Why Not Spend Them Together?

I was driving near my house, and passed a stop where the children wait for the school bus. I noticed a young mother, typing away on her cell phone, while her four year old son stood next to her, waiting and watching.

It seemed a little lonely, and a bit baffling, and I wanted to call out, “Please put the phone away until you get your son on the bus!” I remember being little myself, and what a special time that was. A child’s earliest years are so precious, why not spend them together?

Wake up Tick Tock!

Sukey and Tick TockEach time I give a concert, whether large or small, there’s a special moment when we stop to look for my friend Tick Tock – an over stuffed, blue felt clock. It amazes me still how this moment shines through so brightly every time!

When we actually “find” Tick Tock, we sing and dance the Tick Tock song together, and in the end, Tick Tock always falls asleep. The audience pretends to fall asleep too.

After counting to three, we call out, “Wake up Tick Tock!” and when Tick Tock wakes up, the children jump up, laughing and cheering. This mysterious drama creates such a special experience every time, and never ceases to amaze me!

The Magic Of The Moment

Sukey's Pearl River ConcertI was performing in a Sukey Molloy & Friends concert in a small library setting, and a young child from the audience walked right up to me while I was singing and playing the auto harp. Face to face, she placed herself in front of me, blocking my view of the audience, and insisted on handing me one of the finger puppets I had just given out. She seemed concerned that I didn’t have one! I was very struck with the wish to honor her gesture, and wasn’t sure what exactly to do.

I nodded and smiled, saying thank you with my eyes, and she would have none of it! She needed me to take that puppet, and it was clear it was the only thing to do. I stopped playing the harp, and along with the audience, gratefully accepted the gesture. I was reminded there is no “performing”, just the magic of the moment – and that moment is childhood.

Wonder and Joy

Sukey LiveI was giving an interactive class for parents and children and discovered a tender moment of childhood. We just finished singing and dancing with scarves and needed a moment to transition, so I invited everyone to lie down and enjoy just being there before going on to the next thing.

I noticed one little girl, lying on her tummy, head to the side, and scarves in hand, humming to herself in a state of relaxed bliss. She had no need to rush, and was thoroughly enjoying the sense of wonder and joy at being in a young new body!

When it came time to give back the scarves, she was quite ready to do so, and I was reminded how important it is to create extra time and space when children are transitioning from one thing to another!

Parents & Teachers

I have been extremely privileged to share in classes, concerts and events with children, teachers and parents, and have observed that we share a deep wish to do what is right for the children in our care. When engaging in activities, I make every effort to assist children in the joyful work of making sense and order out of all the many impressions they receive. Sensitivity to this process is the centerpiece of my interest as an artist, and as an educator, and I am happy to share this interest with you! I hope you’ll find these articles and videos useful.

Naming Parts of the Body

Featured song: These are my Eyes

Learning to name and identify parts of the body is one of the first achievements young children take pride in. Pointing to eyes, nose, mouth and belly button brings a personal sense of satisfaction. Singing songs that name parts of the body helps children participate in learning about themselves and others, and offers the joy of performing a task within reach.

When singing These Are My Eyes, I include my stuffed puppet Sunny. I also build a face on the felt board with arms, legs, and hair. I invite children to try all the actions along with me, and I find that even older children find pleasure in sharing what they’ve already learned! How many different parts of the body can you point to? Can you try adding those parts with new lyrics to the song?

Click here to download coloring page of Sunny felt art character

Click here to listen and download These are My Eyes

Click here to download These are My Eyes lyrics sheet.

Fine & Gross Motor Play Together

Featured song: Open Shut Them

Children thrive on building a rich movement vocabulary in the developing years. By combining fine and gross motor play activities together in one song, we offer fun and meaningful ways for children to explore the body in motion. Open Shut Them is a great place to start.

Try singing and playing the original finger play first, and then change up the lyrics by creating your own. This way you can include additional fine and gross motor actions together. For instance, one verse can feature movements just for the eyes, another for arms and legs, and so on.

Try together with your children at home, and in the classroom. They’ll love the opportunity to explore a familiar activity in a brand new way!

Click here to listen and download Open Shut Them song
Click here to download Open Shut Them lyrics sheet.

Little Ones and “Body Time”

I’d like to offer an observation that has continued to touch me again and again over the years, and that has become a guiding principle in all my interactions with children, and also with the creation of our company’s play products. This observation is related to the way babies and young children take in impressions, and how they process and organize these impressions in their own domain.

It seems that young children live in what a body therapist has referred to as “body time”, and as a result, seem to need a lot of extra time and acknowledgment in order to be nourished by all the colors, textures, scents, tastes, sounds, and movements that their bodies and emotions are discovering. “Body time” I believe indicates that young children experience their body sensations quite fully, and their emotions quite deeply, and that “time” for them, if allowed, is a more expanded experience. Since a young child’s processing happens primarily through the sensations of the body, and in a very physical way, we can nourish each child’s natural “body time” rhythm by giving more time for impressions to be absorbed as they occur.

In my teaching and performing, I have developed a practice of trying to slow down just a bit when I am interacting with children, and to try in that slowing down to come into a more natural “body rhythm” so I can become a better anchor in the relationship. This means that I accept that “body time” with children will feel a lot slower than “time” as I know it as an adult, and in trying to slow down in this way, I can help to allow each child’s natural tempo to be the guiding principle in my interactions.

Some tips that I’ve learned in “body time”!

• Try and make eye contact when interacting, and be at the height of the   child
• Try and articulate words carefully, and use as few words as possible
• Try and be sensitive to the tone and volume of each spoken interaction
• Try and use both verbal and physical cuing prior to and following transitions
• Try and allow lots of extra time for processing and response
• Try and use descriptive statements to identify actions
• Try and use lots of repetition, as well as appropriate new challenges

Look for our next theme: How to play “Pat the Ball” at home!

Sukey’s Circle of Friends

I’d like to welcome you to our Sukey’s Circle of Friends Blog!

It is a real delight to launch this blog on behalf of PlayMove&Sing Inc., and to have the opportunity to share ideas and experiences that are meaningful in the lives of the children we care for.

A few years ago, one of my very first clients, Nancy Ferst, (now President of PlayMove&Sing Inc.) said, “Sukey, why don’t you record a CD of the songs you sing in class?”

Since that special moment, I have been extremely privileged to share in classes, concerts and events with many children and families in our area, and have observed most often that what we all truly share together a very deep wish to do what is right for our children, and that we each have our children’s very best interests at heart!

As a parent, teacher, and performer, when I am engaging with young children, I truly need to know that I am making every effort to assist them with what they need in order to process and make sense of the many amazing impressions they are receiving and absorbing.

Sensitivity to this process is the centerpiece of my interest both as an artist, and as an educator of young children, and I would like to be able to share in this interest with you.

Look for our first theme! “Body Time” and the Young Child.

Many thanks,

Sukey Molloy
Artistic Director
PlayMove&Sing Inc., and
The Circle Song Show