Children’s brains grow at their fastest rate in the first three years of their life. Sensory learning experiences during this time such as musical activities can enrich these years. Music an early age can have long term effects. Children enjoy- tapping, rocking, marching, rolling, clapping, wriggling, tickling, bouncing and moving to the beats. Music is a natural part of life for toddlers. It is critical for the child’s social, emotional, intellectual and physical development.
At KLAY, Music and Movement is an integral part of the daily activities. While rhymes are sung during multiple times of the day (like during circle time, during lunchtime, during transitions and even during hand wash), Music and Movement is a focused activity time intended to meet certain objectives. The role of the teacher during music and movement is critical as she needs to make observations on the developing milestones of children.
|Socio-Emotional Development||Cognitive Development||Physical Development|
|• Is the child participating in a group? (singing or dancing with other children)|
• Is the child able to express anger, fear, joy, and other emotions through music and movement?
• Does the child recognize that music and dance express moods and feelings?
|• Is the child able to notice changes in tempo or pitch (adapting one’s dancing or clapping to shifts in tempo or beat)?|
• Has increased awareness of different movements or body positions.
• Is the child creative and imaginative in responding to problems in movement or music?
• Has the child learnt new words and concepts through songs and movement (learning body parts by singing “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes”).
• Explores cause and effect by experimenting with musical instruments
|• Does the child explore the many ways in which a body can move |
• Has the child developed large motor skills (moving to music ).
• Has the child learnt to balance, coordination, and rhythm through dancing (playing “Follow the Leader”).
• Has the child improved small motor skills (learning finger plays and playing musical instruments).
Children learn through while seeing, doing and repeating. Movement, whether it’s running around or dancing away to music, is critical in a child’s development. Movement is important for developing strength in their bones and muscles, developing their blood circulation and overall health. Some obvious yet unstated developments and growth in toddlers are listed as follows:
Movement is the sign of life and kicking starts in the womb. Music makes us move through songs which require movement and children learn to co-ordinate their hands, feet and bodies in actions that are not normally part of everyday life but can help develop extensive connections across their brain.
Songs with a beat or lyrics which encourage children to walk, hop, jump, gallop, skip, crawl, stamp, or creep all help develop their motor skills, balance and co-ordination. Songs which ask children to swing, stretch, bend, twist and spin help to develop their body awareness and balance.
The first cry is a mere sound, an expression with no words… By immersing children in musical activities, they start to develop their language skills too. Children’s songs often have repeated phrases and use rhyme, which makes them easier for young children to remember. Songs which have words that describe their actions help children to understand language.
For example, if you sing a song about going up and down, and your hands and the melody move up and down, then the little one will start to develop a real understanding of the concepts ‘up’ and ‘down’.
Sounds produce an immediate reaction in an infant. Once the children are walking, listening to music builds focused listeners as musical activities use sound and there are constant cues for children to notice and react to. They learn to move their bodies to match the music and then change when the music changes.
Musical activities are multi-sensory and because they involve vision, hearing and movement, many brain areas are involved. There are lots of sequences in music whether they are words, rhythms, melodies or actions and this help to make the memory and learning more lasting than just watching or hearing something.
Stories and songs make the children think and imagine what is described. Songs which are about pretending to do something or be something help develop children’s imagination as well as the language associated with that topic. For example, digging a garden or flying a spaceship is strange if the child has not seen it but a song related to it can make them understand the movement. Songs can also help children to visualise what they’re singing about. Different words use different actions and these open the world of imagination for them.
Rhythmic natural sounds are soothing and our senses are tuned automatically to them. A lullaby makes us sleep, a chant gives us peace. In children, the upbeat tempo of the music is energizing and fun and movement associated with that music oxygenate their brains and pumps blood around their bodies making them feel good.
Music and movement is a great way to stimulate young children. For example, when a child marches around the room to music while clapping hands, many different sorts of stimulation enter their brain at once which are:
So do not think that children were just playing and dancing around, in reality, there are so many possible learning opportunities planned with the Music and Movement sessions.
With children out of school, physical distancing as the new norm, and children’s rights under threat, the new world order has “turned back the clock” on years of progress made on children’s well-being. However, it’s not all bad. As a human race, we’ve been built to adapt: we’ve seen a tipping point in technology-enabled education and the promise of a new education policy in our country.