Music Matters! How Music Benefits Preschool Learners

We all know of the importance of preschool when it comes to ABC’s and 123’s, but what about the Do Re Mi’s?  Let’s consider how music benefits children, as well as how can you enhance that learning with music activities at home.

Albert Einstein said, “If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music.  I live my daydreams in music.  I see my life in terms of music.”   

Really, is there anything music doesn’t teach?  Music has the ability to reach every part of us, developing our whole selves.  It moves us and gets us moving.  It brings us together and creates meaning.  

Music Benefits for Preschool Learning

Here is a list of some of the ways we use music at UDA Creative Arts Preschool to benefit your child’s learning.

    • Math Skills are developed as children learn patterns, sequencing, beat, rhythm, and dynamics.
    • Memory is enhanced as children learn lyrics and repeated patterns, as well as curriculum.
    • Language develops as children recognize sounds, syllables, vocabulary, story sequencing, and sentence structure.
    • Science Skills are developed as children discover cause and effect with instruments and body movements. UDA Creative Arts Preschool also uses music to teach science curriculum in the exploration of the world around them.
    • Motor Skills are used as children use instruments and create movement.  Children love the opportunity to move their bodies in various ways to the music and to internalize tempo and dynamics.  Also, small motor skills develop as children learn how to clap and shake and tap instruments.
    • Brain Development occurs as children use both their right and left brain hemispheres simultaneously.  They practice using their eyes, ears, and bodies at the same time.
    • Emotional Development occurs as children learn to recognize feelings created by different styles of music.  Like Einstein said, it inspires children to dream and create.
    • Social Skills are developed as children interact with one another and the teacher during songs, and as they learn to take turns with the instruments.
    • Self-Discipline is practiced as children learn to pause before playing, to leave their instruments in their laps, and to share.
    • Listening Skills are developed as children listen to learn lyrics and rhythms and focus on sounds in order to recreate them.
    • Happiness and joy are felt as the children giggle and wiggle, laugh and smile.

 

Music benefits children

Music Activities For Preschoolers You Can Do At Home

While we are implementing this wonderful teaching tool with our music activities at UDA Creative Arts Preschool, we don’t want you to miss out on the fun!  Consider these music activities you can do with your preschooler at home:

1- Expose Your Preschooler to a Variety of Music.  Children songs are so fun, and we all have our favorite radio stations, but add some variety to give your child exposure to different rhythms and timbres.  The Salt Lake County Library System has a collection of music you can download for free with Freegal.

2- Name that Instrument! Play a game when you listen to music and have your child identify the instruments they hear.  Drums and guitar are pretty easy to find on the radio.  Go to a classical station to add more instrument families.  You may even challenge yourself!

3- Make use of Downtime! We all have those moments when an app is just the thing to entertain our rambunctious munchkin while we…fill in the blank.  Why not make it a learning opportunity?  Common Sense Media provides a list of music learning apps for preschoolers, along with ratings and summaries so you can chose what works best for your little learner.

4- Sing! Sing in the shower! Sing in the rain!  You don’t have to be a professional for your child to love your voice.  Sing a phrase and have them come up with a rhyming word for the next line.  Composing your own songs while you flip pancakes, brush hair, or tie shoes will encourage your child’s creativity, develop language skills, and most importantly, convey your love!

Ask your preschooler what songs they are learning at school and some of our budding musicians may give you a concert.  If you can’t wait for our next program for a performance, come visit us at UDA Creative Arts Preschool and see for yourself how music benefits our little learners.  

Written by: Elsje Denison

6 Ways to Help Your Child Love Learning

how to help your child love learning

For a preschooler, the whole world is still new. Sure, they might be recognizing some colors, numbers, and shapes. They can identify animals, walk up and down the stairs, and even carry on (mostly) interesting back-and-forth conversations with you.

But they still know very little! And they’re looking to their parents for the answers — to everything.

Fortunately, preschoolers have a natural excitement about learning. Your job as a parent is to help keep that excitement going strong. Your words and actions matter a lot at this point in your child’s life. What you do and say will have an impact on helping your child love learning — now, and throughout her whole life.

1. Help Them Deal with Failure

Learning involves failure — and lots of it. Your preschooler is going to call an L a P. He’s going to struggle to use a hand shovel the first time he digs a hole in the garden. She won’t know how to hold scissors correctly right away.

Sometimes, these learning processes and mistakes won’t phase your child. But other times, he’ll feel upset that he can’t do what he wants to do yet. Help him understand that failing isn’t bad.

In fact, it’s great!

Making mistakes helps us grow, and trying hard things makes us stronger. So when your child is frustrated she can’t yet ride her big sister’s scooter, don’t criticize her. Instead, comment on the progress you’ve already seen. Tell her you know she’s trying hard, you understand she’s getting frustrated, and her mistakes are helping her get better.

Sometimes, kids respond really well when you tell them about a time you struggled with something similar.

2. Give Toys that Inspire Creativity

how to help your child love learning

Toys that can be used in a variety of ways are ideal to help your child love learning. Blocks, dress-up clothes, art supplies, and stuffed animals can be imagined into completely new worlds each time your child picks them up.  This gives your child confidence and allows her to develop her imagination.

Playing while learning makes learning fun. And when something is fun, children want to continue doing it. That’s why, at UDA Creative Arts Preschool, we offer our students plenty of open-ended toys and activities. We want the children to explore and enjoy play and learning, as this is a huge part of the process of developing the whole child.

3. Model a Love of Learning

What do you love to learn about? Do your children know about it? Do they know you get excited about certain subjects? Show them. Seek out more information about your passions, and share it with your children.

Sure, your preschooler can’t understand the complexities of foreign policy, but you can tell her you read a really interesting article that helped you see a solution to a big problem. Your preschooler probably can’t create a gourmet recipe for dinner, but he can help you cook — and while you cook, you can ask his opinion on ingredients.

When your children see how passionate you are about learning, they’ll continue to feel permission and excitement to love learning as well.

And if your child asks you a question about something in the adult world, don’t tell him he wouldn’t understand. Give him an answer. Your answer will need to be simple, kid-appropriate, and straightforward, but always give an answer. That way, he knows he can always ask questions.

4. Make it Fun

How many classes were you forced to sit through in which the teacher droned on and on? How many classes relied on worksheets to teach concepts that could have been learned through a more fun, hands-on method?

Now, how much do you remember from those classes? Probably not very much. Children (and adults, too!) remember lessons that engage them. Basically, we learn when we’re having fun.

Turn things into games, take your kids exploring, use music in your everyday life, and be enthusiastic when you’re teaching your child something new.

5. Read, Read, Read!

The ability to read will open up your child’s entire world, and put learning literally at his fingertips his whole life through. Make reading a happy experience for your preschooler.

Don’t rush the process of learning how to read. Let her go at her own pace. Surround your child with books, and let her handle them on her own. Read every day, and talk about the books. Ask her what she thinks is going to happen next or how she thinks a character feels.

Go to the library, give books as gifts, and let your child see you reading for pleasure.

6. Process Over Outcome

We all want our children to succeed, and we’d be lying if we say we don’t love when they’re actually ahead of the game when it comes to academic milestones. But being achievement-oriented pushes your child and removes the fun and pleasure of learning.

It also leads your child to believe that the outcome is more important than the process; that getting to the next step is what life is all about. When this is her focus, your child won’t love learning. She’ll tend to be afraid to take risks, and may even struggle when things get hard.

Instead, take interest in your child’s interests. Don’t focus on the outcome of what he’s doing. Be interested and ask questions the whole way through.

At UDA Creative Arts Preschool in Utah, we want your child to feel confident as a learner, and our hands-on discovery approach will help your child love learning. Give us a call at (801) 523-5930 to schedule a tour.

 

6 Ways to Help Your Child Become Independent

help your child become independent

It wasn’t so long ago that you were doing everything for your baby — and you were happy about it.

But now, your child is growing up, and you’re realizing she needs some independence. Not only is it going to be good for her future happiness and growth, you could sure use a break or twelve.

Independence is a process, and it needs to be taught. Ultimately, you want your child to settle happily into adulthood, confident in his ability to pay the bills, hold a job, take care of a family, and be a decent human being.

But for now? It’s baby steps, friends. Read on for the baby steps that will help your child become independent.

1. Set the Stage

If your home is dangerous, too protected, or just generally un-child-friendly, your child won’t have the chance to do things on her own. Creating an environment in which your child can explore will help her become independent and develop confidence.

This doesn’t mean you need to change your living room decor to Paw Patrol kid chairs; it just means you should make your home safe for a wandering child. Put breakable heirlooms out of reach while keeping kid-friendly books within toddler grasp. Create spaces that are designated for your child — a kid-size coloring table in the TV room, a basket of non-breakable toys in the bedroom, or a kid-level drawer of kid-friendly plates and cups in the kitchen.

help your child become independent

2. All Decisions Don’t Have to Be Yours

Not a newsflash: Your child has some serious opinions!

Let him feel ownership of those opinions by allowing him to make as many decisions as possible each day. Again, this doesn’t mean restructuring your life so your child is a tyrant in your home. Rather, it means stepping back when your opinion really isn’t more important than your child’s.

So he wants to wear rain boots to the store in the middle of a dry summer day? Don’t worry what other people think; let him have this one.

She wants to read books outside instead of in the living room? If it isn’t raining, snowing, or too cold, why not?

In addition, offer your child choices throughout the day to avoid later power struggles. Just make sure you can live with either choice. Library or park today? Lunch at the counter or the table? One book or two?

3. It’s Never Too Early for Chores

When kids contribute to the household, they feel a sense of pride — and they develop independence as they learn new skills. Children have different skills at different ages, but they can always be taught to help in some way. A 2-year-old can put child-safe cups on the table for dinner. A 5-year-old can sweep the kitchen. A 9-year-old can clean a bathroom.

But be patient. Your 2-year-old has a short attention span, and may wander off to give the cup to the dog instead of setting it on the table. That’s okay. Just try again later.

Also, take the time to model the skill correctly. It may take a while for the job to get done to your standards, but as you teach and praise, your child will develop more and more independence.

This age-appropriate chore list will give you some good ideas for what you can expect. Remember that each child develops at a different rate, so don’t be too concerned if your child can’t do everything on the list. Just use it as a guide.

4. If They Can Do It Themselves, Let Them

There’s no doubt about it. You’re better at almost every task your child is capable of doing. And there’s no question that it’s easier to just do those tasks yourself. You’ll be ready for the day 10 times faster if you dress your 5-year-old, tie your 8-year-old’s shoes, and pack your 11-year-old’s lunch.

But when you do for your child what he can do for himself, you’re actually sending the message that you don’t trust his abilities. Believe in your child, teach your child age-appropriate skills, and then step back to let him shine.

But do remember to be flexible. It doesn’t hurt to lend a helping hand from time to time. Children also need to know that they can be part of a support network.

5. Make It Fun

What do you do when you know your child can do what’s expected, but refuses to do so? Be compassionate. She may be doubting her abilities, feeling like she wants attention, or just having a bad day.

When this happens, help your child become independent by changing things up with some fun.

  • Give a  fun challenge: “I bet you can’t brush your teeth while standing on one foot!”
  • Try a compromise that involves you: “I’ll zip up your hoodie for you if you put your arms through.”
  • Change the mood: Try a little tickle war, a game of “Where’s Mommy?”, or use silly voices to lighten the mood.

6. Failure Isn’t the End

Sometimes you just have to let your child taste a little failure. It isn’t pretty for anyone, but it helps your child (and you) understand that responsibility lies with each individual.

It’s okay to not rush forgotten homework to your elementary-aged child. It’s okay to let your toddler struggle for a minute to take off her shoes. It’s okay to let your teenager explain to his teacher why he didn’t complete an assignment.

It’s hard to let your children struggle, but remind yourself that you learn your biggest lessons when facing a trial. Let your children fail from time to time, and be their comforting, non-judgmental sounding board when they need to work out their own solutions.

They’ll come out the other end much stronger.

And so will you.

How Can Preschool Help Your Child Become Independent?

teach your child indpendence

Hands-on discovery-based learning is critical to developing independence in a child. At UDA Creative Arts Preschool, we work on developing the whole child by giving children learning opportunities that incorporate all of their senses in their quest for knowledge. Our daily routine helps children know what is expected of them, and assists in learning independence and responsibility.

Give us a call at (801) 523-5930 to request a free tour.

The Importance of High-Quality Preschool

high-quality preschool

Higher income. Better self-esteem. Reduced teen pregnancies. Lower incarceration rates…

What is one way to achieve these positive results in the teenage years and adulthood?

Through quality early education.

It’s hard to imagine, but the quality of education your preschooler receives will end up having an impact on some of the biggest aspects of adult life later on, according to James Heckman, one of the nation’s top economists who studies human development.

“The gap is there before kids walk into kindergarten,” Heckman says. “School neither increases nor reduces it.”

But how can this be? We spend so much time worrying about our children’s test scores in middle school and high school. It’s almost as if we’re programmed to worry about our teenagers’ chances to get into college.

But studies are telling us we should be focusing our concern even younger — to preschool.

What your child does during his early years matters.

Early Brain Development

high-quality preschool

According to the National Research Council and Institute of Medicine, the first few years of life actually set the stage for lifelong development. In fact, by age 5, your child will already have developed a staggering 85 percent of her intellect, personality, and skills. Because young kiddos’ brains still have plasticity, they easily adapt to the things they’re exposed to. That’s why structured, enriching environments are crucial to brain development.

And that’s why a high-quality preschool is a critical component of shaping that 85 percent. High-quality preschool will actually help your child be successful throughout the remainder of his educational career.

Giving your child more exposure to language, caring interaction with adults, positive learning experience, and more will even help her brain develop more extensive and sophisticated neuron structures. These structures actually have an effect on later behavior and intelligence.

“Children who attend high-quality preschool enter kindergarten with better pre-reading skills, richer vocabularies, and stronger basic math skills than those who do not,” W. Steven Barnett, PhD., NIEER director.

But these results can’t be achieved with just any ol’ daycare or preschool. It’s important that you find a high-quality preschool for your child to attend.

So What Does a High-Quality Preschool Education Look Like?

 

high-quality preschool

Sitting children down with flashcards and worksheets is the best way to get them to learn, right?

WRONG.

On the contrary, when children are given the opportunity for hands-on exploration, they get to test their knowledge in a safe and relaxed environment. Relating this new knowledge to what they already know then becomes easy.

Child-initiated activities, plenty of materials to explore, and free choice is what creates successful preschool students.

“Young children can certainly learn letters and numbers, but to sit kids down and ‘teach’ them is the wrong way to do it,” says Linda Smith, executive director of the National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies.  “They learn best through doing the kinds of activities they find interesting — storytime, talking to their teachers about stars, playing with blocks.”

A high-quality preschool needs to have:

  • Specific areas for different kinds of play
  • Credentialed teachers
  • Engaging activities that help children learn
  • Teachers who engage positively with the children
  • A well-structured and well-managed program
  • Opportunities to learn with hands-on activities
  • Unique ways to learn
  • Positive relationships
  • Routines and consistency
  • Patient teachers who allow children to repeat their activities
  • Teachers who get down on the children’s level
  • Teachers who are respectful
  • Open-ended play
  • A balanced teacher-student ratio
  • A safe environment

Tip: Take this thorough, handy checklist with you when checking out preschools.

All parents want their children to live happy, successful lives. It’s reassuring to know that you can make a positive impact during those early, developing years with the right preschool.

UDA Creative Arts Preschool in Utah builds confidence, learning, and creativity in preschoolers through our unique approach that combines nurturing with a comprehensive curriculum. We help your child build academic, social, emotional, and physical confidence. Give us a call at (801) 523-5930, or contact us online for a tour of the preschool.