The Key to Child Development Is Music

Child Development – Singing in childhood is something that most of us take for granted in our early years. It reaches children by soothing, relaxing, inspiring and bonding them in ways few other activities can. But could it perhaps improve child development and children’s life opportunities, proving to be more valuable than previously thought?  

Harnessing Musical Activities For Child Development And Communication Skills

Child development and health is of increasing concern to the government. A wide range of organisations regularly report on statistics like the number of child deaths and hospitalisations, challenging the government to improve standards of living, educational achievement and economic prosperity for all citizens.  

Many organisations have identified an attainment gap between the advantaged and disadvantaged. Clear developmental differences can be seen between those who will comfortably continue to develop their education and those who will fall further behind. This gap is evident by the age of 3. 

The Office of National Statistics reports that 92.5% of 2-2 ½ year olds receive a review on their development. This is based on the ASQ3 questionnaire: sets of interview questions that identify child development milestones. The key indicators include Communication, Gross Motor Movement, Fine Motor Movement, Problem Solving and Personal Social Skills. This article focusses on way that music can support child development and the Communication for all children. 

One organisation actively investigating this gap in child development is the Education Endowment Foundation. Their 2020 report indicates that they have found: 

  1. Early years education can prevent the gap by developing communication and language, self-regulation and parental involvement for child development 
  2. Improving teacher qualifications makes the biggest difference 
  3. Targeted small group and one-to-one interventions are more effective than whole-class / school-wide 
  4. Transitions from nursery to primary, primary to secondary, pose the greatest risks to vulnerable learners – early support can prevent falling behind 
  5. Improving post-16 attainment is most difficult for children from disadvantaged backgrounds 
  6. Better outcomes for schools have been identified when Pupil Premium funding supports senior leaders in improving teaching 
  7. Most educators are eager to find and use evidence 
  8. Programmes used must have good evidence or be discarded 
  9. Key teaching areas, e.g. literacy interventions, can be implemented immediately 
  10. Teaching assistants must be well-trained in small groups and structured interventions or they can have a negative impact on disadvantaged children 
  11. Projects must be clearly structured, focussed and targeted to be effective 
  12. Most school approaches are equal to or better than specialist programmes 
  13. No catch-up programme has successfully closed the attainment gap, specifically in reading 
  14. Essential life skills (”character”) determine life chances, and are measurable, but there is no evidence yet that this impacts academic attainment 
  15. Sharing best practice between schools and teachers is key to closing the gap 

Music That Can Support The Development Of Communication 

Wee Willie Winkie 

Wee Willie Winkie runs through the town 

Upstairs and downstairs in his nightgown 

Tapping on the windows, rapping on the locks 

Are the children in their beds for it’s past 8 o’clock. 

This lovely old song evokes fantastical imaginative scenes! It is also written in very clear musical phrasing, which makes it a wonderful song to play in groups using instruments, taking it in turns. Dividing the children into 4 groups, the first could tap plastic cups together, like horses running through a town. The second group could use instruments like ukuleles or chimes, mimicking the gentle movement of the fabric of a nightgown. The third group could tap or shake metal instruments like tambourines or chime bars, to represent metal locks. The last group could tap claves or drums, to “tick-tock” like a clock. This activity develops the conversational skills of taking turns, listening to others, timing your response, and knowing that the sounds you make and what you have to say is needed, like everyone else. 

Girls and Boys Come Out To Play 

Girls and boys come out to play 

The moon is shining bright as day 

Leave your supper and leave your sleep 

And join your play fellows in the street 

Come with a whoop and come with a call 

Come with goodwill or come not at all 

Up the ladder and down the wall 

A ha’penny loaf will serve us all 

You find milk and I’ll find flour 

And we’ll have a pudding in half an hour 

With more visually-evocative words, this is a great skipping song – a wonderful gross motor skill to learn by first practicing hopping, and then moving forward while hopping. This song may become a turn-taking game by having children sit in four groups, in the corners of an imaginary square. The first group skips to the second group for the first two lines of the songs and then sits down. The second group skips to the third group for the next two lines, and so on. In the final two lines, all groups skip around each other! Skipping together takes the pressure off children being singled out in front of everyone, and allows the less-confident to informally learn from the more-confident. By taking turns at skipping and sitting, not only does this develop the impulse/self-control response, but also creates the experience of excitement, anticipation and achievement in playing co-operatively by following the rules. 

I Have A Dream, ABBA

I have a dream, a song to sing 

To help me cope with anything 

If you see the wonder of a fairy tale 

You can take the future even if you fail 

I believe in angels 

Something good in everything I see 

I believe in angels 

When I know the time is right for me 

I’ll cross the stream 

I have a dream 

This lovely well-known pop song can be considered a modern lullaby. Originally inspired by Martin Luther King’s famous speech, it evokes ideas of hope and possibility. Rocking or swaying little ones, or giving them toys to gently rock in their arms can be much-needed relaxing break in the day. Perhaps giving us hope that we may all one day have the positive start we need to live happy, successful lives. 

Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top