While strolling down the K-2 hallway, you may hear singing or chanting, usually with lots of motion and very enthusiastic voices! Why are the students doing this? Shouldn’t learning be quiet so the students can listen to the teacher’s every captivating word? According to the Trivium, listening in the Grammar Stage may not be the best way to learn. Dorothy Sayers explained in “The Lost Tools of Learning” that younger children love to chant, recite, and memorize. This is what is known as the Poll-parrot Stage. Sayers wrote, “At this age, one readily memorizes the shapes and appearances of things…one rejoices in the chanting of rhymes…one enjoys the mere accumulation of things.”
This is not to say all this chanting, singing, and memorizing is just for fun. There is real learning going on in the classrooms. Kindergarteners can sing about all the short and long vowel sounds, count to one hundred, and recite Scriptures. First graders sing and chant many Phonics rules (and label them), sing of God’s glorious Solar System, and happily sing about the Pilgrims in their quest for religious freedom in the New World. Second graders sing and recite grammar rules, classify sentences, sing about mammals, reptiles, and the skeletal system, and hide much of God’s Word in their hearts. They can even sing all of the books of the Bible in order.
Each time a new jingle, song, or chant is introduced, the students are exposed to new concepts about God’s world and are provided with an engaging and exciting way to remember the information. This method of learning also allows for the concepts and facts taught to be regularly reviewed. So, the next time you are on the K-2 hallway, please stop and join us in a jingle, song, or chant and learn something new!