounce toddler on your knee to the beat, slowing to pretend to let the baby fall at ‘off’


Other Suggestions
Sing picture books just by making up a turn of your own or use ready made singing books, such as “Ants Go Marching”, “Five Little Ducks” .


Music for Crawlers and Toddlers

RHYME:  Slowly Slowly
Origin: Traditional Rhyme and fingerplay
Source: “Let’s Start With a Song” Yvonne Tysoe and Margaret Lange
Activity: play fingers moving slowly and quickly all over the baby or onto a toddler’s hand and arm


SONG:  Little Mouse Be Careful
Origin: Traditional Hungarian Melody Lyrics: Deanna Hoermann Source: “Catch a Song” Deanna Hoermann and Doreen Bridges
Activity: When children begin to crawl they love adults getting down to their level. Sing this song and role play being the cat


SONG:  Johnny Taps With One Hammer
Origin: Children’s song Source: “Let’s Start With a Song” Yvonne Tysoe and Margaret Lange
Activity for toddlers: Gaby suggests tapping the beat from the bottom of the baby’s hand so that this movement can later develop into a clap.


RHYME:  Criss Cross Apple Sauce
Origin:  Traditional Rhyme
Activity:  draw a cross on baby’s back,  creep fingers up back like the spider, blow gently on baby, hug baby, tickle, tickle


SONG:  I Hold Your Hands
Origin: Words and Music Gaby Freer
Source: KMEIA SA Early Childhood Conference 2013

freer_iholdyourhand Activity: Put toddlers feet on your feet, hold hands and go walking together. As you move sing questions to the child to identify things along the way.


SONG:  Shake With Me
Origin: Words and Music Gaby Freer
Source: KMEIA SA Early Childhood Conference Booklet 2013

freer_shakewithme Activity: A song for mirroring actions. Extend with children think of other ways of moving


SONG:   Andy Pandy
Origin: Traditional
Source: “Let’s Start With a Song” Yvonne Tysoe and Margaret Lange
Activity: This can be done in different ways as children grow
1. holding older babies and moving them up and down reflecting the words of the song
2. Swinging the arms of toddlers
3. Older toddlers move up or down as the words indicate


RHYME:    Shoe a Little Horse (Traditional)
Activity: Pat the child to the beat on the foot or knee Help a toddler to keep the beat with a mallet or clave tapping the beat on the floor (small children can’t do it by themselves)


Music for Listening and Moving

DVD and CD and booklet “Move It” Expressive Movement With Classical Music (Amazon)

By Peggy Lyman and John M Feierabend First Steps in Classical Music “Keeping the Beat” compiled by John M Feierabend (Amazon)


Music for Relaxing Babies and Toddlers

RHYME:  I Wiggle My Fingers
Origin: Traditional
Source: Let’s Start With a Song” Yvonne Tysoe and Margaret Lange
Activity: Finger play for young children


SONG:  Rain is Falling Down
Origin: Traditional English
Source: “Favourite Music Games” Yvonne Tysoe and Margaret Lange
Activity for babies and toddlers: Singly slowly and gently while stroking, swaying or rocking


SONG: The North Wind Doth Blow
Origin: Traditional Early English Rhyme
Music composed by J. Sinor Activity for toddlers:
A song in a minor key. Sing gently for children to listen to rather than learn.


SONG:  Suo-Gan
Origin: Traditional Welsh Lullaby
Source: “Catch a Song” Deanna Hoermann and Doreen Bridges Activity: Gently stroke the child while singing softly


“Cradle Songs” The Worlds Most Beautiful Guitar Lullabies performed by Karin Schaup (ABC production). Aimed at listening for very young babies from birth to six months.


Music for 2-3 Year Olds

Presenter: Penny Kazimierczak (Hewson) Penny illustrated activities for groups of small children to highlight aspects of “Belonging, Being and Becoming” emphasising the need for attachment before learning can take place.

Song and Source Music Learning ELYF Outcomes Activity
“Come on Everyone”Let’s Start With a Song Adaptable action song Improvise lyrics Communication Connections Sing instruction to bring the group together
“Bee Bee Bumble Bee”Favourite Music Games Immersion in the so-mi interval—preparation for future learning Emotional Wellbeing Identity Communication Sing softly and pat the beat gently on the child to give comfort Opportunity for solo singing
“I’m a Train”Let’s Start With a Song Listening and responding to sound and silence Responding to changes in tempo Communication Co-ordination Connections Identity Respond to the word ‘’go’ and ‘stop’ Follow the leader into and out of a spiral
“Where is Your Tummy”Let’s Start With a Song Question and Answer Adapt to suit different learning situations and needs Communication Body Awareness Learning Sing in a circle to identify parts of the body March around the room while patting tummy, shoulders, etc
“Turn Around and Touch the Ground”Let’s Start With a Song Very simple song with actions Useful for children to create their own new words and actions Physical Coordination Wellbeing Enjoyment This song can be done a myriad of ways.Here are participants ideas:

  • Click your fingers clap your hands
  • Turn around and touch your nose
  • Turn around and tap your feet
  • Turn around and stretch up high
  • Turn around and give a shake
“Santa Maloney”Let’s Start With a Song Improvisation of lyrics and actions Coordination Communication Physical Social Wellbeing Mirror actions to the beat Create new actions eg Touch your head and your shoulders Knock your knees together Heel and Toe together Run on the spot together
“Rum Tum Tum”Let’s Start With a Song Immersion in so-mi Moving to the beat Playing instruments Coordination Articulation March to drum beat Play instruments to the song
“Tia Monica”Let’s Start With a Song Coordinating actions to the beat Improvising new actions Body Awareness and Coordination Communication and Expression Mirror actions suggested in song
Put a Spot Over HereABC Useful Book Make spots on a given signal Adapt to other shapes and lines Movement to the strong first beat of a bar Tap the beat Creative Thinking Listening and Communication
“Blue Bells Cockle Shells” Favourite Music Games” Mirror actions: tap knees, clap then roll hands around each other Familiarisation with the so mi la interval Interdependence Coordination

SONG:  Bluebells Cockleshells
Origin: Traditional English
Source: “Catch a Song” Deanna Hoermann and Doreen Bridges
Activity: Pat knees twice, clap hands twice then roll hands around each other. Repeat Can add ‘wash the dishes, dry the dishes, turn the dishes over


SONG:  Tia Monica
Origin: Spanish children’s song. Lyrics adapted Y Tysoe arranged M Lange
Source: “Let’s Start With a Song” Yvonne Tysoe and Margaret Lange
Activity: Whole body movement to the beat Improvise other verses

– Her legs, her legs are dancing
– Her hips, her hips
– Her feet, her feet,
– Her arms, her arms etc


SONG: Let’s Go Walking
Origin: Composed by Coleman and Thorne Source: “Catch a Song” Deanna Hoermann and Doreen Bridges
Activity: Walking to the beat Change direction Variations: Tempo, types of movement


Creative Movement for 2-4 Year Olds

DANCE:  The King Goes Marching Forward
Source: Track 15 on the Shenanigans CD Volume 1 ‘Terra del Zur’. Available at Windmill and also on their website

Activity : March around the room during the verse In the chorus stand still and rotate different parts of the body Penny asks, “what could we do next?’ to encourage children to think of their own actions Tips from Penny

  • Using ribbons, scarves or streamers frees up children from inhibitions and helps them use their whole body
  • Use create movement sessions to help children’s become familiar with the names of parts of their body
  • Use a variety of the best quality recordings for children to listen and move to. (In her sessions Penny used children’s songs, jazz, contemporary artists, African and classical music)
  • Move at different levels and in different directions
  • Add instruments and voice
  • Encourage children to work together to make shapes
  • Develop scenarios to dramatize to develop children’s imagination
  • Be adaptable incorporating ideas which develop during the session
  • Join in yourself with enthusiasm and have fun


SONG:  The Ants Go Marching Book and CD published by Child’s Play International

Other verses:
2. The ants went marching two by two, the little one stops to tie his shoe
3. The ants went marching three by three, the little one stops to climb a tree
4. The ants went marching four by four,  the little one stops to shut the door
5. The ants went marching five by five,  the little one stops to take a dive

  • Begin with discussion of ants: What different kinds of ants could we be (Black, green, fire ants, bull ants inch ants)
  • March to the song, “Ants Go Marching moving forwards, backwards, sideways, on tippy toes, on heels..
  • In between verses Penny asked children to “Show me your ant legs”, “Show me your feelers”, “Show me your ant eyes”.
  • What would happen if it started to rain?. “What would the ants do?”, “Where would they go”? “How would they feel?”, How would they move?”
  • The ants worked in two circles on a communal task. Being in a circle formation allowed children to share and build on each other’s ideas
  • Half the class used body percussion to make rain sounds and half used percussion instruments.
  • Penny added chime bars in a pentatonic tone set—( do re mi so la) so that any mix of sounds will still sound pleasant to the ear
  • Pen conducted a rain falling with the sound growing from a few spots to complete downfall with thunder and lightning and finally dying down to silence
  • At the end with ‘children’ joining hands to form a rainbow


Music for 4-5 Year Olds

Presenter: Di Hogg Di has found that children engage naturally in music and love music. It is still essential to form a relationship with each child for optimum learning. Di finds music a perfect tool for developing mathematical concepts such as positioning, number, sequence, prediction, patterning, measurement, geometry, problem solving, reasoning and fluency.

Song and Source Activity Music Learning ELYF Outcomes
“What is your name”Improvised Q and A by Di Hogg Children make a circle Teachers (or the whole group) sings to each child in turn. They are encouraged to respond in their singing voice, “ My name is …….”. Solo singing Group singing Question and Answer Immersion in the so mi interval in preparation for later learning Identity (names) Wellbeing (inclusiveness, confidence, attachment) Communication (Q and A)
“I saw a Taniwha” Children’s song from New Zealand with composed words to “You are My Sunshine” composed by Jimmie Davies and Charles Mitchell in 1939 Teachers explains the story and sings the song as children repeat actions Mix of English and Maori words and actions Using both singing and speaking voice Communication (Story song—actions underline meaning Identity Coordination
“My Body Makes Music”Lets Start With A Song” Learn song and perform actions How can our bodies make music? Spanish origin Use of pause Coordinating actions to the beat Coordination Communication
“Bee Bee Bumble Bee” Favourite Music Games Sing solo with the support of a toy or puppet Immersion in the so– mi interval Question and answer Communication (Connections (Identity names)
“Boanopstekker” Shenanigans CDs Circle Dance Soloist call out a word which is echoed to reinforce learning –eg. greetings; brainstorm of words along the same theme or starting with the same sound; number concepts; etc Form (patterns and sequences) Moving to the beat Dance from Netherlands Coordination Wellbeing Communication Learning Making connections
“Gallant Ship” Parachute game (see next page) Shanty Interdependence Wellbeing (Risk-taking)
“Good Morning, How are you?” Echo words of song Echo Singing together Connections Communication

SONG:  What is Your Name?
Origin: Improvised by Di Hogg
Source: KMEIA SA Early Childhood Conference booklet 2013

hogg_whatisyourname Activity : Melody is taught to children. Once the song is familiar children ‘stand in a circle and take turns to sing their name in response to the group question.


SONG: My Body Makes Music
Origin: Spanish Children’s song collected Y Tysoe 2010 arranged Margaret Lange
Source: “Let’s Start With a Song” Yvonne Tysoe and Margaret Lange
Activity : Action song as lyrics suggest

SONG: Bee Bee Bumble Bee
Origin: Anon
Source: “Favourite Music Games” Yvonne Tysoe and Margaret Lange
Activity : Once the song is familiar children take turns to hold a bee puppet to help give them confidence to sing solo


DANCE: Boanopstekker
Origin: Netherlands Folk Dance
Source: Shenigans CD “Children’s Dances of Terra del Zur” 1994
Activity:  As suggested in CD notes.


GAME:  The Gallant Ship Game
Origin: Traditional
Source: KMEIA National Conference Book “Music Matters” Melbourne 2010 where it was presented by Anna Kalman and Marion Stafford
1. The parachute is spread out on the floor . One child sits in the centre on top of the parachute. The other children sit around the edge holding the sides of the parachute.
2. Children make lots of wind / storm noises. Then at the words, “up jumped the sailors 1, 2 3” the children stand up still holding the sides of the parachute
3. Children sing the song “Gallant Ship”. While singing they want anticlockwise are in a circle which has the effect of wrapping up the child in the middle.
4. At the end the song, children stop still and then all pull the parachute outwards which unwraps the child in the middle


SONG:  Lycra Song
Lycra Song by Janet Shannon from the CD “Pukeko Stomp” $27 + postage. Lyrics: Lycra.pdf Purchase:


Documenting Learning
Di talked about ways she handles assessment and recording using learning stories. She has found taking photographs of children during the learning process provides a resource for her to later reflect on the learning directly with the child. Di also shared some of her templates based around these ‘learning stories’ which go home to be shared with families. Other Online info on documentation: “ The Early Childhood Australia” This looks a really useful site with great examples of documentation from around the country (example below)


Lady Gowry Training Centre SA Some of the examples on the Early Learning Australia site have come originally from Lady Gowrie. There are more examples of children’s work on this site.  You may also like to check” Figure 1: Tree” from the Early Childhood Australia Website http://www.earlychildhoodaustrali


Music for 5-6 Year Olds

Presenter: Kirsty Dent In Foundation to Year 2, The Arts curriculum builds on the Early Years Learning Framework and its key learning outcomes, namely: children have a strong sense of identity; children are connected with, and contribute to, their world; children have a strong sense of wellbeing; children are confident and involved learners; and children are effective communicators.”  Page 9 National Arts Curriculum Draft

Song and Source Activity Music Learning ELYF Outcomes
“Come and Make a Circle”Let’s Start With a Song Sung instruction to bring the group together Adaptable action song Communication Connections
“I Think I’m Going to Sneeze”Favourite Music Games Children in a circle move their ’hankies’ to the beat Moving to the beatPause Wellbeing Coordination
“Wishy Washy Washer-woman”Let’s Start With a Song Experiencing both speaking and singing voice within the one song. Use speaking voice to indicate pitch Identifying speaking and singing voice Expression Pitch Experiencing the beat Communication Co-ordination Connections Identity
“Lickety Spry”Let’s Start With a Song Listening and responding to the high or low of the final note of a song Aurally identifying high and low songs Communication (Listening)
“Cross Over Red Rover”Let’s Start With a Song Children grouped according to colour respond to the instructions in the song, eg stepping across the room to the beat, echoing a rhythmic phrase Kirsty then associated the colours with different emotions. Children ‘crossed over’ expressing these. Versatile song which can be used to reinforce different concepts, such as moving to the beat, echoing melodic or rhythmic phrases Stepping to the beat Identity (groups) Coordination Wellbeing (Identifying emotions)
“Driving, Driving, Driving”Let’s Start With a Song Rhyme for finding a space. Also used for active listening Listening and responding Communication (listening) Connections (respecting needs of others)
“Charlie Over the Ocean”Catch a Song Circle game Kirsty played with stretchy lycra moved in and out to the beat of the song Repeated with a child under the ‘water’ Echo song Experiencing melodic phrases moving up and down Coordination Wellbeing (risk taking)
“Stripy Fish”Adapted from ‘Brown Bear, Brown Bear’ by Kirsty Teacher sings song from a big book Children vocalise to fish bubble patterns Children use finger puppets to sing their adaptation of ’stripy fish’ Immersion in the so-mi interval Vocalised ‘reading’ of graphic notation of melody Improvising own melodies Learning (number, colour, reading, left to right eye movement)
“Knock, Knock”Let’s Start With a Song Sing solo around a circle and hold a teddy bear Solo singing on the so-mi interval Communication Identity
“Little Mouse, Little Mouse”Let’s Start With a Song One child songs solo to find the location of the ‘little mouse’ Group and solo singing Question and Answer Communication Learning (colour)

SONG:  I Think I’m Going to Sneeze”
Origin: Traditional children’s song ‘Farmer in the Dell’; adapted Y Tysoe and notated M Lange Source: “Let’s Start With a Song” Yvonne Tysoe and Margaret Lange
Activity: Moving to the beat using scarves / hankies.


SONG: Stripy Fish Origin: Based on “Brown Bear, Brown Bear” by Bill Martin, adapted K Dent Source: KMEIA SA EC Conference book “Stripy fish, stripy fish, what do you see?  I see a red crab looking at me”.
1.  Group reads the question; teacher sings the answer from a big book
2. Use picture cards from the book to adapt to a solo singing activity: one child sings from his own picture eg ‘red carb, red crab, who do you see?” The next child responds from his own picture, ‘I see a green turtle looking at me.
3. On a fish theme, Kirsty made pictures of sea animals breathing bubbles in a melodic pattern. Children interpret using their voice to follow the highs and lows of the melodic patter.
4. She gives the children finger puppets (picture below right) to improvise their own adaptation.


SONG:  Cross Over Red Rover
Origin: Words and Music Yvonne Tysoe with idea adapted from a traditional children’s game
Source: “Let’s Start With a Song” Yvonne Tysoe and Margaret Lange
Activity:  Children stand in a line side by side facing across a large space. The song is sung with the teacher nominating a colour. Children wearing this colour, cross the space walking in time to the beat Assessment

  • Teacher sing “if your name is …… clap / play this to me”  (echo clap / or hold up sym-bols depending on children’s developmental stage)
  • Teacher sing “ if your name is …….. hum this to me s s s m (echo hum)


SONG:  Little Mouse, Little Mouse
Origin: Words (adapted from a hiding game) and music by Yvonne Tysoe. Notated M Lange Source: “Let’s Start With a Song” Yvonne Tysoe and Margaret Lange

  • Children sit in a circle with one child facing out of the circle as a second child hides a ‘mouse’ under one of four differently coloured ‘houses’
  • Child one has to guess which coloured house the mouse is hidden under. This child sings the first line of the song
  • The class responds ‘no I’m not’ if the guess is wrong, and ‘yes I am’ if the guess is right.
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