YIA Mentor Artist Hannah Dworkin spent 10 weeks working with students of differed abilities at Marindale School, a campus that serves pre-school age students with Special Needs, providing them with necessary services including physical and occupational therapy.
Hannah worked for 10 weeks multiple teachers: Laura Becker, Susan Wilkinson, Collette Macowan and Carla Echevarria.
An example of Hannah’s work is how she worked in Collette Macgowen’s speech-delayed class, teaching language development through music. The classes followed a distinct agenda with visuals to accompany a variety of activities:
The “Goodmorning” song in which each student was greeted by the class, emphasizing good eye contact, interpersonal skills and welcoming facial expressions. The chorus was danced and the movements were selected through the use of a “choice board.
Students also learned multi-syllabic food-related words that were associated with musical notation. For example, group of four sixteenth notes were chanted as “pepperoni” and two eighth notes were chanted as “pizza.” This activity helped students to pronounce difficult sounds, increased musicianship levels and helped to coordinate sounds and body movements.
Chilren enjoyed singing songs and moving throughout the classroom, often learning traditional folk songs from various cultures such as “Fly Little Bluebird” and “Martarile.” Students used a variety of manipulatives and musical instruments for these songs such as scarves, drums and shakers.
The classes were concluded with a sung penny game that developed visual tracking and predictions skills and a goodbye song helping to transition students back to their other activities.
During culminating events teachers invited peers from other classrooms to share an afternoon of music, dance and playing with scarves. The celebrations began with singing “Hello” to each student which was followed by interactive songs designed to develop social skills as well as hand eye coordination. The students’ favorite part of the afternoon was playing and dancing with scarves.
Hannah and the teachers she worked with found the residencies to be very successful in that each student participated to the extent that his/her abilities allowed. The biggest challenge was adapting music/movement classes to the varying abilities of the students. Some students were verbal and mobile, others were mobile and non verbal and others were limited in their movement and language.
We met this challenge by partnering students able to perform tasks well with those who were more challenged as well as strategic help from the class’ amazing educators. Hannah and Youth in Arts look forward to serving these amazing teachers and students again next year!