Children make multiple trips to select and return their musical instruments from the container during each South Florida Music class. To many, this may be of little value. Yet as a researcher and instructor, this one activity reinforces many early childhood developmental domains for every child in the circle.
Each walk to and from the container presents an opportunity. First, it creates repetition. Did you know that repetition contributes to one’s feeling of safety and security? For children, this is essential. This activity may occur four to five times through the course of a 35 minute class. The repetition also occurs in a fun and family friendly environment. Next, this task fosters gross and fine motor; important developmental domains in early childhood education. Correctly selecting two musical instruments introduces and supports the areas of cognitive and language development. When you indicate the number desired with your hand and verbally reinforce it as well, your child’s development is strengthened even more. The area of social-emotional development is reinforced as everyone works together to ensure that each participant has two items, one for each the left and right hand. Self-help skills are increased as children learn to select what they need to participate in the activity. In this one seemingly simple task, we have contributed to the stimulation of all six developmental domains. And to think, this is just one of the many planned activities in our weekly lesson.
This information is shared with you because our classes are filled with this type of lesson intentionality. It is difficult to explain these foundational elements during the class. However, constantly weaving these connections for the benefit of EVERY child’s development is key. You can positively impact the overall learning experience by encouraging your child to participate in this simple activity every time it occurs. It is important that each child comes to the container and selects his/her two instruments, as well as returns them during clean-up time. If you have an eager beaver who wants to help others, that’s wonderful. If you have a child who is shy, let them watch their friends and then gently encourage them to participate. Remember, the concept of sharing and inclusion are also introduced as everyone needs two instruments to participate. Equally important is the repetition of celebrating every success of this activity with a smile, hug, “Bravo,” or all three! The repetition of selecting and returning stimulates and strengthens permanent connections that will last a lifetime.
Joy Galliford, PhD
Director of Development
South Florida Music