Music, Movement & the Early Years
Music and Movement are central to how young children express themselves and are necessary to complete the holistic development of an individual. Additionally, it is important to include music education in children’s learning in order to have a balanced education (1). According to the Professor Lili Levinowitz ‘just as children are born with the potential to learn to speak and understand their native language, all children are born with the potential to learn to perform and to understand their culture’s music’ (2).
Music helps young children develop their intellectual, physical, language, emotional and social skills. Children develop their concentration, listening, thinking and memory through singing, musical instruments, dancing, and more specifically through music’s rhythm, tempo, dynamics, and expressions. Moreover, singing helps children develop the skill to command their voices, and movement helps children develop the body control skills. Through movement they can also refine their fine and large motor skills, balance and spatial awareness. Furthermore, listening and singing educational songs it will help children to develop their language such as vocabulary and phonic awareness and gradually it can influence their levels of speech. Music also helps children develop their emotional awareness as they can express their feelings and grow their self-confidence. As music can also be a group activity, especially in early years classroom, it can help young children develop their social awareness, sharing and team-work skills (3).
The Musical Intelligence
Another essential part of children’s holistic and balanced development is the development of their musical Intelligence (4). According to the professor and psychologist Howard Gardner there are eight intelligences and each of one represents different ways of processing information:
Every human is born with these intelligences and they can be developed further through experience, exploration, repetition and exercise. Regarding musical intelligence, young children are born musical as they have experienced sounds from inside the womb (1 & 3). Young and Glover state that ‘babies can hear and listen music in the womb and when they are born, they will recognise the music of their mother’s culture’. In the same view, studies show that when mothers sing lullabies and soothing songs during their pregnancy, when their babies are born they show signs of less crying and are calmer later on (4). Thus, it is vital to develop further their musical intelligence as it is equal and central like all the other intelligences and can be develop further though music and movement experience into their environment both at school and home (4). Thus, it is vital to prepare an environment that will offer them all the materials and activities such as musical instruments, listening, dancing and singing activities.
Music in Montessori?
A Montessori classroom immerses itself in music as we sing constantly! When accommodating transitions and our positive approach to behaviour, we always try to find other ways to communicate with children. One of these ways is singing for each transition during the day or singing to gain the children's attention. Worldly subjects can be brought into the classroom such as oceans, weather, volcanoes, etc, as they can easily be memorised through song which we can then apply into our curriculum.
The Montessori education also offers children opportunities to experience music through play as there are several materials of music education on the shelves, such as the Montessori bells and the sound boxes. These activities not only appeal to the child's inner need to refine their senses but the materials also allow the children to absorb musical theory such as the names of notes, scales and pitches, as well as experience percussion and the vocabulary such as loud, soft, fast and slow.
Anna is the Montessori Lead of the Opal classroom in Little Gems Montessori Larnaca, where she delivers a musical curriculum through her Montessori and Music Teacher background. If you'd like to get singing with us, drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
(1 & 3) Montessori Centre International. (2009) Module 11 Creativity & Module 7 Education of the Senses London: MCI.
(2) Music Together (2018) the Importance of Music in Early Childhood by Lili M. Levinowitz [Online] Available at: https://www.musictogether.com/about/research/research-based-program/importance-of-music-in-early-childhood (Accessed: 8 November 2018).
(4) George Lucas Educational Foundation (2016) Multiple Intelligences: What Does the Research Say? [Online] Available at:https://www.edutopia.org/multiple-intelligences-research (Accessed: 8 November 2018).
(5) Young (2003) Music with the under-four. Routledge Farmer: London.
Pound and Harrison (2003) Supporting Musical Development in Early Years. Open University Press: Berkshire.
Young and Glover (1998) Music in the Early Years. Falmer Press: