All About Music Playtime
Music Playtime is a complete, topic-based music scheme for teachers of Early Years & Reception (age 3-5) and Key Stage 1 (age 5-7) children - choose either plan, or both. Music Playtime was commissioned by the Lancashire Music Service to fill the need for a scheme specifically for young children. Music Playtime is unique - it’s a complete music scheme combined with video-based CPD (continuing professional development)! It's packed full of playful music activities that were tried, tested and approved by local children, teachers and teaching assistants, and demonstrated in over 100 videos. Music Playtime is ideal for non-specialists - and parents too! You'll learn exactly what to do in music, why it's important and how to do it, with friendly advice, videos, audios, and help with planning. If you are a music specialist or school music lead, you'll find fantastic ideas that you may not have tried before.
Music Playtime fulfils ALL the music requirements of Development Matters: Non-statutory curriculum guidance for the early years foundation stage (Sep 2020) and ALL the requirements of the KS1 National Curriculum for music education. It’s endorsed by music and education experts alike, including nursery teachers, Key Stage 1 teachers and two former OFSTED inspectors.
Music Playtime is also great for parents, grandparents, childminders and carers who want to enable children to engage with music because the activities are specially selected to work with groups of any size and they are do-able even if you are not a teacher. Music Playtime is about active music - playing, singing, creating music, listening, movement and beginning to relate sounds to symbols. The activities are teacher-led, so you'll have fun too!
Now for the really amazing information ... go compare!
- Music Playtime works out at no more than 30-40 pence per day (depends on length of school/nursery year).
- All the teachers in your school/nursery can share a login!
Here's a 'taster' video from the Key Stage 1 unit:
lots of COVID-safe activities that don't involve singing!
The charts below show the Topics 1-5 activities that are safest at present for EYFS and for KS1 - and there are 10 more topics to go! Although the charts generally omit the Songs and Chants sections, the Music Playtime songs are ideal for outdoors and for use in the hall - being so child-friendly, they don't dependent on videos or backing tracks for success. The jury is still out on whether humming is a safe alternative to singing but those sections contain some non-singing activities based on the songs. To print out the charts, please log in first to download them from the start of Topic 5: Maestro & the Christmas Tree for Early Years and from Topic 5: Maestro & the Christmas Tree for KS1. (Easiest to use a desktop or laptop unless your phone has a pdf reader.)
COVID-safe Activities for EYFS
COVID-safe Activities for KS1
COVID-19 Safety Guidance for Music
The UK government guidance states that music can and should be taught to all pupils from the start of Autumn term 2020. It can be delivered by class teachers and visiting music teachers who can work with different classes during the day and schools should take decisions that are best suited to their physical buildings, their pupils and their community. Teachers should refer regularly to the GOV.UK guidelines to check for updates and Music Playtime cannot be held responsible for the failure of schools to do so. Official guidance for Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales may be slightly different.
The GOV.UK guidance, accessed on 29 August 2020, states the following:
"All pupils should have access to a quality arts education. Music, dance and drama build confidence and help children live happier, more enriched lives, and discover the joy of expressing themselves. There may, however, be an additional risk of infection in environments where singing, chanting, playing wind or brass instruments, dance and drama takes place."
The above guidance "applies to primary, secondary (including sixth forms), infant, junior, middle, upper, school-based nurseries and boarding schools". The government expects independent schools to follow the control measures in the same way as state-funded schools and the guidance also covers expectations for children with special educational needs and disability (SEND), including those with education, health and care plans, in mainstream schools. Separate Early Years guidance is said to be available at GOV.UK for early years, further education colleges and for special schools but the advice about music, updated 21 August 2020, is simply: "There may need to be changes to some subjects, such as PE and music, so that schools can teach these subjects as safely as possible".
Holiday, after-school and out-of-school clubs guidance was last updated by GOV.UK on 20 August 2020, and may be due for an update. The guidance, accessed on 29 August 2020 advises:
- limiting the number of children singing or playing together as far as possible and ensuring that children attending are in small groups of no more than 15, with the same children each time wherever possible and at least one staff member
- children are socially distanced (2 metres apart), are outside or in a well-ventilated room
- they are not singing loudly.
Government Guidance in Detail
A detailed, cross-referenced summary of government guidance regarding singing is available at E-MusicMaestro in the article Can We Sing ... Or Not?
Research is being undertaken by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) regarding the relative impact of singing compared with talking. Dr Rupert Beale of the Francis Crick Institute, has said, with regard to current research: "This important research suggests there is no specific excess risk of transmission due to singing. Loud speech and singing both carry excess risk however. This research supports the possibility of safe performance as long as there's appropriate social distancing and ventilation."
How to Subscribe to Music Playtime
Individuals and individual schools enjoy a free two-week trial, or skip to the bottom of the form to subscribe straight away. When your free trial ends, you may choose to subscribe to Early Years/Reception OR Key Stage 1 OR both at a discount price. Subscription payments are set to recur every year but you can cancel any time before the next payment is due with no further obligation, and your subscription will still run for a full year.
The cost of Music Playtime taken, for example, over the nursery year, is less than 30 pence per day, all the teachers can use it, and the videos provide CPD too! Go compare!
If you work in a Lancashire school, you are eligible for a discount - please contact the Lancashire Music Service for details.
If you are a music service or academy trust enquiring about discounts for your schools and nurseries, please use the Multi-subscription enquiry form on the Homepage.
How Can Music Playtime Help Me?
Music Playtime helps you to become more confident when teaching music, with clear explanations and demonstrations. I'm specifically qualified to teach music to this age range, with years of experience as a class teacher, and my work as a university tutor in music education means that I understand what sort of support you need as a busy teacher or musically-interested parent:
- do-able, enjoyable activities
- all in one place
- clear demonstrations and friendly advice
- makes planning and record keeping easy
- Ofsted-proof - based on sound practice and endorsed by leading experts
The sample lesson plans for Key Stage 1 show you how simple it is for you to make your own plans using Music Playtime because the activities are categorised (eg singing, creative work) and the elements of music covered by each task are given (eg tempo, dynamics). There's also a template for keeping records easily. You don't have to read music notation because you can learn the songs from the singalong tracks and you truly don't need a great singing voice - the important thing is to just do it, and many of the activities don't require you to sing anyway.