Music from early childhood onwards helps children to speak more clearly, develop a larger vocabulary, and strengthen social and emotional skills, which is why it’s such an important part of the Kinderland curriculum. DR CAROL LOY, Director of Curriculum and Professional Development at Kinderland, discusses some of the ways their Children’s Music Programme helps promote cognitive development in early childhood and how parents can encourage music at home.
How does music promote cognitive development in early childhood?
Music not only brings joy to children, but it also benefits their cognitive development. In a joint-study published in 2014 led by myself and the National Institute of Education, music was shown to “contribute to preschool-age children’s awakening to different subject matters, particularly to reading and writing.”
Further research has also shown that music-making improves test scores regardless of socio-economic background, and children get higher marks in standardised tests and fare better in reading proficiency exams as compared to those with no music involvement.
What are some of the skills children can learn from music?
Young learners who are exposed to music education hone their fine and gross motor skills, as they nimbly handle instruments and strike musical keys precisely while following the rhythm of the music. These skills are critical for the young as they enable children to learn to move in a controlled, coordinated, and efficient way.
Through our Children’s Music Programme, the young ones will also learn communication skills as they improve their ability to express feelings better and cultivate an appreciation of teamwork.
Which kinds of music benefit infants and toddlers the most?
At Kinderland, classical music is played during the naptime of infants as it is known to be more complex in structure, instrumentation and harmony – therefore helping to develop higher cognitive abilities. While other genres are played during activities to help children to identify the activities and learn better. Teachers also sing interactive nursery rhymes in English and Chinese to aid language learning.
How does Kinderland incorporate music into its curriculum?
Taught by professionally-qualified, specialist music teachers, children aged 3 and 4 years old (pre-nursery and nursery) are encouraged to express themselves musically through song-singing, rhymes recitation, rhythmic movement, music stories and ensemble playing. Children aged 5 and 6 years old (kindergarten 1 and 2) are introduced to weekly keyboard lessons to further develop their hearing, singing and notation reading skills.
At selected centres, extracurricular programmes like the marching band and stage ensemble allow children to explore an expanded range of instruments such as glockenspiels, electronic keyboards, and drums, as well as enjoy opportunities to participate in various public stage performances like the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) Conference and World Water Day celebration.
What are some of the ways parents can encourage music at home?
For infants, parents can utilise simple gestures like tapping on the soles of their feet to help foster the connection between what is heard and what is felt, which reinforces musical awareness in a fun way. For older children, parents should try exposing them to a wider array of instruments, for example, trying out an erhu (a two-stringed bowed musical instrument) or an angklung (a musical instrument from West Java made from bamboo). Parents can also play classical music at home to help stimulate their child’s brain.
Find out more about Kinderland and contact the early childhood provider at kinderland.com.sg
Read the huge guide to International Schools in Singapore