The brain, at birth, is undeveloped. As the brain develops, it organizes & grows sequentially starting from the lowest regions of the brain then processing up through the more complex parts of the brain. In order for the upper regions to be healthy, you must first develop healthy lower regions. The normal organization of the brain is “use-dependent”. The more patterned activity (think music, reading, conversation, etc.), the more the brain regions responsible for these tasks will organize and be functionally “healthy”. And guess what! The majority of this sequential and use-dependent development takes place in early childhood. In fact, by age 3, 85% of the brain has developed.
What does that have to do with music, movement & early childhood? Everything! We have this amazing window of opportunity in early childhood to help our little ones develop healthy brains. We need to capitalize on these early childhood years. As we teach preschoolers, we need to match experiences to the child’s level of neurodevelopment: physical/motor, behavioral, emotional, social and cognitive. Play & exploration grow the brain—healthy play & developmentally appropriate exploration grow healthy brains!
So much research has been done and is still being done that tells us that there is definitely a link between music education and school readiness. When you think of preschoolers you think of active learning. Music & movement activities promote physical well-being and fine & gross motor development. These activities also help to promote social/emotional development as interacting with other children comes naturally in the course of singing & moving together. Music activities that emphasize song texts, rhyming words, rhythmic patterns, steady beat, and dramatization of stories through movement & instruments help develop a child’s literacy skills as well.
To say that we have fun in music is an understatement! Kids find music & movement a joyful, playful and efficient way to learn (they don’t even know they’re learning). When we nurture a love for music & movement, we’re ultimately facilitating a love for all learning.