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Christina Stewart

On your Mammy's Knee

One of the workshops I teach is "Singin' on yer Mammy's Knee" - an opportunity for parents and other adult carers be introduced to traditional Scottish children's songs they can sing with their wee toots and to explain how these can benefit their children.

The workshops are popular with parent and toddler groups and music classes for children.  Groups contact me directly to book an individual session or a series of visits to build the participants' confidence, ability and knowledge.

Of course, songs don't have to be from Scottish tradition to be beneficial, but there's no reason why they shouldn't be.

During the workshop, we look at connecting heard and felt rhythm, the advantages of rhythm, rhyme, alliteration and repetition for speech and language development and encouraging eye to eye contact, among other points, while bouncing, cuddling and generally having fun.

The workshops are structured to begin with physical and vocal warm-ups - at a baby and toddler level, working through dandling on adults knees, action songs and winding down with lullabies.

Depending who the participants are, the songs can include some simple, unthreatening Gaelic ones, or be all in English and Scots.

The Ceuman Beaga Inbhir Pheothairean project used a very similar format, with the emphasis on the Gaelic language, introducing parents to a focused vocabulary through the songs and support materials including posters and props.

These pictures are from a "Singin' on yer Mammy's Knee" workshop at the Celtic Connections festival in Glasgow and were taken by festival photographer Lieve Broussauw.