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Here at Song of the Heart we are firm believers in the power of rituals. Rituals bind communities and cultures together, gives meaning to our days, gives people a sense of security, and helps us identify other members of our culture. Rituals can also give children a sense of predictability, comfort, and social safety.
We have cultivated a special Song of the Heart goodbye ritual to cap off every class. Each teacher may put their own spin on it, but the essentials are there. We’ve already covered the goodbye song and wishing well, but there is still a little more. Let’s dance out the door!
Your educator picks a song to play while your children line up at the door. Lining up is a learned skill that will help them with school readiness, and then they have to wait their turn. Inhibitory control in action! We’ve been practicing it all class long, and we get another dose of practice at the end.
Some classes utilize hand stamps as a final gift from the educator to the children. It always matches the theme of the class, and the children always look forward to it! This is a precious moment when the educator has the opportunity to help your child develop the pro-social behavior of making eye contact. This can be hard for lots of people, and learning to do it as a child, in a loving environment, with a beloved teacher is a gentle way to help teach it.
Eye contact, a hand stamp, and then the cherry on top . . . a personalized sung goodbye. Your teacher will use your child’s name, giving them a sense of importance and validation. This is also modeling good vocal technique. The teacher encourages your child to sing goodbye back, using their teacher’s name. This sweet exchange lets your child know they are cared for and are important as an individual. It gives them an opportunity to practice singing on pitch, in an appropriate range, in a call-and-response structure. They’re getting one-on-one attention and a mini music lesson all in one brief moment.
This out the door ritual prepares your child for the transition away from class, into the lobby, and back to the car. Transitions can be very difficult for some children, so predictability and routine are essential for making it doable for them.
This brief moment is one of our favorites in class. We love each and every child enrolled at Song of the Heart and want them, and you, to know it!