Music Program

Little Seeds Farm School is very excited to be adding a music education program to our curriculum beginning on Wednesday, February 25th! Music is something that Teachers Brittany and Geoff are passionate about and it has been our dream since first imagining Little Seeds to incorporate a music class into our school experience.

In this post you’ll find lots of information on the program and the qualifications of our awesome teacher Liska McNally, MT-BC.

About The Program

Liska is trained in a humanistic, child-centered approach to creating music which assumes that all are creative and musical from birth. With this in mind, weekly music making at Little Seeds Farm School will include both structured pre-determined musical experiences—such as singing pre-composed songs, playing rhythms and melodies together—and improvisation and free expression and exploration of instruments, sounds, and movement.

The elements of music—rhythm, tempo, timbre, melody, and harmony—will be introduced as the building blocks for songwriting, improvisation, musical storytelling, and exploration of musical instruments from around the world. Students will have the opportunity to play drums and percussion from Latin America, Africa, Asia, and the British Isles. They will also explore stringed instruments such as the Autoharp, guitar, and ukulele, and tonal percussion such as metallophone, glockenspiel, and tone chimes.

A typical music circle might consist of a ritual opening song acknowledging each member of the circle followed by a rhythmic warm up using body percussion and small instruments to prime the brain and the body. Once the body and brain are focused and prepared, novel and more challenging experiences can be introduced. These might include songwriting, exploration of new instruments and musical concepts, and musical storytelling. The music circle will typically wrap up with more gross motor body movement to music, deep breathing to promote relaxation and integration of new learning, and a ritual closing song.

Liska and Teachers Brittany and Geoff are excited to collaborate and integrate classroom themes and curriculum into the music circle. Liska views music as co-created and emergent and welcomes ideas and input about music classes by and for the parents and students at Little Seeds.

About Liska

liskaLiska McNally, board certified music therapist, serves as adjunct faculty at Marylhurst University and is owner of Meadowlark Music Therapy Services based in Portland, Oregon. Meadowlark Music Therapy serves diverse members of the adult population and specializes in therapy for older adults, especially those living with dementia.

Liska believes music is innate to our lives as human beings. Rhythm, melody, tempo and form are musical terms that can also describe biological function, developmental process and emotional experience.

Liska is excited to learn and share through music with the students at Little Seeds Farm School.

 

 

 

Natural Material Crafts

One of our fun curriculum goals at Little Seeds is incorporating as many natural materials as possible into our crafting projects. The tradition of wildcrafting – harvesting plants from their natural habitat for food or medicinal purposes – has been practiced for millennia and we like to think of this as our own version!

Little Seeds Farm School students are very often exploring nature with their teachers and we use these opportunities to keep a look out for inspiring crafting materials. Our students are encouraged to suggest uses for the things they see and the teachers have worked hard to build a collection of projects that utilize the natural beauty of our environment.

Some of our favorite projects include creating our very own fabric dyes from plant materials, crafting herb satchets for natural air fresheners and playing with herb and flower infused sand. We collect rocks, sticks and pine cones for all sorts of projects. Seeds make amazing crafting implements with all their various shapes, sizes and colors and some of our projects can even be planted afterwards to grow!

As our students arrive and we begin creating projects, this blog will be updated weekly showing off all of this special work!

Storytime

Oral storytelling is an important tradition that has allowed our communities to bond, pass along ancestral knowledge and entertain one another for thousands of years. At Little Seeds Farm School, we continue this time-honored practice by creating unique stories and mythologies with our students and engaging their minds with dramatic play.

As teacher Doriet Berkowitz writes in her article about oral storytelling for the National Association for the Education of Young Children:

“Oral storytelling encourages a heightened and more sophisticated level of engagement among preschoolers through its invitation for role-playing and performance.”

We come together with our students every day as a community for a story time where we use these performance techniques to more thoroughly communicate with the children than is possible through reading alone. Props, voices, costumes and more help us bring our tales to life in a memorable way. When they imagine the details and scenery of our stories rather than seeing them in a book, our student’s are exercising the very same faculties that aid them in problem solving. Nurturing imagination in our students is of the utmost importance to our school’s philosophy!

Little Seeds Farm School is also handcrafting a miniature fairy garden which will serve as the backdrop for an ongoing folklore story that we will create with our students. This garden features a miniature farm with a house crafted from sticks and natural materials, tiny rows of soil for seed starting and many other features created from objects found in the wild.

Our teachers will weave tales about the family of fairies who lives in this little corner of the urban farm and use this original mythology to explore the seasons, themes of family and growth, moral lessons and to leave behind trinkets and messages that will make our children’s time at school a special experience.

Photo above provided courtesy of our friend Olympia, WA-based artist and children’s author Nikki McClure!