It’s an unexpected thing for new families to walk into – having signed up for a music class, they walk in to see us just sitting in a circle, rolling a ball back and forth! Why do SECE classes always start this way? There are both practical and educational reasons that we take time to start with this activity. There’s a lot more going on than what it may seem like on the surface!
On a practical level, ball rolling is a time to transition from the morning you’ve had to class time. We leave the door closed on purpose and welcome everyone in when class has officially begun. We start Mozart’s “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik” and open the door for everyone to file in, take off their shoes and join the circle. When you’re in the room, it’s class time!
Ball rolling also helps us with the practical skill of rolling that we use during our opening “Cuckoo” activity.
But beyond that, ball rolling has so many deep educational purposes.
Ball rolling sets the expectations of class.
Ball rolling encourages a focus on listening to the music. We listen calmly and carefully to Eine Kleine Nachtmusik each week and keep talking to a minimum. If needed, we use non-verbal cues to allow our ears to tune into the music.
Ball rolling helps us create our calm learning environment. Children only learn when they are calm. Ball rolling establishes this calm that will be our goal to sustain through the rest of class.
Ball rolling allows us to practice taking turns and sharing. We have to be able to take turns for the rest of class, of course, but this skill goes well beyond what we do in our SECE classes!
Ball rolling reminds children that they work together with their parents as a team. Children are expected to sit with their grown-ups, either in their laps or right at their side for ball rolling and the rest of class.
Ball rolling develops sensitivity. Often children start to notice when others have not yet had a turn, and choose to roll the ball to them. It’s so important to encourage this beautiful sensitivity in children. It fosters a sense of community and togetherness for the class.
Hopefully this allows you to understand why we value this opening activity! Next time in class, see if you notice any of these abilities being developed in your child!