Book Review by Martin Blaszk – 2011

This is an illustrated practical book to be used with children aged 2-7, accompanied by 2 CDs of  music. In the rationale it is described as a user-friendly, comprehensive music and movement program which covers all aspects of learning – cognitive, linguistic, social/emotional, physical, and aesthetic. So it’s not primarily (and doesn’t claim to be) an English language teaching resource, although it does provide some useful and fun activities that might be used in the young learner language classroom. As the author writes, teachers can incorporate it into their lessons as it does have links to other areas in the curriculum. Equally, it is aimed at parents wishing to extend and enhance their child’s development while also extending the parents’ repertoire of games, rhymes, fingerplays and other activities. In terms of content, the book contains brief but useful advice about using music and physical activities, followed by four topic areas chosen to appeal to children: All About Me, Dinosaurs, The Sea and Fairies and Other Fantasy Folk. Each of these in turn is divided into sections giving: lesson plans for introductory and complete lessons; fingerplays; activities related to music, song and rhythm; dance and drama, and stretch and relax. In addition to this, there are warm-up activities and concentration upon particular developmental skills. After each activity there are also outcomes given, which means the programme one chooses to follow, be it suggested by Rattigan or a personal combination, can very easily be linked to the young learner curriculum.

In terms of music and songs, the book contains old favourites which I expect most people will be familiar with, Round and Rround the Garden Like a Teddy Bear ; Row, Row, Row your Boat and Yellow Submarine, as well as newer material by the author herself, I Hide My Hands and Waves . The CDs which accompany the book are really fun and well produced, with music ranging from rap, Our School Rap, to popular classical, Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy. My personal favourites because of the voice quality and instrumentation are Do Your Ears Hang Low? and Running on the Spot. I also have a soft spot for the more classical Sailor’s Hornpipe, a great little energizer! And this is the great strength of this book, the music and the activities themselves. Read more….

Parent Testimonial

I just wanted to say thank you for recommending your ‘Babies’ CDs. My baby girl always falls asleep to the ‘Sleeping Baby’ CD and it relaxes my toddler, sometimes putting him to sleep as well. The others are great to have in the background at playtime and at relaxation time. I simply love them – worth every cent! Thanks again. Also, I must say I love your yellow book, Learning with Drama, Dance and Song. I love going through this will my toddler and this has given me ideas and direction that I wouldn’t have known otherwise.
Debra Barber (parent), Perth, Western Australia

Excerpt from DETWA Primary Focus Nonfiction 2005

Spiral Paperback and Compact Disc
A complete musical movement program for very young children with ideas for songs, drama, motor and listening skills. The music by a variety of Australian and international performers includes children’s favourites, classical jazz, folk and pop. Musical accompaniments and sounds are also included on the CD in each volume. Extension activities are included. No specialist teaching background required. Photocopiable. Highly recommended.

Learning Area Outcomes: Arts Skills and Processes Useful for: singing, motor development, creative movement, dance, dramatic play

Related Learning Areas: Health and Physical Education

Phase of Development: Teacher Reference for Early Childhood

Dawn Butterworth
Ph.d; B.A.; B.Ed (hons); Dip.K.T.C.; A.mus.A.

Music is truly the international language, transcending all cultures. Musical movement enables all young children to use their bodies as musical instruments. They are able to physically experience all the elements of music in an enjoyable and meaningful manner, so they can internalize or make more fully their own, these musical elements, whether it be pitch, beat, rhythm or dynamics.

Kidz-Fiz-Biz is a complete musical movement programme that may be used by early childhood educators to develop fundamental movement skills, as well as essential concepts and skills. At the same time, because of the integrative nature of these musical movement sessions, concepts and skills may be developed in all learning areas: Mathematics, Science, Society and Environment, Technology and Enterprise, English and Languages other than English.

Kidz-Fiz-Biz is an essential resource for busy teachers, especially those lacking extensive musical expertise. Everything you require for each session is provided, avoiding the necessity to search around for just the right piece of music. At the same time, sessions are sufficiently flexible to enable the substitution of other musical scores or ideas. Whether you decide to use the programme in toto, or as a springboard for your own ideas, the outcome will be the same. You will be contributing to the children’s joy in learning, at the same time as developing their physical and musical prowess. Kidz-Fiz-Biz is a timely resource that comes highly recommended.

Dawn Butterworth is the recently retired Head of Department in Early Childhood Studies at Edith Cowan University Perth. She is the current President of the Western Australian chapter of OMEP (Organisation Mondiale Pour l’Education Pre-Scholaire – World Organisation for Pre-School Education).

Dr Betty Rudd
Chartered Psychologist & Teacher

How wonderful to have this new book for the very young child! Clearly written and sweetly illustrated. A charming book, I recommend it.

Review by Kathleen Ginn
Developer of Rapid Sensory Learning & Conscious Creation

I was asked to review this book, despite the fact that I focus more on educating adults on how we learn so that they may in turn be able to inspire their children or for adults who have low self esteem and need to start learning in their work environments. Why? I believe because no matter what age you are, the key thing is to understand that true learning (or mastery) requires certain skills to be developed within the mind/body.

And what I like about the more modern era of education is the demonstration that in the years past there are educators who don’t subscribe to the ‘accepted norm’ and who are willing to develop the innate potential in the little people in a creative manner and way. Marlene Rattigan is such a person.

The first thing you notice about this book is part of the title states “learning through drama, dance and song”.

For me, this is key when it comes to learning, because the primary learning sense is auditory and the fact is that no matter what skills, talent or ability you have it has come about through the actions of practise. By combining the auditory with the kinaesthetic sense and intelligence, the children are encouraged to create neural pathways that develop co-ordination, spatial awareness, respect for their bodies, better memory and an ability to master information and tasks in a single unit.

I believe the uniqueness of the author’s approach to learning is by using combined senses and intelligences to help children have fun with learning, to grow confidently as a person and to encourage good development of neural pathways which are essential in our mind/body co-ordination later on in life. Children love being involved and listened to and this book has some excellent practical examples which will allow this to happen.

However most importantly the methodology used by Marlene understands the importance of an integrated approach to create balance within motor skills and memory function. True learning is more than photographic memory, it is when the information becomes us and that is where drama can fire up our imaginations to play a part. Every philosophy from around the world tells us that our thoughts create our reality and even Einstein acknowledged that imagination is more important than any other skill in learning.

This book offers any educator and parent a chance to actively engage a child’s imagination, sense of play, sense of fun and natural curiosity whilst learning to develop memory, spatial awareness, co-ordination, body awareness and the importance of relaxation.

Recently at the University of Westminster where I have been carrying out some research on the Rapid Sensory Learning programme, we discovered that more than 63% of the students were kinaesthetic dominant and yet were learning in highly auditory/visual environments. Educators like Marlene Rattigan, should be encouraged to share their knowledge and information because by using multi-intelligences in the classroom and encouraging children from a young age to use their imaginations, to become aware of their body and the necessity for listening, participating and knowing that they are a success because they tried something new, will I believe reap extra-ordinary results in the future citizens of this glorious planet we live on. I will certainly recommend this book to nursery school educators and parents with young children.

Reviewed by Ann Williams
Headmistress, Ysgol Machneth

A valuable resource for anyone responsible for educating young children.
A good combination of musical, dance and drama activities, covering familiar themes which young children find interesting. Plenty of ideas to reinforce the teaching – which can be adapted to complete in a few short minutes, or as a complete lesson. Activities which young children will love – ideas with emphasis on listening and following instruction, appreciation of music and recognition of other.
The CDs will be a valuable resource and support – good standard. Easy to follow pictures and instructions.

Reviewed by Loraine Corrie
Phd (Uni. of London); Ma Psych of Ed; B.Ed (UWA). Dip.Tch (ECE).

Building on her earlier work – Kidz-Fiz-Biz – Marlene Rattigan has compiled this international collection of music and movement experiences for children aged 3 to 12 years. This valuable resource will help busy teachers, such as you, to include music from other countries and cultures in their programmes.

Why Music and Movement? It provides opportunities to soothe our soul, invigorate our senses, challenge our perceptions and enrich our understandings. Why an international collection? Music from other countries and cultures can form links that help bind us to the human family.

You can use this resource to stimulate a two-way flow between home and school as the music experiences are close to the hearts of families from many cultures. You will show that you value the families’ heritage and languages by including them in your programme and by encouraging families to contribute their own music, finger plays, rhymes and games to enrich the classroom.

You can help children to be playful with music from other cultures, recognise similarities between people and enjoy the differences they observe. So yes, children in Australia sing ‘Head, shoulders, knees and toes’ but children in Italy also sing it and it sounds like this… thus children broaden their knowledge of the world and develop positive attitudes.

You can use this resource to build on children’s interests and foster all areas of development as you integrate different learning areas into music and movement experiences. These experiences can help children listen carefully, communicate in many ways, refine perceptual and memory skills, and learn music concepts. Children don’t know they are doing all this of course – they are enjoying themselves and being active – a powerful way to learn!

I encourage you to play the CD in your car, as you cook dinner and as you clean the bathroom. Sing, sing, sing until you are familiar with the material and feel confident. Have fun, be playful, and take the plunge! The rewards will be great for you, the children you teach, their families and your community.

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