The Dundonald Church “Songs for Pre-schoolers” Music Album
I am hugely excited that this new album is going to make a big difference to our Movers (2 year olds) and Shakers (3-4 year olds) classes. Let me explain how we got here and what we’re hoping for.
How we got here.
- Attempt 1 – Leaders were given song words with actions written on, using artistically challenged stickmen to illustrate. Result: Little changed because in the midst of a class of 15 two year olds, who wants to lead singing with a flappy bit of paper covered in indecipherable scrawl?
- Attempt 2 – Leaders were given commercially available CD’s of kids Christian music. Result: A few leaders, with greater confidence, led singing using their own preferred tracks. Each week was a little different.
- Attempt 3 – One wonderful Mum trained our leaders in singing some songs. These songs would be repeated every week in a set order. Props were provided to lead the children through these songs. Result: Most leaders couldn’t remember the songs when faced with 20 expectant children. Some (including myself) found it pretty intimidating to lead singing, knowing that there might be some adults in the room who could actually hold a tune.
- Attempt 4 – We established that we need certain songs to be repeated by all leaders to build a routine. For that to happen we needed a CD that could be played; to remove the need for the leader to lead the singing. Instead the leader is free to model the actions, bring enthusiasm and lip sync to the songs! We discovered a license we could buy that allowed us to record any songs onto a CD and distribute freely to our leaders. We’ve done it! We have recorded a selection of songs that are perfect for our pre-schoolers. Our license allows us to make 250 recordings. We’ve started with 50 to see if it works. All our leaders will be given a copy. Eventually, all our families can be given a copy. We’ve had a training evening. Everyone left far more enthusiastic than they had with our previous attempts. Reports say that leaders’ kids in homes can’t get enough of it. We’re waiting to hear how it works in Church classes.
What we’re hoping for.
Two year olds love routine; it makes them feel safe. They love singing because they want to be involved. They love doing actions because some have far too much energy. Two year olds are not easy to herd for Bible time, but singing songs they know prompts them to herd themselves, so sitting them down for Bible time is less of an ordeal. Our CD has 8 songs on it for 2 year olds mostly taken from Emu’s “J is for Jesus” and “A very very very big God”. They will work through these 8 songs, in order, every week (hopefully).
Three and four year olds don’t need such a rigid routine. We’ve got 9 songs on the CD for them. Leaders can pick and choose each week, perhaps according to what they’re teaching. Over time the children will learn these songs, and enjoy singing them more and more.
We’ve put 7 songs on the CD for crèche. That’s the next step. We can start to introduce routine, singing and a Bible time to crèche. There is plenty of work still to do.
At home, when every Church family with pre-schoolers has a CD, there will be the wonderful sound of little ones singing praise to their God. I think some parents will be surprised how many lines their little ones can memorise. I know how astonished we all are when we hear our bonkers children sing solid, edifying truth back to us.
Perhaps one day, a CD distributor will wonder whether there is money to be made in producing a CD like ours, that every Church family can be encouraged to buy (for perhaps a fiver) so that their children can sing these songs where ever they go, as well as in Church on a Sunday.
At the moment, we’re just making a start.