Music – The Secret Language of Children
When it comes to young children, music is about more than a nice melody in the background. For preschoolers, music plays a significant role in supporting their growing brains and bodies, from enhancing language to encouraging movement to developing cognition. Here’s why music is an important piece of the early childhood puzzle – and how we include music regularly at our childcare centre in Christchurch.
Enhancing language and communication skills
There’s something about singing that affects us in a different way than speaking or reading. You can see this best by introducing toddlers to music. Even before children can form full sentences, they’ll often break out into a full rendition of “Happy Birthday” or “Twinkle Twinkle” – we see it at daycare all the time!
This common phenomenon points to music’s ability to engage a different part of the brain when it comes to language, speech, and communication. And as they get older the benefits continue, as hearing songs regularly will continue to build their vocabulary by introducing new words and helping them work out the pronunciation of tricky ones.
Encouraging movement and motor skills
Have you ever noticed that children can’t help but dance when music comes on? While us adults may feel self-conscious or silly, preschoolers don’t have these inhibitions, and they can’t help but let their natural rhythm shine. At our childcare centre in Avonhead, Christchurch, we even see some babies kick or wave their arms to the beat!
When children have plenty of exposure to music, they improve their gross motor skills and coordination while engaging in positive self-expression and increasing their self-confidence. As a bonus, we often add musical instruments into the mix at our childcare centre, coupling songs with maracas, drums, and triangles. Along with increasing the fun, this further inspires children to find new ways to move their bodies to the beat.
Supporting brain development and cognition
The brain experiences its most dramatic growth and development in the first few years of life and hearing the rhythmic tones of music supports this development in many ways. Music helps children process and understand auditory information, improves concentration and focus, and supports cognition, specifically the connection with the left and right sides of the brain.
Including music at daycare and at home
Knowing how valuable music is to our childcare children, it plays a strong role in our curriculum at Avonhead Montessori Preschool and Nursery. We sing and dance, we teach culturally relevant songs like our waiata in the lead up to Matariki, we have instruments on hand and sometimes we have wee discos for the children.
It’s easy to include music at home, too – just follow our childcare centre’s lead by singing child-friendly songs, putting a kid’s mix on Spotify or playing your little one’s favourite tunes while in the car. And if you’re getting a little tired of “I’m a Little Teapot,” listening to adult music is wonderful as well (being careful of language and adult content of course!)
At Avonhead Preschool in Avonhead, Christchurch, our days are filled with fun ways to teach, support, and entertain our many children. Get in touch if you’re interested in enrolling.