Peek into the Winter Carousel – pre-schoolers’ own music video will captivate you
Children and musicians collaborated to create a delightful music video full of winter joy.
What do you get when you put a group of pre-school children together with music professionals? Obviously, an exhilarating song and a joyful winter music video named Winter Carousel (Talven karuselli)! The music video, produced by Espoo’s Early Childhood Education and Cultural Services in collaboration with Into School, offers a glimpse into the winter atmosphere of Majavat, a pre-school group at Järvenperä day-care centre in Espoo.
The Winter Carousel music video, inspired by the children’s own ideas and creativity, was produced by a group of musicians and creative professionals, as well as day-care centre staff. The project team also included Into School musicians Janne Hiedanniemi and Tuomas Hiedanniemi. They both have a long experience in creating and producing music and working with different artists. The team also included children’s author and lyricist Meri Savonen. The video was shot and edited by Johannes Rantanen.
The project started with video shoots in February, while the winter weather was still favourable. The children and the adults of the project group headed out to play in the snow and fresh air. Outside the children started to play winter carousel, and the first demo songs were recorded already while they were playing. The phrase “Talven karuselli hyörii ja pyörii” (“Winter Carousel goes round and round”), which originated from the spontaneous singing of the children, eventually ended up as the chorus of the song.
Next, the children drew and painted what the winter carousel might look like. In a lyrics workshop with Meri Savonen, the children of the whole group gathered together their views on what kind of carriages the carousel has and what the carousel does, after which the lyrics were almost ready.
New skills, working together and experiences of success
The carousel took its musical shape in a music workshop led by Tuomas and Janne Hiedanniemi. Each child got to choose a virtual musical instrument of their choice and play the chord progression all by themselves. It was soon realised that maths is also needed in music, and the group worked together to count the beat, encouraging the musicians to play. The inspiring and engaging guidance of the instructors ensured a successful experience for everyone, and even listening to the first piano track gave the participants chills.
The Winter Carousel is the result of a shared commitment between the children and adults. Kati Kärki and Minna Moilanen, the pre-school teachers of the Majavat group, and Anna-Riikka Kallio, the early childhood education child carer, were fully involved, and the song was rehearsed persistently with the children. The children drew their own pictures for the verse and chorus of the song to help them memorise the lyrics. The pre-school children thought carefully how to illustrate different things, such as a “loskakuravelli” (“slushy mud porridge”). In addition to drawing, they also practised writing.
After a few weeks of rehearsals, what was left was the final touch, i.e. recording the vocals of the song. Singing into a microphone is an exciting situation for anyone, but with the support of friends and an encouraging atmosphere, the songs and the breathtaking rap part came through nicely. After the magic of the Into School professionals, it’s now time for the music video release party at the day-care centre.
Pre-school teacher Kati Kärki says the best thing about the project was the feeling of working together and the atmosphere in the group.
“Let’s go on an adventure and see what happens, let the process take its course,” says Kärki, describing the group’s open-minded approach.
Both children and adults learned new things during the project, and everyone was able to participate according to their own motivation.
“For example, a child who was unable to sing could contribute by coming up with an idea for the lyrics. Everyone got a feeling that they have been part of a common endeavour and that everyone can find themselves in the end result,” Kärki says.
Digital pedagogy promotes sense of community and creative expression in Espoo
Hanna Salminen, Head of the Early Childhood Education unit, has given her full support to the music video project. This year, under Salminen’s guidance, the entire Järvenperä day-care centre is participating in Espoo early Childhood Education’s Uudet lukutaidot development project (New Literacy Skills), in which various aspects of digital pedagogy are being developed together. The project is funded by the Ministry of Education and Culture. The development work emphasises community, children’s own creativity and expression, inclusion, play and safety when using digital tools and environments. These aspects were also strongly reflected in the Majavat group’s music project.
“Developing digital pedagogy in early childhood education and enabling children’s diverse expression has been co-creation at its best,” says early childhood education expert Satu Nerg-Öhman.
Janne Hiedanniemi from Into School agrees.
“It’s great to see how visions and goals become concrete in daily life. By lowering the threshold for action, adults’ insecurities and prejudices are reduced. Working with children is the essence of why we do this: joy and enthusiasm warm the heart,” says Hiedanniemi.
The Winter Carousel is inspired by the Peek into Espoo picture book published by Espoo Cultural Services in 2021. The illustration, designed by children and created by Carlos da Cruz, presents the five urban centres of Espoo. The Winter Carousel video is set in one of the urban centres of Espoo, and the intention is that children’s music videos will later give us a peek into other places in Espoo as well.
- Early Childhood Education
- Growth and Learning