Social-emotional learning is a critical piece to positive early childhood development, and we know that music can accelerate this growth.
But how can educators use music to boost social-emotional skills in physically-distanced or virtual classrooms?
And what does it look like by age? Pair our free, colorful infographic with the quick tips below to keep track of SEL milestones and consider how music can elevate this critical piece of early development!
3 Ways Music to Boost Social-Emotional Learning in Your Environment
1. Use simple rhythms or songs to connect children to one another.
Remember when COVID-19 quarantines first happened and the most heart-warming viral videos were music mosaics? We did one using “This Little Light of Mine.” Keep that same energy in a virtual or physically-distanced classroom through music.
Whether children are tapping out beats with wooden spoons on Zoom or clapping in time at their desks, they’re synchronizing their minds, bodies, and spirits.
And that is a key part of social-emotional learning…overcoming barriers to play together while technically apart.
2. Try musical stop-and-go activities to expend energy and control movements.
One of the biggest fears in early education right now is promoting sedentary learning.
Need an easy way to help little ones get the wiggles out while also teaching them how to self-regulate?
Play a song or instrument and have your children move around until you stop the music. They’ll learn the cues to start and stop their bodies, and have fun doing it! This works easily in a virtual setting (with a parent present), and it’s the perfect outdoor activity at school (fresh air!).
We love “Going to the Castle” because it’s a pre-formatted stop-and-go track! All you have to do is press play. Stream it on our free Kindermusik App via the Apple App Store or Google Play, or use the track below.
3. Play music that celebrates various cultures to enhance inclusivity.
And you can never share multicultural tunes too early. Children don’t start to fully put the pieces together until around age 5, but cultural awareness starts much earlier.
Even young toddlers recognize and delight in authentic musical sounds from around the world. And preschoolers can surprise you with intelligent questions about the differences that make us all special.
One thing that’s not changing this school year is the need to continually and consistently foster social-emotional skills across multiple environments—in a physical classroom or online.
The key is knowing what to look for in various age groups and infusing the power of (enjoyable) music that triggers a positive behavioral response. You’ll be amazed at what a little rhythmic connection will do to boost the milestones you’re trying to meet.