Today, we’re chatting with Stacie Carroll, one of the brilliant co-creators of Sing to Say. Stacie is a lauded special needs teacher based in Toronto, Canada, with twenty-three years of experience. Stacie teaches from a neuro-developmental, student-centered, student-driven perspective.
What advice would you give to a Sing to Say parent, to maximize the benefits of Sing to Say in child’s everyday life?
Stacie Carroll: I think it’s so important to use and repeat songs from the app, and to help kids remember a tune in a different context to generalize learning outside of the iPad.
For example, when you’re in the kitchen next and it’s snack time, sing the cookie song. Don’t be shy about singing! Making real-life connections with the app will extend learning. Communication is only functional if you can use it to communicate with those around you, so whatever your child loves in the app, use that in real life.
Music can also help get from point A to point B, so you could sing the toothbrush song as transition from one activity to tooth brushing.
Can you tell us about a time when you saw music reach an autistic child?
SC: There was a student who was autistic and non-verbal. She communicated in other ways, but not words. One day in the hallway, we were transitioning between one thing and another, and she sang ‘hello’ to me using our hello song. She couldn’t say ‘hello,’ but she sang it. And it had meaning, it was important, it was conveying a message that I understood. It was independent communication on her part. She saw me in the hall and sang, “Hello, Stacie!” to engage me in a social interaction.
How have you used music in a classroom setting?
SC: When I taught kindergarten, music was the foundation for many of the learning experiences. Music helps kids get from point a to point b, organize things, learn concepts and skills, and consolidate number facts and letters. Music is another avenue in the brain to enhance learning beyond spoken word and visuals. In kindergarten, you sing through the whole day!