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Music and Movement Bring Together Children of Differing Abilities

by Carol Stock Kranowitz
May/June 2000
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Article Link: https://www.childcareexchange.com/article/music-and-movement-bring-together-children-of-differing-abilities/5013357/

Typically-developing children are usually adaptable. They sing and dance, play rhythm instruments, and willingly try traditional preschool experiences. Children with special needs, however, may prefer sticking to the same-old-same-old activities that make them feel successful.

Whatever the skill level of your preschoolers, a variety of sensorimotor activities in your curriculum can satisfy most children's needs. Music and movement activities, with their flexible structure, can foster every child's creativity and competence.

These stories illustrate how children of differing abilities play together at St. Columba's Nursery School in Washington, DC.

Music and movement allow children to use their imaginations.

Quint has spinal muscular atrophy. He has little use of his lower body. As a result of extensive and intensive therapy, however, Quint's upper body is strong. Using a wheelchair, he maneuvers expertly outdoors and inside.

He excels at singing and rhyming, at parachute games, and rhythm band activities. He welcomes enacting playlets, such as "The Gingerbread Man." When the farmers and animals run, run, as fast as they can in pursuit of the Gingerbread Man, Quint joins the chase in his wheelchair. "Watch!" he says. "I can do it myself!"

Quint is decidedly less enthusiastic about up-and-down activity songs, such as "The Noble Duke of York." He mutters, "I ...

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