Should child care providers offer music as part of early learning?
Music can be found all around children, from a mother humming to her newborn infant to toe-tapping toddlers enjoying a classic nursery rhyme. Music often comforts or excites young children, but did you know it can also enhance their learning experience?
Surrounding your child with an environment that exposes him or her to music has several benefits. Children between the ages of 1 and 3 respond best to music when they actively experience it. Active engagement means children are dancing, tapping, clapping, and moving with the beat. When your child engages with music, she sharpens her motor, mathematical, and critical thinking skills as well as her language and emotional development.
Pairing music with movement teaches your young child body control. When your child sings along to songs like the “itsy bitsy spider,” he learns how to control his hands and fingers with fine motor skills. Practicing these skills will help your child when he is ready to learn to write. Dancing and moving around to the beat is fun for your child and also teaches her to control her arms and legs, or gross motor skills.
Music is one of the first ways your child is exposed to math. Without a thought, your child reacts to music, rocking and moving to the sound as soon as he hears it. These reactions to the steady beat, melody, and rhythm of a song are mathematical concepts. The beat of a song can help teach your child to:
- Recognize patterns and understand the math concept of “more,” even before he understands numbers. For example, if you clap one time and ask your child to clap more than you, your child will learn to clap more than once.
- Understand one-to-one correspondence, or the ability to use numbers to skillfully count objects. Most young children can count to ten but may have difficulty applying counting to an object. For example, children who are skilled at one-to-one correspondence understand that if they have five crayons, each crayon represents a number: crayon 1, crayon 2, crayon 3, crayon 4, and crayon 5.
- Count using songs with lyrics like “This Old Man."
Critical Thinking Skills
When your child is learning music, she can explore many new ideas and thoughts. Simply playing a note on an instrument helps teach her cause and effect. When she presses a key, she hears a note and learns how the action of her finger caused a reaction. Your child may also notice the different notes vary in sound, learning to distinguish between high and low pitch.
Singing is a powerful tool for expanding your child’s language development. When your child is singing, he is learning how to construct sentences and is practicing pronunciation. Memorizing educational song lyrics is also a great way to help your child remember important facts. For example, most of us learned the alphabet by singing our ABC’s. Our brains are wired to recall language better when placed with music.
Music can be very soothing for your child. Playing music can teach your child about different emotions. Letting him listen to different variations of classical music can be a great way to teach him how to identify different feelings. With help, children can label music that sounds scary, sad, or happy. Your child can also link music with emotions by drawing or coloring what she feels while listening to a song.
- Increased IQ
- Harder Working Brain
- Spatial-Temporal Skills (the ability to mentally move objects in space and time to solve multi-step problems)
- Improved Test Scores
- Musical Talents
Your child can enjoy many educational benefits when he or she is in an environment enriched by music. Check with your child care provider to see how they make music a part of your child’s learning curriculum. Get involved in your child’s learning and try some of these activities at home.
Visit www.abcquality.org to learn more about child care and development, search for a child care provider, and learn about the state’s voluntary quality rating system. ABC Quality is administered by the SC Department of Social Services’ Division of Early Care and Education.
By ABC Quality Team at 4 Sep 2018, 11:00 AM