CO - Preschoolers in the Southern Ute Indian Tribes Head Start
program were all smiles as Zoey the Frog, a large hand puppet, visited
and sang a song.
As a matter of fact, the children smiled
through their entire music lesson as Fort Lewis College music majors
led them through songs like "Peas Porridge Hot" and "The
For the first time this year, the tribal
Head Start program a federally funded preschool program
has a separate music class in its curriculum. Last fall, Rochelle
Mann, a music professor at FLC, instructed the Head Start staff
members in teaching music.
This semester, 10 FLC students in Manns
"Music in the Elementary School" course put their studies
into action by teaching a weekly music class to the Ignacio children.
"Its been so awesome,"
said Amber Henke, an FLC student. "At first, it was a challenge
for the children to sit down with us."
The children, ages 3 to 5, also were shy
about singing. "There was so much improvement," Henke
The FLC students focused on vocal exploration,
or getting their young students accustomed to singing, rather than
talking or yelling. The teachers also tried to instill the concepts
of beat and rhythm.
"It has been so much fun," said
Bill LaShell, another FLC student. "The highlight was when
they came running up to us with hugs. We were able to watch the
kids develop musically."
As the Head Start students wrapped up
their music classes, some were even singing solo in front of their
peers, no small feat for a preschooler.
Both Henke and LaShell said the hands-on
teaching reinforced their decisions to become music teachers.
The experience also benefited the Head
Start students, said Christine Pamrow, a Head Start teacher and
2001 graduate of FLC.
"They thoroughly enjoy it,"
she said. "Just to see them light up and the expressions on
their faces they just glow." Its also good to
see FLC students giving their time to help children, Pamrow said.
Mann, who does consulting work for Silver
Burdett, a music publishing company, hopes the Head Start students
achievements can continue next year. She arranged for the company
to donate music education materials, including a life-size music
book and compact discs for teachers to use.
By expressing themselves musically, the
Head Start students have learned personal interaction and boosted
their self-esteem, Henke said.
Although the children werent so
concerned about the concepts they were learning, Head Start teachers
said the children enjoy learning the songs about stars and ladybugs.