Creating music and movement environments
In a children’s service, the environment should be set up in a way that encourages children to participate in appropriate music and movement experiences.
In all settings, recorded music should be played at various times of the day, both formally (in group time) and informally (during free play).
Using recorded music gives children three different experiences:
1. They can listen and move freely to music and explore sounds
2. Hear that music can be a part of all aspects of their daily routine
3. Using a variety of music can reflect and support cultural diversity
Music and movement spaces
Indoors a small quiet corner can be set up with low shelves for easy access to musical instruments. Use a carpeted area with large cushions to assist in keeping music noises in and other noises out.
In outdoor settings, a quiet area can be set up with instruments and props stored in baskets and containers for children to use.
Movement and dance areas are important components of the physical environment. Providing this space on a daily basis will encourage children to participate in creative movement spontaneously and encourage them to practise their skills.
When selecting the appropriate space consider the following:
1. The group size – music and movement experiences should involve individual, small and whole group. Sullivan suggest “working with a whole group enables the adult to deal with the dynamics of the whole group and develop group interactions”.
2. Attributes of the space – floor space needs to be soft/and or giving – wood, carpet or grass. Adequate ventilation and heating, few distractions, uncluttered open space is needed, weather and distractions need to be considered.
3. Space size – if too large or too small conflicts and attention difficulties may occur.
4. Safety – be aware of corners, edge of tables, furniture, rough and uneven floors, glass, concrete walls, raised levels.
5. Scheduling/timing – some services plan and implement regular group experiences called ‘music group time’ at designated times each day. This can be especially important ritual and a rich source of enjoyment for the children.
6. Frequency of sessions – practise makes perfect. Repetition is an important learning strategy.
7. Children’s attire – socks can be slippery, bare feet may give children greater movement potential, movement experiences are outdoors (safety), remove jumpers if children are overheating
Music as part of daily life
It is important not to forget the importance of spontaneity – introducing music and movement concepts with children anytime of the day – on a one to one basis or in groups of 2-3 children.
All aspects of the daily routine should provide opportunities for music and movement activities.
We can respond to the different moods of children singing songs that reflect their feelings, such as a lullaby when they are tired or tickling rhyme when they are in an active mood.
Songs can be sung about what we are doing during the day in routine times, such as ‘this is the way we wash our hands’ before lunch time, at packaway times and transitioning from outdoors to indoors.
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