How to Find a Quality Music Program for Your Early Learning Centre

signs of a good music program for kids

 

It’s not hard to see how much children love music activities. This passion seems to pop up out of nowhere but their love of music has an important role in early childhood development.

Sadly, many early childhood educators say they feel unconfident about their musical abilities and don’t believe they have enough knowledge to encourage musical development. The result is that music programs vary dramatically across early childhood settings. 

It’s natural to be a little hesitant but building a quality music program into your early childhood institution is easier than you think.

The benefits of music education in early childhood

First, let’s have a look at why music has an important role in early childhood settings and kindergartens. 

Research has consistently shown that music has an amazing impact on a child’s early development in everything from their physical and psychological development to social and educational learning. 

a girl surrounded by text lists of the non-musical benefits of music making for children.

Music education in young children has been shown to:

  • Improve memory capacity and encourage recall to share their thinking or ideas. 
  • Improve motor functions
  • Boost positive social interactions, cooperation, and teamwork
  • Improve problem-solving abilities
  • Improve literacy and verbal learning
  • Help with spatial reasoning
  • Boost confidence, self-esteem, and resilience

Dedicated music early learning programs have also been found to help boost family unity in the home

When educators implement a quality music program the right way, we start to see huge positive benefits in the children. 

They can start to feel heard and recognised through song lyrics that promote communication. They learn to express themselves freely and participate in dialogue. Over time, they’ll develop and extend their vocab too. 

Through group music-making, young children can feel valued and have an opportunity to help or support other children around them. They learn to anticipate behaviours and actions and start to show initiative and independence. 

Songs specifically designed for early learning often incorporate materials young children can manipulate to develop dexterity and coordination. 

6 signs of a good music education program for early childhood

The quality of music education programs in early childhood centres differs dramatically since there’s little to no standardisation across settings. So how do you know you’ve found the right program?

A good music education program:

  • Encourages strong musical engagement
  • Is informed by research and the Early Learning Years Framework
  • Promotes child-led music-making
  • Involves interactive and cooperative music-making
  • Encourages lots of movement and play
  • Incorporates music throughout the day

Signs of a good music program for early childhood

It encourages strong musical engagement

A strong music early learning program provides active participation. It’s varied enough to keep a child’s ongoing interest, excitement, and curiosity, with a blend of diverse musical styles. 

A quality program promotes various types of engagement. Emotional engagement means the children feel a sense of inclusion and belonging while behavioural engagement promotes participation across all early learning activities. 

Cognitive engagement sees children developing initiative and independence. A safe learning environment enables them to experience pride in their musical attempts and achievements. 

It’s informed by research and the Early Learning Years Framework

Quality music programs for early childhood aren’t based on fads but are instead grounded in research and theory. 

For example, Sounds Like This supports play-based learning and is grounded in the Kodály method. Our Music Making Made Easy professional development program for early years educators supports the Early Years Learning Framework. 

Based on the research, quality music programs for early learning settings are child-led, interactive, and performed live to support how young children learn best. 

It promotes child-led music-making

Great music programs for youngsters promote curiosity and exploration, giving the children space so they can listen, learn, and problem solve in their own time. 

Young children are innate explorers. Give them space to play and they will become masters of improvisation, producing boldly creative musical ideas that can help boost their confidence and pride. 

The best music programs provide different materials and instruments so children can experiment with sound-making and music-making with others. 

Educators and children work together to make music, with educators acknowledging, supporting, and celebrating their children’s ideas. 

It involves interactive and cooperative music-making

One of the best signs of a quality music program is how it embraces active music-making. No passive listening to a Spotify playlist or singing along to a backing track. Young learners enjoy the best neurological response when they’re making music. 

Great music programs for early childhood promote an atmosphere of collective learning, with children mirroring behaviour and helping and supporting other children in their learning. 

They involve singing and making music together. That means they’re typically performed live in the moment and are designed to be interactive and reactive. 

They allow plenty of opportunities for repetition and scaffolding, building on the same musical concepts as children grow and develop. 

It encourages plenty of movement and play

Music-making in early childhood isn’t just about learning to sing a tune. It’s about whole-body involvement, helping children develop gross motor skills, balance, coordination, and more. 

Music-making activities can involve physical play, such as forming circles, dancing, getting on the floor, making hand movements… You name it!

It incorporates music throughout the day

Rather than taking up one specific block of time during the day, a great music program builds music into many activities throughout the day.

Many experts suggest that music education be integrated into a multidisciplinary educational approach, with a minimum of 20 minutes of music staggered over short periods throughout the day. 

For example, you can sing Hello and Goodbye songs to bookend the day or sing the Pack Up song when it’s time to put away the toys.

Music Making Made Easy: The professional development program taking the guesswork out of music-making

Still hesitant about how you can incorporate a quality music program into your everyday activities so your children get a great music education?

Our Music Making Made Easy program provides professional development for early years educators. This PD comes with 44 videos demonstrating quality early learning musical examples through songs and rhymes to help you supercharge organic music-making in your early learning setting. 

Get a sneak preview of our Music Making Made Easy PD with this FREE tutorial today.

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