Have you ever wondered why we sing Hello and Goodbye to every single child at the beginning and end of every Musical Story Time Jam at Hamilton-Wenham Library and Music, Books and More at Manchester-Essex RSD? It is because we are intentionally building social and emotional intelligence.
This ritual helps children understand feelings, develop empathy and build relationships with others. It allows each child to develop a sense of individuality within the group.
It is so satisfying to see toddlers and preschoolers begin to acknowledge each other by name. It is fun for all of us when we see an infant light up and wave her arms when we sing Hello and insert her name. I love when I hear stories of children playing this ritual at home with a circle of stuffed animals. It is why we sing to Anna, Elsa, Foxy, Chocolate, and all of the other stuffed animals that may accompany the children to the playgroup.
When we participate in this ritual we help the children learn how they feel about themselves and their relationships. So, it may take a while to go around the whole circle when we have a big group, but it is one of the most important activities that we do when we come together each week. We are promoting healthy emotional and social intelligence. We are making community.
Lisa Cheney, CFCE Coordinator, Hamilton-Wenham RSD.