Music is a powerful tool we use to teach children new skills. No matter age or language ability, everybody is able to use music to learn and grow. When starting the day with music, the body releases endorphins which improves mood and energy levels. This increase in endorphins encourages creativity, relieves stress, supports motor development, and improves social skills.
When playing music for preschool-aged children, we want songs that are repetitive and engaging. Children learn by hearing and seeing things over and over again. The repetitive song is comforting to the child and creates new brain pathways.
When you include body engagement with music, it is important that the body crosses the midline. Crossing the midline is when we move our arms or legs across the opposite side of our body. When crossing the midline we activate both sides of our brain to coordinate smooth, controlled, complex movement. This is what helps children learn how to get dressed, put on shoes and socks, walk, write, read, and use scissors.
Not only does this activate both sides of the brain, but it also helps children with self-control, self-regulation, and helps develop executive function (problem solving, time management, working memory, attention span, and cognitive flexibility). It is also important for visual perception which helps children form shapes and letters.
Being unable to cross the midline can impact reading, writing, and language skills due to the brain not being able to track from side to side. It also means the two sides of the brain are not communicating with each other making it difficult to follow multi-step instructions andactions.
Here are a few music and movement artist Carmel Mountain Preschool enjoys and recommendations:
- Jack Hartmann
- Laurie Berkner
- Hugh Hanley (slower music, great for calming)
- Hap Palmer