Music is a huge part of life – from moving film soundtracks to joyful songs on the radio, music has the ability to affect our emotions. At Westgate, we play soothing music to calm children during nap and relaxation times, and fast-paced, catchy songs during discos. Recently, however, as part of the emotional wellbeing focus that underpins everything that we do, we have been exploring other ways in which music can support our children.
Research (see article) has found that music can support brain development, and is particularly effective at developing literacy and speaking skills. Indeed, when examined against the seven areas of the EYFS curriculum, music can support nearly every area:
Personal, Social and Emotional – Children gain confidence and self-esteem as they learn to make sounds using instruments.
Communication and Language – Singing sessions help to familiarise children with songs, rhymes and words. Playing musical instruments develops the ability to differentiate between the different sounds of the instruments, which can later help with phonic learning.
Physical Development – Playing musical instruments can support hand-eye co-ordination and dancing to music supports gross motor and rhythmic movement.
Understanding the World – Listening to music from a range of cultures can help children to be interested in ways of life other than their own, which should also support tolerance.
Expressive Arts and Design – Playing instruments, singing and dancing supports self-expression, imagination and creativity.
With this in mind, we will be focusing on music throughout the nursery, but have decided to particularly prioritise music in our under-two’s room, where many of the children are non-verbal. The children already enjoy regular discos, singing sessions and story telling times, but to access the benefits of music we have decided to offer these multiple times a day, and have introduced musical instruments or props to these sessions. We will also be working with our team to empower our practitioners to confidently lead musical activities.
For some ideas of how to use music to support your little ones at home, please read the article here.