Posts Tagged ‘early childhood’


Early Childhood Learning Through Play

April 9, 2015

Pre-K-4 learning opportunity – Starting Friday 4pm, April 17, 2015 in Portland with instructor, Judy Fricke!

IMG_1438Are you a Pre-K – 4 teacher looking for recertification or graduate credits? Do you want some inspiring and fun strategies for incorporating the arts in early learning? EDE 526: Early Childhood Learning Through Play may be just what you are looking for!

Current research supports the understanding that children learn through play. The importance of arts-based learning is emphasized to educators of young children and participants will learn how to integrate play and each of the art forms across the curriculum. The course covers the foundations of creative thought, the creative arts, and creative teaching and assessment.

Designed for educators from pre-school through grade 4, this course will help early childhood educators to integrate children’s creativity, play, and the arts into their curriculum in a way that fosters learning and growth and meets accountability measures. Course activities will enable educators to articulate the importance of creativity and arts-based learning to families, colleagues, and administrators. The course can be taken for 3 graduate credits or for 4.5 CEUs.

4747f3_20084657f003426298b40842b18f0bdc.png_srz_p_147_138_75_22_0.50_1.20_0The instructor, Judy S. Fricke, is a workshop facilitator and arts education consultant in both early childhood music and emergent literacy. Judy has taught music in large and small preschool settings as well as parent/child class settings over the past twenty years. She is a teacher leader in the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative and she teaches graduate level courses for the New England Institute for Teacher Education.

For more information, or to register, visit the website of the New England Institute for Teacher Education or call 207-367-5807.


Early Childhood and the Arts

September 7, 2014

Michigan Public Radio

Earlier this year Michigan Public Radio broadcast a show that was about the unique link between young children taking part in arts and crafts activities and patents received or businesses launched as an adult.

The study took a close look at Michigan State University Honors STEM students between 1990 and 1995. Ninety-four per cent of the STEM graduates had musical training as compared to 34% of all adults.

You can listen to the entire interview by clicking here.


Another Teacher’s Story: Judy Fricke

March 18, 2014

Featuring one teacher’s journey as an arts educator

This is the second blog post for 2014 and the third phase of the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative of this  series of blog posts telling arts teachers’ stories. This series contains a set of questions to provide the opportunity for you to read the stories and to learn from others.

DSCN0239Judy S. Fricke is an Early Childhood (EC) Music Specialist at the Main Street Music Studios in Bangor, Maine. Judy has been an EC Music Educator for twenty years, first in Collierville, TN and for the last four years in Bangor. In those twenty years she has had opportunities to work with children ages one month through five years in parent/child class settings and with children one year to five years old in a large preschool of 350 students. At Main Street Music Studios in Bangor she has 23 students who attend age-bracketed classes with a caregiver. She uses John Feierabend’s First Steps in Music curriculum as the basis for all of her classes since studying with him 19 years ago.

What do you like best about being a music educator?

While working with our youngest learners, I will never tire of watching the “light bulb” gleam in their eyes as they feel the rhythm in bounces or anticipate the tickle at the end of a tickle rhyme. I will never lose the joy in watching a one year old gain control of his or her arm muscles and begin to play a drum with a steady beat, or of listening to a three year old gain control of his or her voice muscles and begin to “echo sing” dead on pitch. I also will never get tired of watching the confidence grow in the parents of these children as they learn how to interact musically with their little ones.

What do you believe are three keys to ANY successful visual and performing arts education?

The three keys I would consider highest on my list for a successful arts program would be:

  1. Unbridled passion for what you teach
  2. A safe, exciting, and encouraging environment in which to teach
  3. A wicked good sense of both humor and humility

How have you found assessment to be helpful to you in your classroom?

As an independent instructor of the very young, formal assessment is not part of my program. Yet, informal assessment has been part of my day to day lesson planning since the beginning. By tweaking my planning based on the specific ages of my students I am able to deliver developmentally appropriate activities for various physical, mental, and attention levels.

What have been the benefits in becoming involved in the arts assessment initiative?

The MAAI has given me the opportunity to meet and interplay with arts teachers and early childhood educators from around the state. I am sure I would never have had that opportunity on my own. Thank you Argy for this gift.  MAAI has made me much more aware of my place, or lack there of, in the incredibly complex world of arts education in the state. I have felt more connected, as well as more alone, in the last year as I worked beside fellow educators. We need more early childhood arts folks involved in MAAI. I need collaborators on my level so that the important work of laying the foundations for the K-12 programs does not feel as much as an afterthought, but more of the beginning of something wonderful.

What are you most proud of in your career?

I was teaching in Tennessee long enough to see children that I had in preschool excel in high school music programs and continue on to study music in college. I cannot take complete credit for these achievements, but when I would see them as young adults and they would raise and lower their arms while making a slide whistle sound, I know I had made an impression. A good impression can bring an exceeding sense of pride.

What gets in the way of being a better teacher or doing a better job as a teacher?

I teach in a lovely old downtown building. The other teachers with whom I work have private studio rooms for private lessons. I teach in the lobby because it is the only space large enough for my classes. Therefore, we have folks walking through the classes, stopping to ask questions, and opening and closing the door to let in very cold air. These physical issues often get in the way of my teaching, but trying to handle it in stride and continue to love what I do makes up for it. The people I work with are professional musicians and teachers and are so supportive of my program, I know I am a better teacher because I am there.

What have you accomplished through hard work and determination that might otherwise appear at first glance to be due to “luck” or circumstances?

I believe finding Main Street Music Studios on-line from Tennessee was a brilliant stroke of luck! I was just looking for any kind of employment in the downtown area so that I could walk to work once we moved to Bangor. Yes, having the 16 years of experience to bring with my proposal for the early childhood program here helped, but the fact that Bangor had the Studio for me to be a part of was definitely luck!

Look into your crystal ball: what advice would you give to teachers?

I believe the word I would most like to share with fellow teachers is “collaborate”. If you are a K-6 teacher, and you have a PreK program in your school, find out what you can do with the EC teachers to help them with their goals for the arts – in doing so, you are only enhancing your programs. Same goes for high school teachers – work with your middle school counterparts. Middle school folks work with your elementary counterparts. In doing so, everyone will be working toward the same ultimate goal – that of giving every student the best arts experiences possible in a way that makes sense to both the programs and the students.

If you were given a $500,000.00 to do with whatever you please, what would it be?

If I were given $500,000.00 to do with as I please, I would make an endowment to the University of Maine Systems for the purpose of creating an Early Childhood Music Education program and a Music Therapy program. Then I would ask to teach in the Early Childhood program and I would take classes in the Music Therapy program.

Imagine you are 94 years old. You’re looking back. Do you have any regrets?

If I have the fortune to live until I am 94, I hope I am still able to bounce little ones on my knee and sing soft lullabies to them when they are tired. If I can do this, I will not have any regrets.

Well, I might regret that I never got that $500,000. And so might a lot of very young children.


Early Childhood Conference

September 26, 2013

Screen shot 2013-09-10 at 9.50.59 PMSaturday, November 16, 2013

Augusta State Armory, Western Ave, Augusta, ME

8:30 am-4:45 pm

$50.00 before October 15-$60.00 after October 15



8:30-9:00 am- Welcome and Keynote address-Argy Nestor, Visual and Performing Arts Specialist, Maine Department of Education    

9:15-10:45 am- Session I

  1. Confidence in Creative Singing (Yes, even YOU!): Presented by, Martin Swinger.  This fun, safe and affirming workshop helps even uncertain singers freely invent instruction and transition songs using simple scaffolding steps. Find confidence to creatively ‘fail’ maintaining pride and self-respect! Bravely model the joy of singing!
  2. Telling true stories: How to inspire kids to write about their lives and family: Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Barbara Walsh, author of August Gale: A Father and Daughter’s Journey into the Storm and Sammy in the Sky, will discuss how to get children excited about writing stories about their lives or family. Walsh, a long-time journalist and non-fiction author, believes children should be encouraged to write down and share stories of their past and present. If families don’t document their lives and their history, their stories are lost forever. Learn tips and ideas about how to inspire kids to tell their stories and make their own “mini-books.” (Copies of Barbara Walsh’s books will be available at the conference, where she will gladly personalize them.)
  3. Allowing Music to Unlock the Door to Literacy: Presented by, Judy Fricke. Music used in a variety of ways can be the key that opens the door to literacy for infants and toddlers, preschoolers and teachers alike.  During this workshop Judy will present three groups of hands on activities which can encourage and empower the early childhood educator to engage in “music to literacy” activities regularly with their children. Simple and enjoyable tools from bounces, tickles and wiggles to simple folk dancing and drumming create a fun-filled time of sharing. Music and movement can create a fun activity that helps open children’s minds to their culture and their imaginations and introduce their bodies to the freedom of artistic expression. The first half hour will concentrate on infants and toddlers. The second will concentrate on preschoolers and beyond. And the third will address arts based read alouds with an emphasis on music, drama and dance.
  4. Bringing Children’s Literacy to Life: Presented by, Elizabeth Richards. Bring great children’s books to life on the stage!  Literacy learning is more engaging and exciting when children have an opportunity to become the characters, explore the illustrations more closely and create scenery, and learn the book inside and out through movement and repetition.  Participants will learn how acting stories out builds literacy skills, and how to create exciting performances out of familiar stories.

11:00 am-12:30 pm- Session II-Repeat of Session 1 workshops

12:30-1:30 pm- Lunch on your own (you will be provided with a list of area restaurants or you may bring your lunch)

1:30-3:00 pm- Session III

  1. Dance Mad Louie Dance!: This workshop will teach you how to use dance and other physical activities to help you and the children you care for maintain a healthy body and healthy mind well having fun! You will also learn how to use these activities to teach team work and listening skills.  This workshop requires proper footwear as you will be dancing and moving.
  2. 6.      Collaborative Art Making: Developing 21st Century Skills through the Arts:  Presented by, Megan Pollino. This presentation will focus on how to facilitate dynamic collaborative art projects that strengthen communication, problem solving, and team work skills in children.  Megan will speak on her experiences using creative mediums such as animation, film making, painting, and design to prepare children to work in collaborative environments. Educators and caregivers will participate in hands-on activities reflective of the approaches presented and sample lesson plans will be provided. 
  3. From Storybooks to Bookmaking: Incorporating Creative Writing in Early Childhood Classrooms: Presented by, Megan London.  In this workshop, participants will explore ways to bring creative writing and poetry into their work with children.  You will learn about active storytelling and how to create storyboards with children, as well as simple and easy ways to make books with children.
  4. Drama Every Day: Presented by, Lindsay Pinchbeck.  Explore elements of drama you can bring directly into your classroom and daily routines.  You will engage in activities inspired by dramatists Peter Slade, Brian Way, Viola Spolin, Dorothy Heathcote and more.  Group dynamics, personality types and various learning styles will also be explored through drama to encourage empathy in the classroom.  Elements of role play, non verbal and verbal drama games, puppetry and more will be experienced and shared.  This workshop is appropriate for all ages.

3:15-4:45 pm- Session IV-Repeat of Session III workshops

To register please go to


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