Folk Singer Connects Music and Literacy in ICSD Pre-K

June 29, 2015
2015-06-16 07.20.35Local folk singer Judy Stock visited Enfield Elementary School’s Pre-K students once a week over the last six months to help enrich and expand literacy education through music.  
 
Students have been singing, dancing and playing instruments alongside Stock to songs like “The Paw-Paw Patch,” “Three Nice Mice,” and “Love Those Letters.” The goal of the experience was to increase students’ ability to hear and play with word sounds and rhyming, as well as improve their letter identification and letter-sound connection skills.
 
“Strong vocabulary in early childhood really supports early reading,” said Enfield Pre-K teacher Sharon Ciferri. “We try to do vertical building of skills. What we’re doing here is teaching kindergarten-ready skills. Music really enhances everything.”
 
The “Songs, Music & Movement with Literacy” program was supported by an Ithaca Public Education Initiative (IPEI) Teacher Grant. Teacher Grants provide funds for innovative projects that bring community members into active participation in Ithaca City School District (ICSD) classrooms. This grant was funded by a retired teacher who has donated to IPEI to fund grants that encourage the integration of music into elementary classrooms. 
 
“Since Prekindergarten students do not go to music class per se, the IPEI grant provided my students with an opportunity to have weekly music sessions with a skilled musician who also has a background in early childhood education,” Ciferri said. “Judy enthusiastically worked with me to plan and prepare specific goals, learning targets and lessons to do with the class. She helped plan music sessions that incorporated her music and rhymes with age-appropriate literacy learning experiences. Her sessions included using music to help students build vocabulary, learn letter identification and letter-sound connections, and develop rhyming and phonemic awareness skills.  All of these are learning targets that align with the Common Core standards.”
 
The project engaged not only the Pre-K students but the greater school community. For example, Ciferri shared Stock’s songs, rhymes, and ‘vocabulary word of the week’ in family newsletters along with photos of her interacting with the children. Stock also performed at a school-wide assembly with the class, which families attended. In addition, the grant program included a family graduation concert, as well as a presentation by Ciferri about the grant project to fellow teachers.
 
“We’ve made a school-wide and family connection,” Ciferri said. “It’s been an all-encompassing opportunity not only for the kids and families but it has also enhanced my own teaching.”
 
IPEI is a not-for-profit organization that connects the ICSD and the community through collaboration, engagement, gifts and grants. For more information, see www.ipei.org or contact 256-IPEI (4734) or ipei@ipei.org.

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