Who doesn’t like music? It is such a big part of our society and lives as a whole. Most of us can remember some song that helped us through a particularly tough or joyful experience in our lives. Not only does music invoke certain feelings but it can also be used as an educational tool. Ask any preschool or PreK teacher and they will tell you that they use music for almost every part of the day. From singing directions such as ‘wash your hands’ to music movement time to nap time. Music is such an essential part of a preschool child’s day that there isn’t a day when it is not used.
Now music can be used in lots of ways to facilitate many learning opportunities. Quite often it is used for building language experiences and rhythm. However, music has a deep seated mathematical concept to it. Learning to play an instrument incorporates math. Dancing to beats and establishing rhythm involves math. Knowing when to adjust your body to the tempo of the music is math. So if you walk into your child’s preschool classroom and there is singing, dancing and laughing, just know that your child is also involved in a math lesson. Whether it is direct or indirect.
Here are some other ways your child’s teacher may be using music for learning (and you should as well!).
1. Have a toddler or preschooler whom seems to not follow directions? How about singing directions to them? Many PreK teachers use this method to get kids to move from one daily activity to another. Just pick a familiar and catchy tune and sing away. (i.e. “Time for lunch, time for lunch”… [Where is Thumbkin tune]).
2. Make your own instruments and have a band party! Each person gets to create a rhythm with their instrument. Checking out Pinterest may give you some ideas.
3. Having a difficult bedtime? Use soothing music to calm your little one’s restlessness. Try having them count forward or backwards until they drift off.
4. Echo and response songs is a great opportunity for sequencing as well as developing melody. Ella Jenkins has wonderful echo and response songs.
5. Songs that involve keeping the beat is a great way to infuse math as well. Try Greg & Steve’s Hand Jive song. In the song, children copy a clapping rhythm that goes from easy to increasingly challenging.
Moreover, to extend musical experiences for your child (if you see they are musically inclined), try exposing your child to community resources that provide these activities. Check out the list below of local Newark organizations by clicking the links.
Newark School of the Arts
Newark Boys Chorus School
Newark Music Lessons