Social story songs are often used with children to help develop skills which allow them to function with the greatest degree of independence. In this study, researchers taught three teachers with three different inclusive preschool classrooms the same social song story and instructed them on how to use it in their classroom in order to determine the effectiveness of social story songs in a group setting. Each classroom had two classes (six classes total participated in this study) consisting of 11 – 15 children. Children were between 3- and 5-years old and 6-8 children in each class had an identified disability.
The social story song theme focused on self-regulation, specifically waiting. Researchers chose this theme based on teacher input. One teacher stated that she wanted to help the kids in her class “… learn how to behave in the classroom” (p. 73). Teachers were instructed to use the song to prompt children to wait before using prompts they traditionally used in their classrooms. Teachers used the song at the following times: meals, free play, circle time, bathroom breaks, outside (going out and coming in). Teachers reported that after teaching the children the song, children would typically wait when the song was sung. Additionally, as some of the children became more familiar with the song, they began to sing it independently at times when they knew they should be waiting and became positive role models for their peers. For example, one teacher said that her students began to sing the song independently when waiting to go up the stairs and when waiting for milk at lunch. After some children began to sing it, other children would join in and do a better job waiting than without the use of the song. Overall, this study shows that ongoing collaboration between therapists and teachers can yield positive results, specifically in inclusive classrooms.
By Sarah Sheets, MT-BC
Fees, B. S., Kaff, M., Holmberg, T., Teagarden, J., & Delreal, D. (2014). Children’s Responses to A Social Story Song in Three Inclusive Preschool Classrooms: A Pilot Study: Table 1. Music Therapy Perspectives, 32(1), 71-77. doi:10.1093/mtp/miu007