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Following Children's Interests:

The Purple Room Band

Reflections from the Field

When children get excited about something, adults can build on that interest to engage children in a meaningful, longer term learning experience. Student teacher Sydney Rodriguez describes how children in her preschool classroom got excited about the idea of forming a band and performing for the entire center. Sydney explains how she built on that interest by engaging children in a series of connected learning experiences, leading up to a culminating performance. She reflects on the amount of time required to fully engage the children in all the steps of the process, and on the importance of regularly incorporating music into early childhood classrooms.

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  • Video Transcript for Following Children's Interests

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    Download a transcript of this video in English or Spanish .pdf format.


    Children (singing): I love pizza. Yes, I do! Yes, I do!

    Sydney Rodriguez, Student Teacher, Child and Family Development Resource Center: The idea came from the children. They were in the block center, and they began building a stage out of all the blocks, and then they were using some of the blocks as microphones, and they started singing a song. And some were pretending to be the audience, and the idea just grew from there. “Hey, yeah; let’s have a purple room band!”

    The children prepared a lot. We read different books: what goes into a band; what goes into being on stage. We started brainstorming ideas of what we would need, like instruments and microphones and sunglasses and scarves. We used tissue boxes, paper towel rolls. Some made guitars. Then for the microphones, we had very tall paper towel rolls, and they decorated them with streamers and crepe papers.

    We had a group writing activity where everyone gave a song that they thought that we should sing. We practiced the songs in the classroom; we practiced the songs on the stage. We sent out invitations, and gave a performance to the center.

    Children (singing): If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands. If you’re happy and you know and you really want to show it; if you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands.

    Sydney Rodriguez: I learned how much goes into an experience like this. The concert was ten minutes long, but it took about two weeks to really prepare the children and to do everything else that went along with it. Every day that I would go in, there would be at least one child,
    “Are we going to do the band today?” Like, “Nope, we’re going to do this today; we have to do this before we can have the performance.”

    As teachers, or out in the field at all, it’s important to follow your children’s interest in anything. I think music in the classroom is just so important. Preschoolers can express themselves through music in a way that they might not be able to using their words. So if they were a little shy, and they weren’t comfortable singing, they were comfortable strumming on their guitar, shaking their maracas—which is the best part about being in the classroom and about doing experiences like that. To see how happy they are, how happy their parents are. They just had a great time doing it, and I think that’s what’s important.

    Sydney: We want to thank everyone for coming, and we’ll take a bow! You want to take a bow guys?
    Audience: Yay!


    © 2017 Center for Early Childhood Education at Eastern Connecticut State University
    May be reprinted for educational purposes.
    1. In what ways do we build learning experiences based on the expressed interests of the children in our room or program?
    2. What strategies can we use to support children's interests and promote child-centered experiences?
    3. How can we be prepared to take advantage of opportunities for meaningful experiences that we might not have originally planned for?
    4. What are some of the ways we currently support children's musical development? What else might we try?
    5. For any type of performance art, how can we provide a meaningful experience for children who may be unable or unwilling to "perform" in front of others?
  • Producer and scriptwriter: Julia DeLapp
    Videography: Ken Measimer, Jess Marciante (student)
    Editing:
    Jess Marciante (student), Ken Measimer
  • The Center wishes to thank the Child and Family Development Resource Center in Willimantic, Connecticut, for their cooperation in the making of this video, and cooperating teacher Claudia Sweetland. Sydney Rodriguez was an early childhood education student at Quinebaug Valley Community College during the time of this experience.
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