Music is a powerful tool to incorporate into the daily routine and curriculum of those working with early learners. Music has the power to set the tone of the day, change the energy level in a classroom, and affect a child’s mood. It can be used in curriculum as a tool for teaching, transitioning, or dancing. It is an important part of child development, and a piece of curriculum planning that should be considered with intention and thoughtfulness.
Why is it so important?
Several researchers have investigated the power and importance of music in early years. An article from the Carnegie Hall Corporation, entitled Why Making Music Matters: Music and Early Childhood Development, explains that “Making music…can develop fine and large motor control…games, songs, and back-and-forth play build brain and body coordination. Music also builds intimacy. Young children build some of the most important relationships in their lives as infants and toddlers…Music can support these intimate exchanges. For example, when caregivers sing lullabies, they use pitch, rhythm, and lyrics to soothe, teach language, communicate hope and affection, and provide security.”
Additional summarized by the Novak Djokovic Foundation states that “music has the ability to strengthen the connection between the body and brain to work together as a team. For instance, when dancing and moving to music, children develop better motor skills whereas singing along to a song helps them to practice their singing voice. In general, the exposure to music supports children in their development process to learn the sound of tones and words.”
Community-Building Through Music
The Carnegie Hall Corporation explains that, “music can help create community and a sense of belonging. In the US, one in four children has at least one immigrant parent, and early childhood care and preschools are a key intersection of immigration and education. In these settings…music can create a space in which young children, with the help of families and teachers, knit together new identities that combine their first languages and culture with those of their peers. When daycare and preschools feature the music of multiple cultures and homelands, they model an inclusive and connected world.”
Ideas for Teachers and Caregivers
Introduce the Hello Around the World Song to sing “Hello” in different languages with children
Try music from Ella Jenkins’ album Sharing Cultures, in which she and a group of children from the LaSalle Language Academy of Chicago perform songs from a diverse list of nations and cultures