From the Archives is a series created in tandem with new PIO! Editor Brigid Finucane. We share songs from the extensive archives here at CMN by our own, wonderful members. This song comes from member Vincent Nunes.
From Vincent: How do you communicate to children the importance of reusing and recycling without being preachy? I introduce them to Uncle Jonathan. He’s modeled after a friend, who drives a big van and brakes for virtually every garage sale or curb where items were discarded. In my song, Uncle Jonathan collects a variety of things each made of different materials (glass, metal, plastic and paper), all of which are recyclable. Each item has a different sonic timbre: cans “clank-clank-clank”; bottles “toot-toot”, etc. This brings another and wholly different curriculum element to the song: sound. From sound comes music, and with it all the developmentally important features of musical experience, such as patterns, intervals, and sequencing.
As children experience the collected items in the song, which make various sounds and how those sounds are different, they use their imaginations. It is the perfect learning environment for higher level thought. Slightly older children will understand that sounds made by each of the recycled items have different rhythmic elements: triplets, two-quarter beats, and so on. “Uncle Jonathan” is a song which shows children that reusing and recycling is as fun as it sounds!
On a personal note, my dad was a master reuser and recycler. When he found something at a flea market that he thought was interesting and had more use in it, he enthusiastically proclaimed, “Still looks good!” Thanks, Dad, for a great “hook.”