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TOP 10 Songs Pre-schoolers Should Know


Singing with your little one isn’t just fun, it’s a vital way to teach social engagement, literacy and coordination.

Learning songs with repetition and high frequency words will reap emotional and educational rewards for your child and set them on the path to a lifelong appreciation of words and music.

At Educational Esteem we have so many music resources and here we have chosen the 10 songs we think every pre-schooler should know.

“Kookaburra Sits” is an Aussie classic that virtually all children learn. The song, which was written in 1932 for a contest being held by the Victorian Girl Guides, has delightful repetitive nature that has never lost its appeal: “Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree/Merry, merry king of the bush is he/”…it’s a favourite on Play School, Kindergartens and homes across the country. A great collection of songs that features this perennial favourite is Classic Campfire Singalong from ABC for Kids.

Probably the most famous dog of childhood nursery rhymes is Bingo and the song of the same name is a must for any pre-schooler to know. Popular children’s artist Susie Tallman does a fun version of “B-I-N-G-O” on her collection Children’s Songs: A Collection of Favourites.

“There was a farmer who had a dog and Bingo was his name-OH/B-I-N-G-O/B-I-N-G-O…” Versions of the song can be traced back as far as 1780! Susie Tallman is beloved for her fun, playful and fresh take on classic songs and this collection features many more classics as well as some contemporary favourites with Susie’s unique twist.

“This Old Man” is another classic that is an essential for the repertoire of children’s preschool songs. It is an English folk song that dates back to the early 1900s and has since been adapted over the years to become somewhat of a children’s marching song. The repetition of this song and the counting means its place in classic nursery songs has never been challenged.

This old man, he played one,
He played knick-knack on my thumb;
with a knick-knack paddywhack,
Give the dog a bone,
and this old man came rolling home.

A great collection that “This Old Man” can be found on is Six Little Ducks (Ages 2-7) from educational music specialists Kimbo International.

“Little Purple Alien” is a modern classic from the wonderful Scott Browne, whose music inspires movement and play-based learning thanks to his catchy lyrics and themes. Scott’s All Together series of books and CDs were written for use in pre-schools and you can find “Little Purple Alien” on the All Together Everyday Songs collection. This song is the source of some fantastic play-based learning ideas and activities that are documented on education blogs from preschool educators.

Another favourite of Scott Browne’s music is “Packing up Time” that is featured on his All Together Songs for Special Occasions collection. Learning social skills and important life tasks – like packing up toys – is especially important when in a group preschool setting and doing it to music is so much fun!

Scott is also known for being part of the Lightning Creek Band, an ensemble who has worked with another well-known Australian children’s artist Franciscus Henri.

And you can tell we LOVE Scott Browne here at Educational Esteem because we’ve included another couple of his songs on our “top 10” list.

“Four Little Dinosaurs” is from Scott’s Animals and Dinosaurs collection that incorporates fun, literacy and movement with animal song themes. There’s also the delightful “Caterpillar” from his All Together collection that tells the story, in a rhythmic and engaging way, of how a caterpillar moves its body,

Robots are an intriguing topic for little ones and a great way to play imaginatively. The song “Robot” from the collection Jingle Jam Dance (for ages 2-8) is an engaging action-song from this great CD that gets pre-schoolers in the mood to groove. Robot dance moves are a great way to provide “brain breaks” for children and also encourage free movement and imagination.

A modern song we think is worthy of inclusion on our “Top 10” is Gumboots & Flippers” from the original collection of the same name by Julie Blanchard. Julie is a primary school teacher who has done music education in Australia and England. Her sons are aimed at 2-7 year olds and “Gumboots & Flippers” were inspired by her own children…and nieces and nephews…so they could sing their little hearts out! The songs incorporate actions and silliness that her children loved and now, so do thousands of others as well as their teachers.

Finally, we finish with an Australian flavour and Don Spencer is one of this country’s most enduring and beloved performers. From his Ultimate Collection, the song “A-U-S-T-R-A-L-I-A” is a modern classic for all Aussie kids. Many adults will remember Don from his 17 years on Play School and he is regarded as a pioneer of children’s music in Australia. His song “A-U-S-T-R-A-L-I-A”

The chorus of the song pays tribute to some iconic features of Australian life and is also a great way for children to learn new words in an engaging way. The repetitive nature of the song also reinforces language and learning, flexing little ones’ memory skills.

We’ve Got Ayers Rock (Uluru). Ayers Rock!
We’ve got the Flying Doc. Flying Doc!
We’ve got the lot, got the lot!
In Australia! Australia!
We’ve got the Didgeridoo, Didgeridoo!
We’ve got the Kangaroo, Kangaroo!
We’ve got me and you, me and you!
In Australia. Australia!


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