Standards of Dance in Early Childhood: The Philosophy Underlying Early Childhood Standards by a staff writer of the National Dance Education Organization discusses the numerous benefits of dance in children. Creative movement and dance can have a major impact on a child’s: physical development, emotional maturity, social awareness, and cognitive development.
These songs, old and new, have numerous benefits: they are good for the brain, preserve a culture, teach history, provide opportunities to bond, and be a joyful, shareable experience.
Science Magazine article Human Language May be Shaped by Climate and Terrain by Emily Underwood discusses the fascinating phenomenon of acoustic adaptation. Researchers are learning that human language development may be influenced by our environments. Driving factors of language differences appear to be: humidity, forested environment, tree cover (or lack thereof), and terrain (rocky vs. smoother topography).
Music is powerful and can “indirectly influence our perceptions and actions”. Research has repeatedly shown that music can help children in the classroom: to motivate, stimulate, help children focus, and aid in memory and learning retention.
According to one educational website sight word is defined as, “a word that is immediately recognized as a whole and does not require word analysis for identification. Good readers instantly recognize sight words without having to decode them. Sight words are usually high-frequency words, which occur most frequently in our language.” Learning sight words is truly an important part of learning to read. It can be described as the on-ramp to becoming a proficient reader.
Studies have shown that a student who receives 30-45 hours a year with 1:1 attention can get one grade level higher. Due to large classrooms and limited resources, this is not something schools can realistically provide on their own. After learning about the literacy rates of children in disadvantaged homes and children who speak english as a second language, Eggers and his group of publishers dedicated their afternoons to helping local children with their reading and homework.
According to news article Boys Trail Girls in Literacy and Numeracy When Starting School, a recent government study reveals a considerable gender gap in literacy and numeracy. Despite the fact that this gap has narrowed, female students continue to outperform their male classmates in writing and learning numbers.
Me: In Poetry, Song, and Art by Michelle Currin, writer and teacher, discusses what she learned at a particularly meaningful and inspiring professional development course, a “Picture Book Read In.” At this educators event, Currin and other teachers, were able to explore new books that were especially geared towards our right-brained, creative side. This Playful Learning blog focuses on biographies and autobiographies for children about poets and artists. The three books highlighted in this piece are Enormous Smallness by Matthew Burgess (about poet e. e. cummings), Trombone Shorty by Troy Andrews (an autobiography about a musician), and Draw What You See by Kathleen Benson (about fine artist Benny Andrews). Sharing stories about artists and poets can have a profound impact on the life of a child. There is no greater achievement for a teacher than to inspire a student to reach their potential.
An inspiring article The Word Fairy: The Magic of Reading and Writing for Young Children by Veronika Shulman from Get Lit – Words Ignite describes their work in helping children and teens to connect with classic poetry and write their own original piece. They believe that if a student could “claim their poem” they could “claim their life”. Shulman’s article discusses the power of poetry to foster positive self-expression and a love for and appreciation of reading and language.
Music and rhythm can be powerful tools in teaching children. While many early childhood toys are meant to stimulate the sense of sight, one of the first ways and infant learns to organize his or her thoughts and understand patterns is through their sense of hearing and touch. The steady, rhythmic beat of a lullaby or nursery rhyme can soothe an infant while also allowing the infant to hear and process the complex patterns of the music.