I am Katie and I run Rainbow Sensory Gifts. I am a primary school teacher who specialises in early years and although my business is tailored towards babies and toddlers I am honoured to have the chance to be a guest blogger for Michelle and her amazing business.
I strongly believe that a sensory enriched environment can greatly contribute to a child’s cognitive and sensory development. One of our strongest senses is hearing. Music has an amazing effect even before birth. During childhood music helps to strengthen neural pathways, as well as having a positive impact on emotional, intellectual, cognitive and physical development. Even as adults now- how many times do we associate songs or music to an event or memory? Music can have such a vast impact on the human brain.
Right from birth, Communication and Language development comprises of three parts: Speaking, Listening and Understanding. These develop through a range of experiences and constant vital interaction, which naturally occurs between parents and children through daily conversations, songs and rhymes and storytelling. As parents we naturally introduce music to babies at a young age through lullabies and nursery rhymes. What I would like to touch upon in this blog is that we can continue this long passed the early years to develop these skills for older children using music.
Exposure to music & rhymes allows little brains and little ears to learn new words, along with opportunity to experience a variety of sounds and tones. Music helps babies and young children to gain active listening skills and develop communication tools. Many experts have researched the positive impact on communication development through giving babies the opportunity to use simple instruments to make music and explore sound. Providing the resources and encouraging babies and toddlers to communicate through sounds enables them to self express which is why I took the decision to introduce musical bags to my shop.
Beyond the early years- music still provides a great form of expression and inspires creativity in children. As a teacher there are many ways that music is incorporated – I can assure you that when you bring out the trolley of instruments for the children there is so much excitement! The children love having a chance to explore sounds and tones in an environment where nothing is right or wrong. There is something just magical about music and musical instruments in childhood. Simply by working together on music collaboratively – vital skills such as turn taking, learning to give and take and communication skills are are developed.
Another way that music can be used in school (and at home) is to calm down children. Quite often after lunch break the children will come in after various fall outs or excited from playing and I would have 5 minutes of calm- slow music to bring down the little heart rates and calm the children. Music can be a great resource for cross curricular learning and provide children who may not excel in maths and English – a chance to shine and show off their creativity.
So no matter how old your children are – expose them to music, encourage children to make music, provide the resources for children to access music and make music, allow children to take up music lessons, teach children to use music to unwind and to relax to and if not above all, enjoy music together.