Parents and caregivers often ask what young children need to know before kindergarten; this is the 21st in a series of blog posts on kindergarten readiness and early learning basics. No matter the age of your little one, this will give you a general picture of what to do as your child’s very first teacher.
On last week’s radio show, I interviewed producer, songwriter, and musician Richard Leighton, on using music with preschoolers to encourage kindergarten readiness. Wow, the amount of research on the importance of music for learning and brain development is astonishing! A study from Germany found that music in early childhood can actually enlarge parts of the brain. Even before birth the brain is ready to hear sounds. Music helps create the pathways and connections that will be needed for learning language.
- To include music for your child, you do not have to have a great voice or play a musical instrument. A newborn baby can recognize the voices of its parents and responds to them, so go ahead and sing songs you remember. There are some great children’s bands and performers as well as other types of music for listening and singing along.
- Life itself is based on rhythm: our heartbeats and breathing. Have you ever rocked a little one to sleep? That’s rhythm. Or noticed how kids will drum on anything? Again, rhythm. Tap the rhythm to a song with your child, clap hands, play finger games like Patty-cake. Set out the pots and pans and a wooden spoon. When you can’t stand the noise anymore, switch for something quieter like a thick phone book or mouse pad.
- When well-meaning relatives want to buy your child an instrument suggest a recorder, kazoo, tambourine, shaker bells, or small keyboard–the electronic ones can be switched to only headsets! Check for resources in your area such as early childhood mornings for parents and tots to sing and dance. Watch for musicians and bands that have free promotional events.
Imagine, as a parent you could zap to the future and improve your child’s marks in math, science, and reading, would you be keen to do so? Especially if it means mental and physical health benefits, too? Well, you can! By including music for your child. How will you make music a part of your day for you and your child?