• Cows, Fish and Spoons: Teaching Children English with Songs

    Music is a great tool for teaching children’s English classes. It catches their attention, it brings energy to lessons and let’s not forget it makes learning fun.

    Have you ever thought about how songs and nursery rhymes can teach children language itself? Let’s look at some ways we have used it to great effect with younger students. For classes for your children contact us.

    1. Vocabulary

    Music is a great interactive way to teach children new language. It gets them singing, making gestures and maybe even dancing while they learn new words. A song like Old McDonald Had a Farm teaches children vocabulary associated with the farm like cows, chickens, sheep, pigs and ducks. It introduces them to the sounds made by these animals: moo, cluck, baa and oink.

    Even if children don’t understand all the vocabulary just yet, the repetition in these lyrics means that they are more likely to remember and, of course, repeat them. You might also find that they will ask you to play the song with the moo and the cluck again and again.

    2. Numbers

    Music is a wonderful way to get children to learn about numbers and the order in which they come.

    Jack Hartmann’s Counting One to Twenty is an obvious example of this.

    Songs also teach children the important role played my numbers in the universe around them.

    Sailing In My Boat is a popular example with its lyrics of one moon, two stars, three birds and four fish.

    3. Language Structure

    Songs teach children language structure which they might not be interested in grasping otherwise. For example, prepositions are a regular feature of children’s songs.

    The popular children’s song Hey Diddle Diddle teaches children that the cow jumped over the moon and the dish ran away with the spoon.

    4. Social interaction

    Songs also start children off on their social interaction in English.

    Hello! Hello! How are you? is a popular example.

    Good Night and Good Morning is another.

    At the start and end of the English lesson these social greetings can be repeated so that they become a regular part of class and children will soon begin using them automatically.

    5. To Express Emotions

    Music introduces children to expressing their emotions in English also. The most well-known example of this is:

    If you’re happy and you know it (clap your hands).

    You could also change the lyrics to sad or tired, so that children learn to articulate as wide a range of emotions as possible.

    As we learn about teaching children to sing their emotions in English, let’s watch a popular children’s character, Sesame Street’s Kermit The Frog sing about his feelings, both good and bad, on being green:

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