Educational CyberPlayGround ®


Research Resources show playing, laughing, language and music are the common denominators that cross all barriers between all cultures.

2016 Austrailia

Foundation launches million-dollar plan to record Australia's songlines
To try to capture these languages before it becomes too late, the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) has launched a foundation to record languages and songlines.

NAIDOC Week: How elders are reviving Aboriginal language through children's songs

Singing the country to life The theme of this year's NAIDOC Week is Songlines. Sometimes called dreaming tracks, songlines crisscross Australia and trace the journeys of ancestral spirits as they created the land, animals and lore. To celebrate NAIDOC Week, we look at songlines from different parts of Australia.


4/2010 Research Confirms That
Motor And Cognitive Skills Are Improved By Hand-Clapping Songs

Clapping games continue to resonate across modern-day playgrounds.

Skipping Games
Children's Games
The British Library
celebrates and explores themes relating to childrens games, songs and folklore through the use of audio, video, photographic and manuscript collections ranging from 1900 to 2010. An educational resource promoting the importance of childrens folklore amongst children and adults.

African American religious institutions named them the Singing and Praying Bands.
This folksong and ring shout tradition began in Chesapeake Bay country in the early nineteenth century, with a fusion of Methodist prayer meeting worship and African religious, danced song traditions. Although scholars have assumed ring shouts died out long ago, Jonathan C. David shows otherwise, ushering us inside tidewater communities of Maryland and Delaware where they continue to thrive.
A traditional band service represents a cultural commitment to mutual aid, called “help,” operating as a system of social reciprocity, as a performance aesthetic, and as the foundation of community spirituality.

Miami University Libraries Searching Books & More : "Folk songs"
American folk songs for children / [sung and played by] Mike and Peggy Seeger -- English Folksongs


The Songcatcher, album released in 2001

Iris DeMent singing Pretty Saro


Oh Death from Songcatcher


Barbara Allen



O Brother Where Art Thou Grammy Performance 2002


The Singing Street National Library of Scotland
It's a lovely short film from 1951 of children playing in the streets of Edinburgh.
Description: Collection of children's street games filmed in the back streets of Edinburgh and Leith accompanied by traditional children's songs. Publicity leaflet: Their progress is followed along an ideal thoroughfare. In songs where ancient ritual, myth, the mountain and the rose, mingle with taxis, telephones and powder-puffs. Old rhymes rarely dying - something new always appearing. No-one asks "What does this mean?" The world's accepted, poetry's kept alive. Favourite topic, love and death. Not meant for education or entertainment but belonging to the art of play. Shot in six Easter days of boisterous weather, the cast, mostly girls, numbering sixty. Made by teachers at Norton Park School, Edinburgh. "Whistling" done by poet Norman McCaig. Shot of Councillor Pat Murray in teddy boy outfit in scene at top of steps - founder/moving spirit behind establishment of Museum of Childhood. Film shown at UNICA festival Barcelona, 1952.
[Collection of children's street games filmed in the back streets of Edinburgh and Leith, accompanied by traditional children's songs. Includes shots of children with skipping ropes and variations of Ring-a-ring-a-roses] (2.01) - Blank - (2.03) more street games (2.16) children's rhyme written in chalk on the pavement (2.26) more games (4.21) pan of Edinburgh up to the castle (5.10) shots of tenements (5.20) shots of the words "The Singing Street" chalked up on a wall (5.33) girl skips down Victoria Street (5.51) girl gazes into a shop window and sings to herself (6.15) more street games (6.24) city street (6.29) street games (7.20) city street (7.23) more games (7.35) high shot of two girls crossing a railway footbridge at Bothwell Street (8.01) More games and shots of city streets (11.07) girls skipping down a road (11.54) city street (12.02) boys singing a song while seated on steps [Leith Street], girls look on (13.34) shots of a girl on roller skates [at Abbey Mount] (13.53) city street (13.59) girls play hide and seek (14.55) shots of Edinburgh rooftops (15.05) girls skipping (15.29) view of Edinburgh rooftops (15.36) girls skipping (15.29) view of Edinburgh rooftops (15.36) girls skipping (16.03) shots of a city street (16.20) one girl skips her way home after play (17.48) shots of bridges over river at Leith harbour (17.57) ecs (18.08)


Alan Lomax Archive

Playing is serious work for the young and old from the novice to the experienced. It's about all the different ways we play to learn. Larger brains are linked to greater levels of play. In other words, playing makes you intelligent. Rich or poor, young or old, male or female, play has evolved to shape the overall architecture and to build big brains, explaining why children need the playground just as much as the classroom. Play is for Life Long Learners.

Baby Sign Language Learn Words as Early as 10 Months
Babies are watching your language we know that young hearing babies acquiring spoken languages also use visual cues in this stunning way.

Indigenous Folksong Reading Curriculum

More About My Work

The study is the first to connect gesture, vocabulary and school preparedness.
Some of the robust differences in child vocabulary development at 54 months are likely to come from parents in higher-income groups using gesture to communicate more different meanings when their children were 14 months, the paper said.

skip c.1300, "to spring lightly," also "to jump over," probably from O.N. skopa "to skip, run," from P.Gmc. *skupanan (cf. M.Swed. skuppa, dial. Swed. skopa "to skip, leap"). Meaning "omit intervening parts" first recorded late 14c. Meaning "fail to attend" is from 1905. The noun is attested from mid-15c. The custom of skipping rope has been traced to 17c.; it was commonly done by boys as well as girls until late 19c.

Lore and Language of School Children

Collection of Children's Folksongs, Chants and Rhymes 38 page pdf

Play and Folklore PDF

American Rhyme History


Children's handclapping games, featuring an interview with folklorist Bess Hawes.

Babies Can Learn Words as
Early as 10 Months

A two-year-old can quickly link an object--whether a flashy rattle or a boring latch--to a word. Even a one-year-old can follow a parent's gaze to an object and match it with a word being spoken. But although anecdotal evidence seems to show that babies younger than one year can learn words, it remains unclear whether they are in fact mastering language.
Now a new study reveals that 10-month-old infants can link words and objects, but only if the object is already interesting to them

Psychologist Kathy Hirsh-Pasek of Temple University and her colleagues tested 44 infants for the ability to learn words. The infants averaged an understanding of nearly 14 words already, according to their mothers. But the researchers paired four novel objects--a blue sparkle wand and a white cabinet latch, a pink party clacker and a beige bottle opener--with four nonsensical words--modi, glorp, dawnoo and blicket--to test their ability to associate new words with new objects.
Sitting on their mothers' laps, the infants were exposed to the objects. First, they were allowed to play with an interesting and boring object pair followed by seeing the two objects placed on a rotating board. This was done to assess which object was more interesting to the babies and, as expected, they preferred the brightly-colored, noisy ones.
Then the researchers placed the two objects on a table in front of the infant. If the baby was in one group, the experiment leader pointed to the interesting object and labeled it with one of the nonsense words. If the baby was a member of the other group, the researcher pointed to the boring object and labeled it with the same nonsense word. Regardless of the researchers' efforts, the infants looked at the object they found interesting.
But subsequent tests showed that the babies were also learning to associate it with the nonsense word. For example, when exposed to a new nonsense word, the babies would look away from the interesting object and search for a new one. Then the researchers returned to the original word and, surprisingly, 80 percent of the infants returned to looking at the original object.
This marks the first time such young infants have been shown experimentally to associate a word--even a made-up one--with an object, but, in contrast with their older peers, only one that they found interesting. "Ten-month-olds simply 'glue' a label onto the most interesting object they see," notes Shannon Pruden, a doctoral student and lead author of the study to appear in the journal Child Development. "Perhaps this is why children learn words faster when parents look at and name objects the infants already find interesting."
This inability to link social cues, words and objects may also explain why early word learning is so slow but accelerates rapidly around the age of 18 months. "The 18-month-old is a social sophisticate who can tap into the speaker's mind and the vast mental dictionary that the adult has to offer," adds Hirsh-Pasek. "At 10 months, they just cannot take the speaker's perspective into consideration." --David Biello

Babies exposed to sign language babble with their hands

The ordinary work of childhood is about connecting with the creative impulse. Laughter originated in primates before humans, and it represents a universal signal of well being in a playful situation. In that way, it helps to regulate social interactions.

Evidence Based Practice in Education

better understanding their own neurological strengths and weaknesses, so that they can adapt lessons to reach all the students in the room. Each Teacher has a left, a right, or a middle-brain preference which significantly influences their own teaching patterns.
The right-brain learner processes information holistically, seeing the "big picture" or the answer first, not the details. When analyzing a problem, this learner starts with the major concept and works backward to find the details and come to a conclusion. Right-brain learners may become impatient with the details of a problem unless they can "see" the conclusion or solution quickly.

The Right-Brain Teacher
Teachers with right-brain strengths generally prefer to use hands on activities over a lecture format. In concert with the right brain preference of seeing the whole picture, these teachers incorporate more art, manipulatives, visuals, and music into their lessons. They tend to embrace Howard Gardner's multiple intelligences. They like to assign more group projects and activities, and prefer a busy, active, noisy classroom environment. The classroom of a strong right-brain teacher will typically have materials and books scattered all over.

The Right-Brain Student
Right-brain students prefer to work in groups. They like to do art projects, industrial arts electives in middle school, and graphic design. They would prefer to design and make a mobile rather than write "another tedious term paper.

Who Needs Right Brain Teaching Strategies?

  • Children who have underdeveloped memory skills / strategies
  • Children who have an auditory processing problems.
  • Children who have a focusing or attention issue.
  • Children who have a visual/motor (writing) [Inadequate Brain Hemispheric Integration]
  • Attention Issues [ ADD or ADHD ]
  • Children who dislike school work.
  • Children for whom the more common methods of teaching are not working.
  • Right Brain Spelling and Phonics
  • A Right Brain Learner Stuck in a Left Brain Curriculum

Folksongs and Books

Sam Henry's Songs of the People Songs of the People is unquestionably the finest collection of Irish folk songs. There is no competition being staged on this matter, of course. It just simply is the finest. First, there is a tremendous number of songs. Second, despite the fact that they were collected in a single region, there is a great amount of diversity - native Irish songs and songs of foreign origin: Scotland, England, North American. Third, the work that went into organizing, annotating and presenting the songs is truly first rate. On May 2, 2007, John Moulden gave an address at the Library of Congress on the Sam Henry Collection (click). It's worth a listen.

All in! All in!: A Selection of Dublin Children's Traditional Street-Games with Rhymes and Music. By Eilís Brady. 2009. Dublin: Four Courts Press. 195 pages. ISBN: 0-901120-85-5 (hard cover). Reviewed by Elizabeth Tucker, Binghampton University This wonderful collection of Dublin children's games, rhymes, pranks, and other forms of folklore was originally published in 1975 and reprinted in 1984. Its author, Eilís Brady (1927-2007), was a member of the editorial staff of Ireland's Department of Education. Brady gave a significant collection of Irish children's folklore to the former Department of Irish Folklore at University College in Dublin; this material now belongs to the college's National Folklore Collection. One of the book's strengths is its openness to the many forms that childlore takes. Rather than concentrating on a few genres, the author includes many expressive forms, some of which -- such as "Good v. Evil" and "Simple Pleasures" -- do not often get included in children's folklore anthologies. Her descriptions of children's play are both highly specific and pleasantly readable. Like Iona and Peter Opie, she helps the reader understand the complexity, exuberance, and durability of children's traditions. In her introduction, Brady describes the transition from "the Dublin of the tenements and the back-streets" to modern suburbs, such as her own housing estate, "The Park," in which roads far from traffic are "safer for playing games than the city centre where the families come from" (xiii-xiv). She notes that small changes in folk speech have resulted from this transition; terms such as "front parlour" and "back drawing-room" have yielded to "sitting-room" and "front garden," but children's lore has remained as popular as ever. Since Brady's years of living in The Park began when she was a child and continued through her adulthood, her understanding of the area's childlore is extensive. The book includes many black-and-white photographs of children playing together in a variety of settings. These photographs would be even more valuable if they were identified by date; nonetheless, they bring the author's written descriptions to life quite effectively. Similarly, her descriptions of games and other kinds of childlore are not identified by date or date range. She explains, "I have set down here the games and rhymes which I have played myself in The Park and which are still being played there. I have also included those games which are no longer played and new ones which have been accepted by the children and become part of their repertoire" (xv). In some cases, such as a rhyme about Nelson's Pillar, a landmark that was "blown up in 1966" (83), she specifies duration, but in most instances she presents her material as relatively consistent twentieth-century childlore. Some of the longest game records appear in the "Portraits of Life" section, which includes singing games played by children standing in a circle or in parallel lines. "The Roman Soldiers," for example, involves three pages of dialogue between Roman and Irish soldiers. As in her accounts of other singing games, Brady includes a transcript of the game's music. This transcript adds an important dimension to our understanding of the game. For those of us who want to look up specific forms of children's folklore, the classified index and index of first lines offer helpful guidance. We are fortunate to have such a well-organized, detailed, and delightful study of twentieth-century Dublin childlore.

Hand Work





"Our destiny is written in the hand." — Renate Hiller, co-director of the Fiber Craft Studio at the Threefold Educational Center in Chestnut Ridge, New York Practicing mindfulness. Paying attention. Listening generously.
For Renate Hiller, the fiber artist whom you see in the film above, these majestic phrases apply in all their richness. Her German lilt of the tongue reaffirms this exquisite eloquence as she connects the importance of using our hands with the way in which we understand and find value in ourselves and in others. There's something so honest and pure about her thought — that we gain a deeper, more meaningful relationship with our own humanity and our greater world by using our hands.


  • Study Ties Mental Abilities To Interaction of Emotion and Cognitive Skills
    "Since the beginning of time, children have not liked to study. They would much rather play, and if you have their interests at heart, you will let them learn while they play; they will find that what they have mastered is child's play." -- Carl Orff
  • Music Leaves it's mark on the brain.
    Speech Recognition: Consider William Condon's observation of conversational synchrony, that motions and gestures of listeners are closely synchronized with the rhythms of a speakers voice.
  • Having fun builds better brains.
  • How Does Your Brain Work
    How is the brain of a young child different from the adult? Children who have musical training also have significantly better verbal memory than children who don't, and the difference increases the longer they study. Music training during childhood contributes to the reorganization and increased development of the [4]brain's left temporal lobes in musicians. After administering verbal memory tests that calculated the number of words children could recall from a list, and a comparable visual memory test for images, the researchers found that students with musical training had better verbal memory. Musically trained students retained more words even after a 30 minute delay. Even though having fewer than six years of musical training can boost verbal memory, the researchers say that more training boosts cortical reorganization in the left temporal region and improves the ability to handle other functions such as verbal learning. And the benefits of musical training appear to be long-lasting. Students who dropped out of the advanced training group were tested after a year and found to retain the verbal memory advantage they had gained earlier.
  • The Singing Neanderthals
    Evolutionary relationship between music and language
    The parts of the brain that control hand movement and speech sounds are very close together. The origin of language. Communication evolved hand-in-hand with social bonding. "The work tells us that communication is right there at the base of social behaviour and that having a larger vocal repertoire allows you to have a more complex social set up," says Karen McComb, at the University of Sussex, UK
  • The building blocks of music are to be found in speech.
    The Journal Nature Neuroscience devoted a special issue to the topic. And in an article in the August 6 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience, David Schwartz, Catherine Howe, and Dale Purves of Duke University argued that the sounds of music and the sounds of language are intricately connected.
    Children aged 3 who are musiking with their parent are building a foundation for reading and are learning better language skills. In the first 5 years of life, almost everything they need to know, can and should be taught in a playful way. Play can build a strong foundation on music, mathematics, science and reading.