Music in preschool is synonymous with learning, giggles, smiles, movement, and fun! It also has a myriad of developmental and educational benefits.
If you are seeking ways to better integrate music into your preschool classroom, you have come to the right place! We are sharing tips to help you:
- Understand the benefits of music in preschool
- Incorporate music-based learning activities for preschoolers
- Incorporate music into daily routines and transitions
- Provide fun and relevant music and movement activities for your preschoolers
- Provide appropriate musical instruments for your preschoolers to explore
After reading our tips, you can take your knowledge of music in preschool to the next level and earn professional development hours through our sponsor, ChildCare Education Institute® (CCEI), a StraighterLine Company. CCEI offers an incredible variety of online courses for early childhood educators. We recommend their Music in Early Education course, CHD100. This one-hour course is perfect for any busy early childhood educator and preschool teacher. Read on as I share my tried and true musical tips, along with some of the research-based information from this course.
Benefits of Music in Preschool
The benefits of incorporating music in preschool spread across many learning domains. Music promotes healthy cognitive development, social/emotional development, and physical development.
Research has shown that music:
- Improves memory and attention span
- Enhances language development
- Can help form new neural pathways and improve brain function
Music supports social and emotional development by:
- Fostering self-expression
- Encouraging cooperation and teamwork
- Boosting moods and helping with self-regulation
- Creating a calming effect while decreasing anxiety and negative feelings
Music is frequently connected to movement and together they:
- Promote coordination skills
- Enhance gross motor development
- Help develop fine motor skills
- Encourage a healthy lifestyle
Now that we know what the benefits are, let’s put this into everyday practice!
Music-based Learning Activities for Preschoolers
Part of what makes the preschool years special is that there are so many ways to incorporate music throughout your day. Here are some music-based learning activities that your preschoolers are sure to love:
1. Circle Time Songs: Start the day with a welcome or hello song to build relationships and set a positive tone for the day. Choose songs that involve your current theme and introduce fun learning topics.
2. Music Corner: Designate a dedicated space in the classroom as a music corner. Set up various musical instruments, books, and musical technology for children to explore independently or with guidance.
3. Musical Math: Use counting songs to teach foundational number sense skills. Hold up fingers or use finger puppets to teach and reinforce subitizing.
4. Cultural Music Exploration: To help promote cultural awareness, introduce children to different genres of music from around the world. Encourage discussions about the sounds, instruments, and dance styles.
5. Sing-alongs and nursery rhymes: Bring large group time alive with sing-alongs and nursery rhymes to promote language development and phonemic awareness. The rhyming and patterns in many preschool songs are a natural bridge to early literacy skills.
Have the perfect song ready at any time with our ultimate guide to preschool songs.
Incorporating Music into Daily Routines and Transitions
Music can be seamlessly incorporated into daily routines and transitions. Here are some ways to integrate music into daily activities:
1. Self-Care Tasks: Use a specific song each day to help guide children through washing their hands or to get ready to go outside to play.
2. Clean-Up Time: Play a clean-up song to motivate children to tidy up and create an auditory signal that gets everyone on board.
3. Transition Songs: Use song sticks for those small chunks of time when preschoolers are waiting, lining up, or transitioning to new activities.
4. Relaxation and Calming Songs: Incorporate soothing classical music during quiet or relaxation time.
5. End of Day Routine: Use a specific goodbye song to signal the end of the day.
Music and Movement in Preschool
Music and movement go hand in hand. In the Music in Early Childhood CCEI course, Rae Pica explains,
“Movement is one of the best tools for helping children fully experience the elements of music.”
Music and movement activities promote physical coordination, language development, social interaction, and rhythm awareness. Remember that these activities can be implemented indoors and outdoors. Here are some engaging movement games for preschoolers:
- Bean Bags: A favorite in preschool is “Pass the Beanbag,” where the children pass it one by one until the music stops.
- Freeze Dance: Play upbeat music and encourage children to dance freely. When the music stops, they must freeze in their current position.
- Ribbon or Scarf Dancing: Children dance to music, using ribbons or scarves. This activity promotes gross motor skills, coordination, and creativity.
- Action Songs: Teach children action songs that involve specific actions or movements, such as “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes,” “If You’re Happy and You Know It,” and “A Root Chy Cha.”
- Parachute: This all-time favorite classic is a must-do as part of your preschool music and movement time. Use any familiar song to make parachute time active and fun. A few favorite suggestions include: “The Wheels on the Bus,” “Itsy-Bitsy Spider,” “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes,” and any color and counting songs.
Musical Instruments for Preschool Classrooms
Musical instruments allow preschoolers to explore, play, move, and make music! An inviting way to display instruments is in a sensory table. Simply put a variety of small instruments in your bin on top of your favorite filler and let your preschoolers explore music with a sensory twist. Here are some developmentally appropriate instruments that are excellent for preschoolers:
1. Drums: Drums are versatile and easy to play. They allow children to explore different rhythms and beats, promoting motor skills and coordination.
2. Xylophones: Xylophones are great for introducing children to different pitches and melodies. They help develop fine motor skills and an understanding of musical scales.
3. Shakers: Shakers, such as maracas or egg shakers, are perfect for young children. They are easy to hold and produce a gentle sound. Shakers help develop rhythm awareness and coordination.
4. Tambourines: Tambourines provide a vibrant sound. Children can tap or shake them to create rhythmic patterns, enhancing their motor skills and sense of timing.
5. Bells and rhythm sticks: Bells and rhythm sticks are great hand-held instruments that preschoolers can use to move with each beat while listening to a song.
As a preschool teacher, you have the unique and special opportunity to share music with your students in a way that can impact them and create a love for music.
“Remember: you don’t need to be an expert in the field of music, or have an experienced singing voice, to offer children valuable musical experiences. Children are not going to judge you on the quality of your singing, instrument playing, or movement ability. Your willingness to participate is enough.”Rae Pica, Let There Be Music
We are reminded in CCEI’s Music for Early Childhood course that we only need to possess two qualifications to provide a music program to our students: a desire to do so and a willingness to participate.
Isn’t that a relief? Encourage and model active participation while teaching music in preschool, and you and your students will find joy in music together!
More About ChildCare Education Institute, a StraighterLine Company
ChildCare Education Institute® has courses for early childhood educators to gain the knowledge to create preschool lesson plans that are well-rounded and meet your curriculum standards. Their courses are developed by experts and can be accessed any time of day or night on any device during your busy schedule. They make training hours simple to achieve whether you do them at work or from the comfort of your home.
And now, thanks to a partnership with their parent company, StraighterLine, ECE professionals can continue their educational journey and earn college credit with their 5 new ECE online college courses. Learn more here today! To learn more about music in early childhood and to gain professional development hours, enroll in the online course Music in Early Childhood – CHD100.
This course will help you gain a solid understanding of the importance of music in the formative years and offers insight on ways to integrate it into your curriculum as well as how to make it an important part of children’s lives.
ChildCare Education Institute® provides high-quality, research-based online training courses and programs, relevant to those who work in various early childhood settings including:
- Center-based care
- Head Start
- Home child care
- Pre-K classrooms
- After-school programs and more
They have more than 200+ English and Spanish training courses that meet licensing, recognition program, and Head Start Requirements. CCEI also offers online national certification programs for national credentials including the Director’s Certificate, CDA, and mini certifications. CCEI, a Council for Professional Recognition approved training provider, is accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC) and is accredited as an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).
What do other ECE professionals think of ChildCare Education Institute®?
“99 percent of students say they would recommend CCEI to others”
- Nearly 9,351,000 online course hours have been completed.
- Join over 50,000 early childhood professionals who have earned their CDA and other certificate programs.
All your online early childhood professional development training needs are in one trusted online source! Get started on an online early childhood training course today.