Letter from School Director
At Something Good in the World, we use the Talking Hands Talking Feet CDs and songs and many of the dances on a daily basis! One way we use the songs is that we start our mornings with each class singing their own class song. These were commissioned from Paul Zeir (since 2003) and each year that we have added a grade to our Earth School programs, we add a new song! The range of this is from age 5 to age 11, Kindergarten through 5th grade. The daily class song is a kind of call-over or preparation for the day, as each group sings words that express its own age-appropriate Identity and the qualities that are sought in the learning process, such as Trust or Cohesion. We also have choreography for each song, which allows children to have a whole mind-body experience, promoting inter-hemispheric balance, and providing a good physical warm-up at the same time. All year long, we find opportunities to perform our class songs, whether for parents or concerts or field trips, and these songs and dances promote a sense of school unity.
We also use the THTF CDs themselves on a weekly basis. Each time that we set out on a new thematic unity of study with the children, the teachers look for accompanying songs from "Rainbow Train", "Do Re Mi Dragon" or “Heartbeat of the Future” that can illustrate our studies, and enhance them. So for example, if we are doing a two week unit that includes Memory and Coordination, we will make use of specific songs and movements like "We've Got the Rhythm" or "Kalamazoo" or "Shaking Up the Trees" that are both fun and engaging, and call for both memory work and physical coordination.
There is not a day that goes by that we aren't using the music and lyrics of Paul Zeir, and at least once a week we are benefitting from movements choreographed by Melanie Zeir. There is no way to describe what our educational programs would be like without these. I suppose: quiet and still!
Our method of education is hands-on, experiential, and whole body oriented, engaging all of the senses. Whenever we need a song or dance to supplement a lesson, or illustrate an idea, we turn to THTF. With our older classes, the best example of this is the "We The People" workshop that they have designed. This year, on Constitution Day, we followed the outline of their workshop, and afterwards our 3rd - 5th graders were totally inspired by watching their DVD, to see how other students had done the same work in other schools. I think that for younger children, they just love and accept the THTF CDs, songs, and choreography as part of our classes. They don't have any idea what life would be like without this. For the older students, as they have graduated from the earlier songs and movements, they seem to be really fulfilled by the class songs that we commissioned from Paul Zeir. Even 11 year olds, who can think themselves too "cool" to sing, find themselves involved in the songs by doing the movements. I hope this offers a picture of how valuable the THTF body of work is in our programs.
We have gotten so used to this being a part of our daily educational process, that we don't think about how it must be for teachers who don't have access to this work. It's so easy to put on the CD and get the children up and moving, I can't imagine not doing this every day.
With best wishes,
Barbara Sarbin, Educational Program Director
Something Good in the World at Hilltop Hanover Farm