After waking up from a mid-morning nap, preschoolers showed off their dance moves and rhythm during their first Zumbini session at Morrill’s Tri-Community Pre-School on Thursday, Jan. 16.
Zumbini director Sunny Edwards, who took over the director role on Dec. 2, organized a 20-minute session with students from infancy through pre-kindergarten as they pilot the program in all the classrooms.
The program seeks to introduce music and movement to children at a young age, not only in the classroom but also at home. The activities develop children’s social skills, emotionally, cognitively and develop their relationship with caregivers through bonding, Edwards said.
“All of our classrooms have a book and the set, so they can play it in their classrooms whenever they want,” she said.
“I’m hoping that it will be something for families to connect with. I also hope to get some interest and train another teacher or para.”
After implementing the program, Edwards would like to build up the sessions to 50 minutes and visit each classroom twice a week.
Preschool students in Sorcha Colerick’s class began their Zumbini journey with the book “Calino finds the music.”
Throughout the session, students used bongos, scarves, rhythm sticks, maracas, mini symbols, tambourines and egg shakers while keeping a beat to the music and moving around the boardroom.
“My favorite was the drums because we made zebra sounds,” Heston Ryan said.
Throughout the session, Edwards said she selects an activity that brings the students’ energy up and then follows it with a quieter exercise.
“You’re usually up for two songs and down for one, up for one and down,” Edwards said. “It just keeps that where it elevates you and then teaches you slowly to come back down.”
For Rantin Liloegren, she enjoyed listening to the music.
“I like the music because I don’t do it very much at home and my teachers have dance parties,” she said.
As the students learn how to express themselves through movement, Edwards handed out colorful scarves for students to dance with.
“I liked the scarves,” Liloegren said. “That was a good game.”
During the upbeat portion of the song, the students twirled their scarves over their heads and during the decrescendo, they moved their scarves along the floor. Once the dance time was over, the students sat on the floor, rolled their scarves up and threw them into a pile in the middle of the room.
“I liked throwing them in the middle,” Wayne Gamell said. “When I threw mine, it went up and came back.”
Ryan also enjoyed throwing his scarf into the air.
“My scarf was going away and almost landed on one of my friends right by me,” he said.
Students shared small bongo drums with a classmate as they watched Edwards hit the drum to the beat. While they said it was hard to keep a beat, they started to figure it out. Ryan enjoyed the drums the most.
“Mine was the drums because it was a lot of fun,” he said.
Paraprofessional Laureli Starke as well as Colerick also enjoyed the Zumbini activities.
“I like the drums because it’s loud crazy and fun,” Starke said.
Following the session, Starke hopes the students learned about music while using some of their energy.
“I like seeing them getting their energy out outside of the classroom,” she said. “I also hope they learned about keeping a beat and rhythm.”
Starke said she would like to see the session extended to get the students out of the classroom and learning about self-expression and sharing with others.
If parents order Zumbini for $35 through the school, they will receive a book, CD and plush toy character. There is also a Zumbini app to take anywhere.
“They are wonderful books,” Edwards said. “It starts out with a welcome, a story and all the songs.”