I dislike the term ‘school ready’ and agree with the opinion that it should be the schools that are ready for the intake of new children, particularly post the pandemic years. However, we have to accept that children will be faced with more sitting and listening than they have been used to at pre-school, there will be phonics teaching, maths teaching, group work and EYFS Learning Goals when they get to school. Music and movement can work as a fun intervention from April to September to boost all the skills necessary for children to thrive in the school environment, in a way that seems like fun play.
- Regular music practice in early years will engage children and so develop their listening and attention skills. Activities can be focused on refining auditory processing skills ready for phonics and reading, leading to strong foundations for literacy.
- Regular music practice will develop sequencing and patterning skills, spatial and rhythmic awareness, building strong foundations for maths.
A bonus is that the regular music practice will also support social and emotional wellness, physical skills, confidence, self-esteem……….. but we will focus on the foundations for maths and literacy in this article.
MUSIC TO SUPPORT FOUNDATIONS FOR LITERACY IN EARLY YEARS
- Evidence shows that children with a strong phonological awareness, when they start school, will be the strongest readers and writers by age 7-8. Phonological awareness consists of; syllables, onset rime and phoneme awareness.
- Music training, by definition, results in developing higher awareness of sounds. Regular involvement in music activities will develop the awareness of syllables, onset rime and phoneme awareness. Music activities are more engaging than phonics exercises so children will be more attentive and motivated to take part.
- Words and sentences have an intrinsic rhythm. Children can develop an awareness of this by developing their sound processing skills and playing with syllables of words through music activities.
- Songs and rhymes have deliberate patterning so are extremely useful in developing the sound processing of stressed syllables – an area which is found to be weak in children who suffer with dyslexia.
MUSIC TO SUPPORT FOUNDATIONS FOR MATHS IN EARLY YEARS
- Music is built from recurring mathematical patterns and sequences such as beat, tempo and rhythm. Children can develop mathematical thinking as they notice and respond to this.
- A sense of pattern supports children’s learning, enabling them to make links and notice connections between events and ideas, promoting thought and the capacity to learn.
- If, as mathematicians suggest, maths is the science of pattern, it is clear that music and dance are the art of pattern.
- Early exploration of movement and sound, combined with the brain’s drive for pattern, lead to recognition of regularities that can be identified – ordering, classifying, sequencing and predicting – supporting foundations for maths.
HOW CAN WE INTEREST CHILDREN IN MUSIC?
That’s easy, play some catchy upbeat songs and they will be engaged. All children are born with innate musicality we just need to give them the opportunity to develop this.
Children develop an interest in things they think we are interested in, so we need to demonstrate an interest in sounds all around us, to support their exploration of sounds.
Step 1 – developing our own confidence to lead creative music activities and play with sounds alongside children.
Step 2 – value music-making and sound patterning activities and understand their relevance in building strong foundations for literacy and maths learning and development.
HOW TO GET STARTED WITH BASIC TRAINING AND A FEW NEW SONGS
We are offering training evenings in April and May 2022, in collaboration with Early Years Consultant Sue Asquith to give you more information about this link between music practice and developing strong foundations for maths and literacy. The Monday evening workshops will also cover 4 songs that you can practice with your children to experience the music magic for yourselves! Join Sue and Boogie Mites Trainer Tasha to learn how to harness the power of music for EYFS maths and literacy goals, the neuro-musical evidence and some new songs for all to enjoy:
Music Making Supporting Mathematical Minds 25th April 7-8.30pm:
Developing Literacy Foundations Through Music 16th May 7-8.30pm:
If you book the Maths workshop you will receive a 50% discount code for the Literacy workshop. If you cannot attend the live event, don’t worry you will have access to the recording for one week following.
Many pre-schools across the UK follow Boogie Mites School Ready Literacy and/or Maths Music Programmes. They see how children love the music time as well as the learning aims that are met through regular practice.
“The children have made phenomenal progress in my setting with the help of regular Boogie Mites group times, and even after almost a year our children are still excited when they hear a mention of ‘Boogie Mites’ It is without a doubt our most popular group time! I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending Boogie Mites to anyone caring for children in the early years and the extensive learning outcomes for children that it offers makes it very good value for money and what I believe should be an essential piece of ‘toolkit’ within the industry.” Emma Berry, Manager, Scamps Pre-School, East Worthing
Another bonus is that Boogie Mites songs are enjoyed as much by adults as by children and they provide a boost for practitioners mood as well. Happy boogie-ing! 😊