Training for Pre-K Teachers Puts Music Front and Center

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You might be familiar with the standard soundtrack for a pre-school classroom: the songs to say hello, say goodbye, name the date and clean up.

Now pre-kindergarten teachers in New York City are learning to use music to teach more complicated subjects such as photosynthesis or how to handle difficult emotions.

“Pre-k kids come into the building, and that’s all they have, the desire to move and paint and make noise and all those things,” said Paul King, the director of the arts for the city’s Department of Education. “There’s so much learning that happens through art making.”

Some 150 pre-kindergarten teachers attended a professional development session last month organized by the Department of Education at Third Street Music Settlement to learn techniques for teaching with music.

It’s part of the city’s effort to upgrade the quality of pre-k teaching across a diverse network of private programs. Other sessions will focus on drama, dance, and visual art.