Our #candomusic Recovery Curriculum

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PLEASE NOTE: Guidance may have changed since this page was written and it's important to make sure you follow your school's and the Government's most recent updates. We believe that there are lots of useful ideas here that can be applied to different types of learning situations, so please do read on!
Coronavirus has thrown up many new challenges over the past six months:
social distancing, mask-wearing, daily news reports on rising numbers of cases in hospitals… who could possibly have predicted the turmoil that this pandemic has brought to almost every feature of daily life?

Education has certainly been no exception. As schools return, many have developed or are developing recovery curriculums (based on the excellent work of Barry Carpenter, Professor in Mental Health in Education at Oxford Brookes University) to help repair the damage done by the COVID-19 outbreak, and it is clear that this year will need even more careful thought than usual. The success of Out of the Ark’s @HOME offering has demonstrated just how important singing has been as part of families’ lives during lockdown, and as children return to school in September, it is clear that music will be an essential tool in helping them to settle back into school life, establish new routines, and importantly transition to a new normal of education.
Our understanding of the risks associated with singing in relation to COVID-19 is growing all the time. Before we have an effective vaccine, and perhaps for some time afterwards, it seems likely that the singing landscape in schools will look very different. While some schools will feel comfortable singing in ‘bubbles’ or outside for example, others may not have the facilities necessary to sing as regularly as they might like.
The great news is that your favourite songs (as well as many you have yet to discover) can be used to support your music and whole-school curriculums whether you are singing in your school or not.

Let’s take a look at some simple, effective ways in which music can help you quickly re-establish routines, restore relationships and social interaction, rebuild confidence and community, and rekindle a love of learning in your classroom.

Re-establishing Routines

Routine and structure help children feel safe and secure, easing anxiety. A good song or piece of music can really assist in establishing routines – the perfect cue to tidy up, line up, wash hands, eat lunch – or as a signal to transition to build energy and focus, or to calm things down a bit!

If singing is not yet an option in your setting, try playing the vocal tracks for the children to listen to. Can they pay attention and respond to the instructions in songs such as The Tidy Up Team, Tidy Up or Be Quiet?
Let's Be Quiet from The Niki Davies Book Of Everyday Songs: a calming and relaxing song that can be sung with gentle voices to settle everyone into a quiet time.

This Day from Songs For Every Occasion: an uplifting song to put everyone in a positive frame of mind for the day ahead. Sing the song together and talk about the ways you can look for lots to be glad about and someone to think about.
The Tidy-Up Team from The Niki Davies Book Of Everyday Songs: set a challenge for each verse. Can the coats be hung on pegs in verse 1, hands be sanitised in verse 2, everyone sit in their seats in verse 3?

It’s Nearly Playtime from Songs For Every Singing School: play the song It’s Nearly Playtime as a cue to tidy up. Once the class is sitting down, play the song again and create a rhythmic accompaniment using the items on their table. Try drumming fingers on the table to the pulse of the track or tapping a pencil on the first beat of the bar. For an added challenge, create a rhythmic ostinato by repeating the rhythm of the first line It’s nearly playtime over and over.
You could also ask your class to suggest music to be used at different times in the school day – not only might they have some great ideas, but this may also help them to reconnect with their peers and give them an opportunity to ‘have a voice’ and contribute to developing a positive class identity.

Restoring Relationships and Social Interaction

Providing opportunities for children to reconnect with their friends will be a high priority in September, and songs and music activities can provide the perfect framework for practising important social skills. A simple call-and-response song such as Good Morning from Songs For Every Singing School works well in small groups and encourages children to listen carefully to each other. Try inserting children’s and staff members’ names into the song to create a personalized version.
Good Morning from Songs For Every Singing School: sing your morning register and greet everyone in turn!
Can’t sing? Then sign! Try performing a signed version of songs like Together or I Have A Song To Sing.
Use songs to complement circle-time activities. These could act as a great conversation starter, inspiring a discussion about friendship and building positive relationships.

Rebuilding Confidence

Learning at home might have been a solitary experience for some children, and even those from large families will have become used to much smaller groups than they will experience when back in school. Songs that give an opportunity for solo or duet performance are very effective at helping children to re-establish their own ‘voice’ and regain confidence in expressing themselves with others.
Knock, Knock! Who’s There? from Sing™ Something Silly!: challenge everyone in the group to find or create a new ‘Knock, Knock’ joke, and insert a bit of silliness at regular intervals throughout the day! The soloist tells the joke and everyone else fills in the Who’s there? lines.

Seeds Of Friendship from Sing™ Harvest: This song starts with a solo and builds through a duet, quartet and octet until finally everyone sings together.
Sing Yourself A Happy Song from Summer Assembly Songs: this song comes with signing videos. Learn the signs for each verse and then challenge your group to split into three and layer all three verses up in a round.

Music is an important tool for self-expression, and the ability to express themselves will rebuild your children’s confidence. Try building regular opportunities for children to listen and respond to a range of music with some Musical Doodling. Look to repeat this activity over a sequence of lessons and perhaps try creating a Doodle Display in your classroom.

How to Doodle:
  1. Provide the children with a piece of paper and explain that this is their musical doodle board!
  2. Next, play a short extract and ask everyone to move an imaginary pen in the air in response to the sounds they hear.
  3. Listen again, this time making marks with a pen on the paper. Explain that the music should ‘tell’ their pen what to do! Dots, dashes, squiggly lines… anything goes! How does the music change the doodles? Maybe their pen moves faster as the tempo increases, or perhaps quieter sounds encourage smaller marks.
  4. Listen to the music again and ask each child to follow their musical doodle board with their finger. Can they match the sounds they hear to their doodles on their board?
This activity is a great ‘brain break’ and works with just about any piece of music. Watch the children of Mark First School trying a bit of musical doodling in response to Winter from The Four Seasons by Vivaldi.
(This video was created before the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic).

Rebuilding Community

Songs that instil a sense of school community and identity are great for helping children feel safe and cared for at school. At the time of writing, the government advice is that ‘schools should avoid large gatherings such as assemblies or collective worship with more than one group’. Assemblies within groups of ‘bubbles’ are, of course, OK, but here are some simple, creative suggestions for keeping the spirit of whole-school ‘togetherness’ alive.
Top five songs for building confidence
In classes, create displays of school music events such as whole-school performances, concerts and assemblies, to communicate a positive message around whole-school music-making. Try listening to songs and create artwork inspired by the lyrics and music.
Choose a time each day when everyone in school will sing together from their own classrooms. Throw open the windows and doors to get the air moving, and to let your sound carry into the community outside the school gates. Just think how wonderful it will be for people passing by to hear your children singing!

Rekindling a love of learning

Provide open-ended creative activities that allow children to put their own individual stamp on a piece of work. Song-writing is perfect for this and is also a brilliant tool for self-expression, as well as a great way to develop important literacy and musical skills.
When I Grow Up from Songs For Every Growing School and This is Me! from This Is Me have useful templates to allow your class to write a personalized version of either the whole song or just one or two verses.

Share ideas and sing your new class version together.
If you’re not singing in groups in school yet, you can still work at the song-writing element of our Safe Singing Option. Individuals could record their own versions and share them digitally with the group.
Involve the children in planning a simple performance or short ‘bubble’ assembly to be shared with another ‘bubble’ via a video or PowerPoint. The assembly could be on any chosen topic or perhaps a ‘Meet Our Class’ theme to kick-start the year. Perhaps each class could share their goals for the new academic year. Try choosing some suitable Out of the Ark songs that could be sung and recorded in small groups, or use the vocal track as a soundtrack to the film.


The mental and physical health benefits of physical exercise and outdoor play are well-known, and it is likely that finding creative ways to get your class active will be an important part of your curriculum in September.
Active songs and playground games are great for this and could be enjoyed in small groups in a large, open space.
Why not try an action song such as Hey You, In The Middle from My World: All About Me? Choose a child to be the ‘leader’ and invent some weird and wacky actions for the class to follow. These sorts of songs are also perfect for developing important social skills: listening, eye contact, turn-taking, cooperation, self- confidence.
Move, dance, stomp or click instead! Body percussion is an excellent way of engaging in physical rhythm activities. Try Clomp Stomp or Crazy Clapping (just do the clapping!) from Sing™ Warm-Ups.
Listen to some Out of the Ark instrumental tracks such as Coordination Funk, If You Can Walk, You Can Dance or That’s The Way We’re Put Together, and ask the class to devise their own actions or develop a dance routine inspired by the music.

Written by the Out of the Ark Education Team: Antony Copus, Nikki Hewson & Peter Taylor


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USED IT? LOG IT! Most schools have a CWCL licence from Christian Copyright Licensing Limited (CCLI) - more information can be found here. This licence grants permission to display song lyrics and music from Out of the Ark Music’s Words on Screen™ Singchronize™ Player and CD ROMs, on any projection screen as well as download and share lyrics and music. Whenever you use our songs, please make note of your usage and then log your songs on your CCLI copy report, so that song writers and copyright holders are paid for their work.

Out of the Ark Music has been providing schools across the country – and world – with wonderful primary school musicals and primary school songs for nearly 30 years. Our Christmas musicals and nativity plays make children sparkle and shine, year after year, as they proudly perform their school Christmas play. Our extensive collection of fun and joyous Easter songs, harvest songs, school assembly songs, leavers songs and even space songs, fill schools with laughter and give students and teachers alike, a reason to sing every day of the week. We’re glad you’re supporting us in our dreams of creating the best music for schools around the globe. Read more about us here.

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