The Role of Music in Early Childhood Education and Development

Music and Early Childhood Education

Anybody working in early childhood education uses music in some form. This is because young children respond differently to music than to the spoken word. It piques their attention. Music is a form of creative play which fully engages the senses of young children. (As it also can for older children and adults!)

Young child making music in early childhood education

As part of my work as a music therapist, I lead interactive music groups in early childhood education settings. One of these groups allows me to work with both young children and their parents. Getting the chance to make music with them is especially rewarding.

It’s delightful to see how everybody- children and their parents- can grow and develop through music. While young children are naturally inclined to be playful and silly, parents, regardless of age, tend to be a bit more reserved. So it’s really great to see parents drop some of their defenses and become playful with their children.

Ways That Young Children Benefit From Music

In this video, I talk a bit about my perspective of music in the early childhood education setting, including ways in which I use music in these settings and why.

As I indicate in the video, language and developing a larger worldview or understanding are two areas that I tend to reinforce through music. This is true if I’m working with young children who are native English speakers and those who aren’t. What this means is that I’m using music to improve communication, interactions, and awareness.

The ability to communicate effectively is important at any age and music can foster this in a variety of ways. Children can do this through singing and simply using one’s voice and vocal apparatus. The songs themselves also support this. Do they tell a story? Do they identify objects, actions, or behaviors that the children can learn?

Likewise, learning how to interact with each other meaningfully is important as we humans are relational beings. Fostering greater attunement and attachment between the caregivers and their children is crucial in providing children with a solid foundation from which they can grow. As well, children can learn through music and songs how to share and treat one another.

Skills that young children gain from making music will serve them well throughout their lives. These skills help us learn and know what it means to be kind and compassionate humans in the 21st century. Let me know if you’d like to learn more about how to incorporate music into your class, or if you’d like to have me come in to lead groups.

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