Let’s just recap what we have been talking about the past couple of weeks. In an early childhood program, children are exposed to multiple experiences and activities throughout the day. We have identified the benefits of reading, cooking, toys, and games. As you can see, teachers are not just glorified babysitters. In fact, this is so far from the truth in a quality childcare center! This week, we will highlight the importance of children’s exposure to music and movement at school and what parents can do at home to support these learning experiences.
Music can elevate a person’s mood; it can excite or it can help calm and relax. Music is a significant key to creativity. In fact, music is the language of the universe, with its own spiritual powers. Music brings people together.
Music and movement experiences help develop both sides of the brain. Researchers found that children exposed to music at a young age are more likely to have better reading and communication skills and language acquisition.
Moving to the beat of music enhances the development of:
1. Gross and Fine Motor Skills
Singing and dancing are the building blocks for mobility skills like bending and jumping. Small muscles strengthen as children learn fingerplays like “Itsy Bitsy Spider,” and explore instruments.
2. Builds Close Relationships
Singing, dancing, and rhyming are fun, easy activities that enhance communication and responsiveness. Sharing a song or a dance learned at home helps children feel good about themselves and their cultures. Children establish strong social skills when focusing on playing musical games that require cooperation, such as “Ring Around the Rosie.” Dancing to different musical beats encourages teamwork. As children sing and dance together, they work cooperatively in a group situation.
3. Develops Language Skills
Rhythm and melody help children memorize phrases and patterns, and develop an understanding of context. Singing songs like “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes” develop an understanding of new words and concepts. Enhanced phonological awareness takes place as children play with sounds such as “Fe-Fi-Fiddly-I-O.”
4. Improves the Management of Emotions
Music calms tired children and helps them vocalize feelings (If You’re Happy and You Know it).
5. Math Skills
Mathematical skills blossom during musical interludes. Children learn about number concepts as they clap their hands four times or march to a beat. Symbolic thinking strengthens as a child pretends to hop like a bunny or slither like a snake.
6. Builds Self-Confidence and Self-Esteem
Children learn to control their own physical space through dancing, clapping, hopping, and marching. Also, children can learn daily routines by chanting songs such as ‘Clean Up” or “This Is The Way We Brush Our Teeth.”
Parents are key players in supporting a child’s love of music. Taking a few minutes to sit and listen to music with them can provide a break for both parent and child. Expose children to all sorts of music: country, jazz, gospel, rap, and classical, just as well as children’s selections.
Be creative and make simple instruments at home: shakers full of beans, a keyboard with a shoebox and rubber bands, drums with kitchen pans, and clapping various spoons to make interesting sounds.
Songs and fingerplays can be invaluable in keeping a child engaged during challenging times, such as a long car ride, standing in line at the grocery store, or waiting for dinner at a restaurant.
Moving to the beat is an amazing way to build long-lasting memories with your child. Music allows all of us to build warm, loving relationships. So, the next time you have nothing to do, turn on the music and move to the beat! Act like a child again!