What role do stories and music play in early childhood development?
Stories, music and art should be an integral part of any child’s day. Children love to listen to music and look at books. If you are looking for specific theoretical words to describe the development that stories and music enable, it’s about vocabulary acquisition, comprehension, closure, creativity, thinking skills, listening and engaging – the list is endless. But to a child, stories and music create a sense of wonder that exists beyond words, awakening feelings and self-discovery.
Stories are for language, for encouraging thinking, and for helping a child relate to everything around, right from emotions to discipline. Music encourages rhythm; it can calm the crying child, energise the quiet ones and soothe the over energetic. I love watching my environment come alive when we bring out a story or start an action song. When you see a child dancing to music, it is helping him in motor skill development and coordination. When you see a child singing or humming a tune, it is the expression of thought. It is the mind at work, learning and interpreting the words he has heard, and developing a sequential memory. In the long term, music in early childhood contributes to the development of logic and higher order thinking.
All this wonderful skill development aside, music and stories are our escape from all things monotonous, which is what most of our approach to early childhood is these days.
Is there a specific age of introducing a child to music and arts?
Art is everything in early childhood. It is an introduction to colour and expression, to perceiving patterns and developing creativity. Every activity from blocks to paint, play dough, glue and sand is all art! No, there is never a specific age to introduce your child (or your inner child as an adult) to art.
Art is when your child acts on the urge to spread water or flour all over the floor and you join in the fun. Art is when you spend all your time at a concert outside sitting in the dirt and drawing lines with sticks, lining up stones and pebbles. As your child grows older, art is when you point out the little swirls or patterns that form when you mix colour into cake batter. As you grow with your child, art can evolve to include any activity that involves paint, crayons, objects you can dip into paint, leaves, paper, glue or really, anything at all! Art and Music in early childhood have no prescription. I think one needs to be a brave parent because art in early childhood is almost always messy!
About Shilpa Naik
Shilpa Naik Machado began her career in the hotel industry , a completely unrelated field. She comes from a family of teachers ;so teaching and working with children was more a way of life . It was not a conscious choice at the age when careers are usually chosen. She moved into working with children full time when her own children were born. She has over 15 years of experience working with children of all ages. Shilpa’s focus is on working with Early childhood development and Early intervention .
Shilpa has a Masters in Human Resources , An AMI diploma in Montessori for 3 -6yrs olds , A bachelors in education, a degree in special Needs and Inclusive education and multiple certifications in Early Childhood Education and Counselling. She also works with Curriculum development and assessments. She heads all the action at Curious Caterpillars Montessori House. Her dream is for early childhood centers to become involved communities providing early childhood experiences as well as support systems for parents ,not just organisations.