Children love to hear their favorite songs and stories over and over again. Luckily teachers can avoid driving themselves crazy through the use of Compact Discs (CD) in the classroom. Preschoolers (children ages 3-5, before they reach Kindergarten) love to learn about different cultures, music styles and even basic math, social, science and early literacy skills through music and books on CD. When selecting CD’s make sure that the CD is suitably rated for the preschool age group. It should not be too complex, or too “babyish”. It should go over basic skill sets such as counting, using their imagination, letter sounds, or social skills such as sharing and recognizing emotions in others.
Here are some highly recommended organizations, bands, individuals and stories available on CD:
Armed with a guitar and a barrage of silly songs, Raffi has been pleasing kids (and adults) of all ages since 1974. He never goes out of style and teaches all kinds of wonderful and useful things such as vowel sounds, adding, and subtracting, rhyming, and social/emotional development through his humorous style. All that, and kids barely even know their learning! Raffi is a beloved favorite of children aged 0-99 years.
#2 The Thunderlords
This is for the children who need to get some energy out and appreciate a good scream. Featured on XMKIDS satellite radio, The Thunder Lords are a heavy metal band for kids. With hits like “Table Manners for Vikings,” “Growl Like a Lion,” and “I Like Dirt” they are a fun and educational band that promotes well, FUN and EDUCATION! Although this is great for the 3-5 age group, I’ve seen kids as young as 2 and as old as 13 enjoy these energetic songs.
#3 Putumayo Kids
This organization’s mission is to expose children around the world to other cultures and experiences through song and dance. They have released several CD’s of which my favorite are “Animal Playground,” World Playground” and “Dream Land”. They have created many other CD’s that explore and celebrate the music of Africa, Latin America, The Caribbean, Jamaica, Asia, Europe and even New Orleans. The best part is that Putumayo Kids is a non-profit organization. Sales from CD’s go towards the support of forty different non profit organizations!
#4 Jack Johnson and Friends: Sing-A-Longs and Lullaby’s
This CD is from the movie “Curious George” put out in 2006. It has a wonderful Social/Emotional message with songs like “The Sharing Song” and “Upside Down”. I highly recommend it as the background music for any classroom, or as a social learning tool.
#5 Sesame Street Classics
Go online and you can still find all your favorite Sesame Street Songs! After almost 39 years Sesame Street has been helping the development of young minds in every subject area possible. These have always been and still are celebrated hits for preschoolers at home and in the classroom. You can buy most of their CD’s online at www.Amazon.com or at Barnes and Noble (www.bn.com).
STORIES ON DISC
#1 Tubby the Tuba by Paul Tripp and George Kleinsinger
This story on disc is a great introduction to music and a wonderful simplified piece of history. Kids listen to fun and powerful orchestra music as they read along and learn about each instrument.
#2 When Sophie Gets Angry Really, Really Angry by Molly Bang
At a time when children are still learning how to deal with strong emotions such as anger, this book is a great inspiration. The book depicts Sophie getting (really, really) angry through a series of events that are frustrating to her and how she deals with those emotions in an appropriate way. It takes the child on a journey through their own anger and frustrated feelings to help them better understand and cope with it.
#3 The Biscuit Series by Alyssa Satin Capucilli
The Biscuit Series on CD is for beginning readers. Ms. Capucilli’s books encourage more than just listening, but enables children to also follow along according to their ability. Biscuit is a great book series for boys and girls up to age six.
#4 Magic School Bus Series by Joanna Cole
Ms. Frizzle and her class climb on their magical shrinking, flying, submersible bus and go on one fantastic, scientific adventure after another. The Magic School Bus series covers practically every science subject you could think of for kids. Great for ages 3-10.
#5 Everything Shel Silverstein
Where the Sidewalk Ends, Runny Babbit, The Giving Tree, A light in the Attic just to name a few. Shel Silverstein is a children’s poetic master who enlightens kids through the art of laughter and literacy. He is a must-have for the classroom and at home.