Sarah Pirtle and the Discovery Center

Linking Up

by Sarah Pirtle

Using Music, Movement, and Language Arts  to Promote Caring, Cooperation and Communication

Ages: PreK through Grade 3 

Educators for Social Responsibility asked me to share what I’ve done in early childhood classrooms for 25 years. The result is chockfull of easy-to-use suggestions to help build social and emotional competence.

“Early childhood teachers preserve endangered human values and abilities: cooperation, mutual regard and respect for diversity. It is to this important work that this book and these songs are dedicated.”

Order From: Educators for Social Responsibility

300 page book plus CD recording with 46 songs for $35 Includes 20 songs that are bilingual in Spanish. The recording is enhanced by the beautiful harmonies and piano playing of Roberto D?az and a community chorus of children.

“Sharing these lively wonderful songs and clear methods of communication with children will have a profound affect on classrooms and families. This is a complete teacher training course on conflict resolution and bias prevention.” 
 — Mara Sapon-Shevin, Professor of Education, Syracuse University.

See the Talk It Out section of this website to find a key song from this book: “Two in the Fight.” Lyrics are sung to a traditional tune, “There were Two in the Bed” and it models how to talk out a conflict.

Excerpt from “Linking Up”

Song 17: “Speak Up”


Speak up when something’s not fair. 
Speak up and show that you care. 
Speak up when something’s not right. 
Speak up and follow your light. 
Speak up, we need your voice in this world.


How can we help when we see someone else mistreated? 
Read this poem and then role play responses. 
Use the song lyrics to introduce the idea of communicating your concerns.

Poem: “How Can I Speak Up?” 

Waiting in line for the bus, 
two kids tease her everyday. 
Others do nothing and look away. 
What can I do? What can I say?

Description of Linking Up:  

Sarah Pirtle has discovered that one of the most effective methods of teaching positive social skills in the early childhood years is through music and movement because children have an opportunity to practice skills while feeling supported and guided. Linking Up! offers time-tested songs which are effective teaching tools in early childhood classrooms.

  • Find activities that model how to set clear personal boundaries and give practice at responding to the messages of friends. 
  • Learn four dozen song games that build connection among members of a caring community. 
  • Hear songs that provide a chance to explore differences and advocate for fairness, inclusiveness, and mutual respect. 
  • Find songs that encourage constructive methods for solving problems. 
  • Learn how to make a classroom wall chart with photographs of children from the class as they demonstrate the stages of talking out a conflict.

The 46 songs include: “Buenos Días al Cielo” 
“The Colors of Earth” which can be found in the Lyrics section of this website.

Sample songs: 

  • “My Space / Mi Espacio.” Children move within their own space bubble, singing, “there’s no better place in the world for me.” 
  • “Shake, shake, freeze.” Children alternate moving and pausing while they sit, then stand, then walk together with awareness of others.
  • “When I Say Stop, I Mean Stop.” Children learn what words will help send a constructive message. 
  • “How Can We Be Friends Again?” asks children to think about what makes a problem worse or better and add their own words.

Books by Sarah Pirtle