Yes. You read the title correctly. Early childhood teachers give kids the gift of gab. Research proves it! A team of researchers at UNC’s Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute recently published a compilation of studies that shows how early childhood educators positively impact the language development and communication abilities of infants and toddlers.
“When teachers ask children questions, respond to their vocalizations, and engage in other positive talk, children learn and use more words,” explained Kathleen Gallagher, co-investigator, in a press release.
Along with Nicole Gardner-Neblett, Gallagher created a resource with educational activities for kids that teachers can use to best impact language development. The free eBook, More than Baby Talk, includes 10 specific ways teachers of daycare curriculum can promote the early language development of infants and toddlers. Research-based ideas include engaging in conversations with children, reading books multiple times, using props, and (drum roll, please!) participating in early childhood music activities.
Using early childhood music to support language development
As creators of early childhood curriculum that uses music as the vehicle for early language and literacy development, we know that early childhood music classes are tied to improvements in young children’s early language development, increased vocabulary acquisition, and a greater phonological awareness. In fact, children who participated in our early childhood curriculum, ABC Music & Me, for just 30 minutes a week experienced a 32 percent literacy gain! We could go on and on about the benefits of music on a child’s brain development, social and emotional development, physical abilities, creativity, and more!
From the classroom teacher to the teacher at home
Of course, early childhood educators aren’t the only, well, early childhood educators. A parent is a child’s first and best teacher, especially during
the early years. These same strategies can work at home, too.
“We think parents could use these same practices with their young children,” said Gardner-Neblett in a press release. “By using these strategies at home, parents can provide children with the rich language exposure and opportunities they need to enhance their language and communication, helping them to achieve in preschool and beyond.”
At Kindermusik, we support a parent’s pivotal role as a teacher. It’s one of the reasons enrollment in our programs always includes materials and resources, including the music from class, that families can use together at home—or on the go.