7 Reasons to Use Songs in Therapy or in Your Special Education Classroom

At work, the staff and I sing all the time.  It’s to the point were we joke that we are professional singers.  Now I will fully admit that I don’t have a great singing voice and would never make it in any singing competition. I do, however, like to sing and songs are a great way to help children with language delays. Here are some reasons why you should incorporate songs into your day.

1. They are repetitive and it’s a great way to teach vocabulary.  Songs like “Old MacDonald’s Farm” and “Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes” are great. Most of the children’s classics are great.  Talk It Rock It has some great music. 

2. They are engaging and often even children who are hard to engage enjoy music.  

3. Many preschool songs come with actions so children who are not talking can participate.  We will often make up actions if there are none.  It keeps the songs engaging.

4. They are great for transitions.  I’m not just talking about singing the clean up song.  At school we have a line up song, a washing hands songs, a going to circle song etc…  Again they are predictable and along with other aids really help children understand what is happening and what to do. We have or will make up lyrics to fit a specific situation.

5. They are great for communication temptations to encourage children to talk. Most songs you can pause and have children fill in parts of the words or actions.  For example, when singing “Row Row Row Your Boat” you can have the children scream or make a gesture of screaming  after the line, “if you see a crocodile, don’t forget to scream.”  Also songs are typically short in duration so children will have many opportunities ask for the songs again and again.

6. They are easy to teach parents. This makes it a great way to move what we do in therapy or class into the home.  They make “homework” fun.

7. It is great for working on sequencing skills.  Once a song becomes know to the children mix it up and watch the children react.  They will tell you, you are doing it wrong and “help” you out. Also if a song has a series of animals (e.g. “Alligator Song”) or people in it (e.g. “Ballet Dancing Truck Driver”) you can have the children help you put the visuals in the right order.

What are your favourite children’s songs to sing?

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