Something amazing happens in Head Start programs when music comes out to play. Children (and teachers!) smile and laugh, work together, and safely express thoughts and feelings through movement and music. And that’s just the beginning…
Did you know that the benefits of music include preparing a child for school? When intentionally used as part of a pre-K curriculum or preschool curriculum, musical learning can positively impact the cognitive development in children and help children of all abilities be ready to learn at any age. Here are just five ways to use music when teaching children enrolled in a preschool or pre-K curriculum.
5 musical learning activities that support cognitive development in children
Circle dances teach cooperation. Ringing around the rosey gives children more than a pocketful of posies. Choreographed movements require children to cooperate, move in synch with a group, and listen to and follow oral instructions.
Identifying the specific sounds (or timbre) of different instruments teaches children auditory discrimination. The same sound discrimination used inrecognizing the difference between the musical note “C” played on a clarinet verses the same note played on a piano by sound—not sight—helps children hear the minute differences between letter sounds or phonemes, which supports early literacy and language development.
Moving to the tempo of the music teaches children to be active listeners. When children respond to the changing tempo of a song—from fast to slow—or when children move slowly when they hear the music change from staccato to legato, they are using their body movements to practice active listening skills.
“Stop and Go” activities with music builds self-regulation skills. Children need to learn to tell their bodies what to do, when to stop, when to go, and when to move on to another activity. When playing a musical learning game of “Freeze Dance,” children learn and practice self-regulation skills by responding to the musical cues.
Finger plays, such as “Itsy-Bitsy Spider,” help children learn to coordinate hand, finger, and wrist movements that support fine motor control and precision. Those fine motor skills will help children hold a pencil correctly, use scissors, and even tie their own shoes.
Pre-K curriculum uses musical learning
In our preschool curriculum, ABC Music & Me, teaching children includes singing, dancing, and instrument exploration. Throughout all the musical learning, teachers are laying the groundwork for school readiness. Plus, our preschool curriculum includes proven results,in spatial-temporal reasoning, self-control, and even a 32 percent gain in early literacy.
For more information about bringing our pre-k curriculum, preschool curriculum, or Head Start curriculum to your school, email us at email@example.com.
Spark. It’s what happens in the classroom. Those a-ha moments in early childhood education when children make a fresh discovery, master a new skill, or read words for the first time. That spark of early learning ignites a quest for more knowledge.
Teachers of daycare, preschool, or Head Start curriculum light a “spark” each day in the classroom. So, it’s no wonder Kelly Green chose “spark” as her one word to represent both the start of the new school year and her new role at Kindermusik International.
As Kindermusik’s new Vice President and General Manager of Business to Business and Business to Institution Sales in the US and Canada, Kelly brings more than 19 years of experience in early childhood education. Prior to Kindermusik, Kelly worked at Hatch Early Childhood as the Vice President of Sales and Business Development.
“I am excited to bring my knowledge and passion for the field of early childhood education to Kindermusik,” explains Kelly. “The research clearly shows how music can be used as a powerful learning tool when used as part of a childcare, Head Start, or a Common Core curriculum. I look forward to sharing the power of the Kindermusik classroom experience with public schools and community-based organizations serving young children.”
Welcome to the Kindermusik International community, Kelly! We know you will help light many new sparks of early learning.
Follow Kelly on Twitter (@KinderKGreen) as she shares her passion for the power of early education.
What do you get when you cross group activities for kids with music and learning? That’s just one of the questions a research team led by Dr. Nina Kraus seeks to answer in two new brain studies funded by the NAMM Foundation. Unlike past research that compares children taking private music lessons to those not enrolled, one unique aspect of Kraus’s latest music and learning research is that it focuses on children learning in a group as part of a school curriculum.
“The NAMM Foundation is honored to support Dr. Kraus in these studies, which we believe will push the boundaries of knowledge about the effects and impact of music learning,” said Mary Luehrsen, executive director of the NAMM Foundation in a press release. “Over time, these and other studies will continue to substantiate that music education is essential to learning for every child.”
The Music and Learning Brain Studies led by Dr. Kraus
“The Harmony Project: Biological Benefits of Musical Training in At-Risk Children.” The initial phase of the research study found that children between the ages of 6 and 9 years old who took music lessons could better differentiate speech sounds, which directly relates to language and literacy skills. In the next phase, the team expects to find that children with musical training have an enhanced auditory cognitive function, which can also directly correlate to increased literacy skills.
“The Impact of In-School Music Classes: Rhythm, Language and the Brain.” In collaboration with the Chicago Public Schools, Kraus and her team want to better understand how musical training impacts cognitive, linguistic, and perceptual skills and associated brain development.
And the answer is…
So back to the first question (with an added bonus!): What do you get when you cross group activities for kids with music and learning AND parent involvement in early childhood education? Well, Kindermusik, of course! From Kindermusik classes in more than 70 countries around the world to ABC Music & Me programs used as part of an elementary school, PreK, or Head Start curriculum, we use
music as the vehicle for learning. Plus, we include materials that connect the classroom learning with the everyday lives and routines of children to increase family involvement in education.