The Nursery children are learning to ‘tune in’ to different sounds by participating in Sound Walks around school – you may have seen them walking around school wearing their large ‘listening ears’, carefully listening to and identifying different everyday sounds, from people talking, to birds tweeting in the trees, to the sounds of cooking outside the school kitchen, or students bouncing balls as they play basketball in the sports hall.
Music and songs also play an integral part of developing listening skills, so the children have enjoyed a range of music activities where they focus on the sounds of different instruments, or how they are played. It is always fun making up different movements to the different instruments played; the children have had a great time tiptoeing to the ding, ding, ding of a triangle and stomping like an elephant to a loud drum. The Nursery children also love to sing different rhymes, which helps them to begin to hear rhyming words and alliterative patterns as well as increasing their vocabulary as they do the actions or act out different rhymes.
Another favourite listening activity is ‘drumming outdoors’. Here the children have two sticks and gently tap objects to hear the differences in sounds that they make. They have learnt that trees and things made of wood make a dull sound which is very different to objects made from metal or plastic, but one of the favourite sounds is the ‘swishy’ sounds of the leaves of trees, bushes and grass.
Learning to listen is the first part of a child’s journey into reading and writing. Good listening skills open up the doorway to skills in phonics enabling the children to identify the different sounds which words are made up of. The listening activities which the Nursery children participate also aid concentration and help to increase both vocabulary and comprehension.