New Materials for Increasing Literacy through Music and Movement

September 24, 2012 at 9:24 am Leave a comment

 by Davida Hirsch’71  

http://www.grannypress.com

I am Davida Hirsch and I graduated from Bank Street in 1971.  Bank Street was a major force in my life.

I had always been involved with children, even as a teenager when I was a sitter for kids of all ages. I studied at the School of American Ballet in High School and in college, and ultimately I started my own ballet studio in Yonkers, NY where I lived.  I always had an innate sense that children of all ages needed to have opportunities to be active and that such opportunities would have a positive effect on behavior, learning, creativity and self esteem.

The courses I took at Bank Street supported this view and made it all gel.  My  Bank Street experience  strengthened  the concept that the mind-body connection fostered by music and movement was as important as eye -hand coordination, perhaps even more important, for developing literacy and learning, and so that became my focus.

My long term friend and colleague, Esther Nelson who has an MA in Dance Education at NYU, and I started GRANNY PRESS  and collaborated to spread the word. We traveled the country coast to coast giving workshops and keynote addresses in 26 states for early childhood educators, children’s librarians, Head Start, and day care staff on the importance and value of making movement, music, musical games, and rhyming activities an integral component of their programs to foster literacy, thinking skills, creativity and self esteem.

The focus of our presentations was on the need for less passive pursuits and increasing awareness of the importance of physical and creative activity for children’s physical and mental health. Requests from participants for more input inspired the materials in the packet which incorporate the knowledge Esther and I brought to these programs gained from our many years of experience, teaching both children and adults.  We saw major impacts on the children, such as increased vocabulary, ability to focus and express their ideas, a greater understanding of number and spatial concepts, the development of relationships, and the ability to cooperate with others.  In the process, children were building a life- long love of learning–while having fun. Our unique packet includes:

  • An 88 page spiral bound book with sections on supportive research on the impact of music and movement on brain development, the words and sheet music for the songs with directions and information about the learning benefits, and a page to be printed as a handout for parents.
  • A CD with the words and melodies for the songs, dances and games, engaging the children creatively in acting out the songs and stories.
  • A DVD with Esther demonstrating the techniques with the children and  with me providing commentary about how this work develops literacy and learning.
  • Three rhyming and riddle Granny Press Books that develop vocabulary and  concept formation and thinking skills, plus a sheet of suggestions for fun activities to increase learning and literacy.

For more information on the Granny Press packet of materials, and for a discount for Bank Street alumni please contact davidathirsch@hotmail.com

Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

The Bank Street Experience: a Professional Frame for a Life’s Work Join Alum Davida Hirsch at Bank Street Bookstore Nov.28

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