Today’s Tuneful Tuesday song comes from Dorothy Cresswell who shared “First Day Butterflies” written expressly for the first day of school! “(This song) acknowledges that although the beginning of school is exciting, we have mixed feelings about it.”, says Dorothy. “At my school, I collected my class at the bus door. Right there at the door, I would confess to the children that I, too, was nervous. I thought about what to wear, what to bring for lunch, who would the children be, would they like me? I, too, was meeting lots of new people and hoping that we would like each other. I’d ask if anyone else had trouble falling asleep the night before; or if anyone else felt a little strange? I explained that I had “butterflies in my stomach.” Next, I taught the song, line by line using the call and response method. Then, we’d put all of the lyrics together without the echo.”
Let’s take a listen:
“First Day Butterflies”
Lyrics with Choreography
First Day (hold up one finger)
Tummy butterflies (make hand butterflies crossing thumbs and fingers lined up like wings)
All those funny feelings running ‘round inside. (Make hands fly over tummy area)
I don’t know what will happen (arms at side, palms turned up and shoulders hunched)
It’s a big surprise! (palms raise up above head)
So take a breath (inhale to two counts)
And step-by-step (march 2 steps)
We’ll catch those butterflies! (cup hands together like you’re catching a butterfly)
Let’s go catch those butterflies!
Dorothy recommends these enriching follow-up activities for “First Day Butterflies”:
1)Butterfly Circle Time: At your circle time, draw a large winged butterfly. Ask the children to name the different feelings they have about starting kindergarten. Each time they name one, write it on a wing. Encourage as many different feelings to be expressed to fill up the wings such as excited, scared, happy, worried, sad, glad, hyper, anxious, giddy and mad, etc. Ask the children what color that word feels like and circle each word in that color.
2) Butterfly Kite Art Project: Print out copies of butterfly outlines at a drawing table for the children to color during arts and craft time or free play time. Set out child-safe scissors, tape and yarn for the children to cut out the butterflies and to attach yarn to make kites. Use this activity time to assess the children for right and left-handedness, coloring and cutting developmental levels, ability to focus, ask questions and hold conversation, etc. I have found this to be a good use of the first morning.
3) Follow-Up: The next morning, check if anyone has more butterflies. If they do, then sing “Second Day tummy butterflies…” Usually in a few days those butterflies have settled down.
One day I bumped into a family whose child had started high school that day. They laughed when they saw me and asked, “Guess what we were singing this morning?” I had no idea. The mother and daughter (who was taller than me by then) sang, “First Day tummy butterflies..!” They said it had come up many times over the years when their daughters had new experiences and had to “Take a breath and step-by-step, catch those butterflies!”
Meet Dorothy Cresswell
Musician and activist Dorothy Creswell is the director of the “Happy Valley Children’s Chorus”; and the creator and producer of “The Curious Giraffe Show: Musical Conversations with Kids.” To listen to more of Dorothy’s motivating music, you can visit CDBABY here or visit her website here!