March is Music and Movement Month !!!

MUSIC speaks to us as nothing else can.  It reaches the mind and touches the heart and soul of the young child.

MUSIC speaks to children.

Music is filled with patterns and that is what math is really about.  What is key is exposing children to all kinds of music, including jazz, blues, dance, country, classical, folk and rock.  The more rhythms a child hears and moves to, the more patterns he will be able to recognize in math.

Multisensory musical behaviors activate both hemispheres of the young child’s brain.

MUSIC exerts a powerful influence on us.

BRINGING MUSIC TO ALL AGE GROUPS …..

INFANTS – Advanced brain-scan technology and neuroscience research reveal that when children participate in music, the brain “lights up like a Christmas tree” in many different areas.  Researchers also remind us that we must look beyond the lullabies and nursery rhymes and play a variety of types of music.  Surround the infant with musical toys and play them one at a time.  Then play them all at once.  Place an autoharp or other musical instrument on the floor for your infant to explore and “play”. Hang a wind chime outside their room.  Put jingle bells inside an empty plastic bottle and roll across the floor.  Plan for a set time for music in your classroom.  Infants can make beautiful music!

TODDLERS – Music can add much joy to your daily life with toddlers.  After the babbling stage of an infant, comes toddler imitations or “tagging on”.  Toddlers copy what they hear being sung and especially love repetition, funny sounds, chants, and playing instruments. Everyday plan for an active music time with your toddlers – “rock n’ roll band time”, marching band time with instruments and flags or streamers, disco dance time.  Use music for transitions and calming activities too.  Make animal sounds and truck/car sounds and sing echo songs often.  Music and movement should happen OFTEN AND CONSISTENTLY each day with toddlers!

PRESCHOOL – Songs, rhymes, chants and singing games have an overwhelming impact on young children.  Music can change a child’s brain as well as their mood.  Children make music naturally.  Singing with and to children increases closeness, boosts memory, increases spatial reasoning, develops humor, helps to develop language skills and calms children.  Even the reluctant participant is still hearing and feeling the rhythms of the music.  Use music throughout your day – as a cue for clean-up or transitioning to another activity.  Set up a music and recording center in your room – complete with a cardboard sound room.  Use rhythm sticks or drums for children to tap patterns.  Get more sophisticated by tapping syllables in children’s name after they have mastered control with tapping.  Play a math and rhythm band game by assigning four drums for the “band” by matching up four people, etc.  Make the sounds quiet, loud, crazy and calm.  Sing as you walk to the gym or playground. Foster creativity by playing different types of music and have children dance with scarves or paint while listening to music.

MOVEMENT IS THE YOUNG CHILD’S PREFERRED MODE OF LEARNING.

IT IT’S NOT IN THE HAND & BODY, IT’S NOT IN THE BRAIN!

Brain research tells us that most of the brain is activated during physical activity – much more so than when sitting.

The brain loves music and rhythm.  Music, music, music! Music can enhance learning, and songs and chants are a convenient way for the brain to “store” information.

Crossover movements “unstuck” the brain.  There is a line down the middle of the body called the midline. Whenever you engage children in cross-lateral activities, it wakes up the brain.  Small motor activities stimulate the brain.  When children do fingerplays, work puzzles, or play with playdough, they are using their brains.

by Nancy Nathanson, Regional Ed Director