Get Your Groove On! The Importance of Movement & Music

10th November, 2010 - Posted by - 3 Comments

Yuyuantan Park, Beijing
Creative Commons License photo credit: DPerstin

As a physical education Teacher of Head Start students, I love teaching movement to students because it sets the foundation for a healthy and active lifestyle.  However, it can sometimes be a challenge to come up with creative ways to do this when working with students of this age who are new to this concept.

As research tells us, you need to teach to the students learning style.  This sounds easy when you are dealing with student’s ages six and up who can speak in sentences and take in information using all of the multiple intelligences.  Nevertheless, I have found what I think is an excellent and often overlooked tool to help teach movement to Head Start students:  Music!

Taking advantage of the fact that 3-5 year olds are so open to trying almost anything, music provides the best opportunity to enhance movement education and the growth of the child.  Along with some modeling and patience, music and movement create a power packed combination that is critical to the development of the child.

Music and physical activity supports the academic growth of a child in so many ways. It helps with their ability to retain information and be alert.  It also helps support problem solving abilities and provides calming neurological effects, as well as builds self-esteem and supports social interaction.

With all the children’s music CDs available, such as the Greg and Steve series and Hap Palmer (which include songs about feelings, balancing bean bags on certain body parts, moving like animals at the zoo, skipping, hopping, jumping, running, and listening songs), there is so much we can teach our students and support their growth just by playing a song!

Here are some ideas for threading music and movement into a child’s day:

  • Play a song that has words that instruct the children how to move.  For example, the lyrics might say something like, “Put that beanbag on your shoulder while you dance around the room.”  This gives concrete instructions and focuses on basic movement!
  • Use the music as a cue for students to stop or start certain movement.  For example, if you are doing skipping, when they hear the music stop, they have to walk, and then when they hear the music start, they have to start up again.   This teacher listening skills and you are integrating movement with the music.
  • Use the music to help the students learn self-control by making it your movement cue.  For example, when the music stops, students freeze.  When it starts, they move.  You can easily integrate this into activities like centers by having the students move to the next center when they here the music.  And challenge them to move in different ways to different music.  Skip when you here song a, leap when you hear song, b, and so forth.

Movement and music can be FUNdemental.  Enjoy!

Blogger Bio: Charles Silberman, MS is a physical education teacher who believes in a holistic approach to education that involves the growth of the whole child. He is passionate about movement and physical activity, and enjoys teaching youth of all ages. You can read more of Charles’ work on his website.

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Dr. Kwame M. Brown

November 10th, 2010 at 3:07 pm    

Mr. Silberman, thank you for this wonderful contribution.

On a personal note, I grew up with music constantly around me. Percussion all over the house, dancing to the washing machine, dancing when family came over, the grandkids putting on “shows” for the grandparents. Even at teh basketball court, someone would open the doors to their jeep and blast music while everyone played (and I dribbled the ball off my foot). In my culture, dance is a central part of who we are. I do not think I would be the athlete or human being I am today without that amazing, uniquely human thing called music.

I am grateful for all the movement and music. This doesn’t mean that all of a sudden everyone should force music on children at every moment (we tend to have these types of reactions in America). What this means is that music has an inherent value in producing, developing, and fostering a love for movement.

I especially love seeing teachers from differing cultures share their unique music with children as well.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Bethe Almeras and LaMamaNaturale, Adventure Tykes. Adventure Tykes said: RT @balmeras: RT @HSBS_Play Get Your Groove On! The Importance of Movement & Music | The BODY SMART Blog #play #ECE [...]

Charles Silberman

November 10th, 2010 at 3:34 pm    

You are so welcome!

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