I would like to introduce to you my guest post by Anne Keeling.
Childcare Providers and MORE Music!
Many childcare providers know the power of music. With a group of bouncing infants,
toddlers and Pre-K kids, one sure-fire way to get them to pay attention is with a song.
If you work with children, you also know from experience that ALL children are musical. You are positioned perfectly to play an important role in helping them reach toward their own musical potential. Participation and modeling of parents or caregivers is essential to a child’s musical growth. You can be one of those amazing models to the children in your care. Remember to include the infants. A child is never too young to hear and respond to music.
11 Ways to Make the Most of Music
1. Find your Signature Song. To make it easy, develop a signature song that has a common tune like “Skip to My Lou.” Almost any action or idea can be worked into the tune of this song.
2. Children love ritual. Repeat a song often. With young children: Repetition is Good. Repetition is Good. Repetition is Good. Pick 3 songs and use them every week.
3. Focus. Music is a magical way to get the children’s attention and to keep it.
4. Cooperation . Use music to tell them what you want them to do. “Skip to My Lou” becomes:
Wash, wash, wash your hands.
Eat, eat, eat your snack.
Hands, hands, in your lap.
5. Transitions. Music is a great way to transition from one activity to the next. Skip to My Lou becomes “Put the Playdoh Away” to “Sit down in the circle” on the next verse. Good-bye songs are extremely useful, especially when special objects have come out. “Bye Bye dolls we’ll see you soon . . .”
6. Social Skills. Children love hello songs and name songs. These help them pay attention to others and feel more safe in their surroundings. Thank you songs help instill gratefulness and also allow the child to look outside themselves at the greater world around them.
7. Learning Compassion. Have a special song that you sing when someone is hurt or sad.
8. Help with Distractions. Music will often pull a child’s attention away from something you don’t want them to do to something you do want.
9. Room Management. Music can set the tone, change the mood, break up an altercation, calm high energy or bring up low energy, give direction – all in such a loving and respectful way.
10. Strong Feelings. Music can help with sharing, missing their parents, disappointment, or not feeling safe.
11. Use Instruments. Low on budget? Make your own. Toilet paper tube shakers or paper plate/jingle bell tambourines are fun to make with the kids. Ribbons, scarves, tubes, parachutes and all kinds of props can be moved to the beat of the music to make the beat come alive.
Amazing Benefits of Music for Children
- Encourages an increase in areas such as speech and language development, motor and rhythmic coordination, and social skills.
- Aids in stress management.
- Is a means of self-expression.
- Improves concentration and teaches patience.
- Laurel Trainor of the Institute for Music and the Mind at Ontario’s McMaster University discovered that musical education can actually modify the brain’s auditory cortex, leading to better overall learning skills.
- Group participation through music encourages a spirit of working, playing, learning, performing, and sharing together.
- Music helps with other intelligences such as spatial, linguistic, mathematical, and interpersonal learning.
- Music is a way of knowing . It is its own intelligence, as well.
- Among premature infants, music, particularly lullabies and classical music, appears to increase weight gain, decrease episodes of oxygen desaturation, decrease distressed behaviors, and increase nonnutritive sucking.
- Developmental effects include enhancing verbal memory in normal children. Numerous studies suggest that exposure to baroque music—such as the compositions of Bach and Mozart—can enhance spatiotemporal reasoning and academic achievement.
- Exposure to music can enhance the development of expressive and receptive language and overall performance in developmentally delayed children and adolescents.
Childcare Provider Suggestions
Talk to the parents. Let them know how much you value music. Encourage them to ask their child about music that day. And also encourage them to make music at home. Not every home incorporates musical participation. You can change lives with your music advocacy.
What if you don’t have a musical background or feel your voice would detract from the experience? No experience necessary. It’s helpful to use songs you feel comfortable with and that you like.
You are important to the kids you work with. They love the sound of your voice. Really! Allow yourself to be silly and use movement.
What if you want to introduce a new song but can’t remember the words? Post the words on the wall or a white board for yourself.
Find many ways to use one song. Example: “Clap Your Hands”
- Sing about Movements
bounce your head, swing your hips, bend your knees . . .
- Sing About Body Parts
tap your knees, tap your head, tap your nose . . .
- Use Space
Small movements (finger play, hands)
Large Movements – moving upright through space
Instruments – drums, sticks, blocks, shakers, etc.
Macro beat (the bigger, steady beat you feel)
Micro beat (a beat that doubles or repeats more frequently)
Wash Your Hands, Sit Right Down, Come Inside, Take a Nap, Change Your Diaper
- Include their Ideas
What’s another way we can move? Where else can we go in our car?
Enjoy the incredible power of music with the children in your care.
Do have other ideas or musical activities you’d like to share? We’d love to hear them.
Annie Keeling is a music teacher, educator, and parent. She teaches Music Together classes, JamAlong Music classes, and has a parent education blog, Parenting Groove. You can also check her out on Facebook and Twitter at Parenting Groove.