By: Dr. Shulamit Ritblatt, Leading Expert in Social-Emotional Development and Early Intervention
Research has shown that it is essential to facilitate the learning process by utilizing a method that engages the “whole brain” and involves “all the senses” while connecting the emotional brain (right) with the cognitive brain (left). The latest neuroscience research shows that the best mode of instruction that connects the right and left brain is music.
5 Benefits of Using Music in Education and Instruction
The Whole Brain Reacts to Music
Listening to music activates not only the auditory areas of the brain, but also employs large-scale neural networks including emotional, motor and creative areas of the brain. Music engages the reward system in the brain and activates the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine which helps regulate movement and emotional responses. It enables us not only to see rewards, but to take action to move toward them. Hence, music can affect a child’s approach to learning by increasing enthusiasm for and engagement in learning new skills.
Music Improves Retention and Memory
Everyone retains and remembers information better when using music. Research results point out that young children who had experienced music-enriched curriculum had higher achievement scores in mathematics, increases in abstract reasoning ability and memory compared to children in the control groups. Music activities (e.g., song texts, rhyming words, rhythmic patterns, steady beat, dramatization of stories through movement and instruments) have a dramatic effect on reading and literacy. The ABC song still helps many adults to remember the order of the alphabet.
Music Encourages Social-Emotional Development
Music experiences and interactions with peers provide children, who have difficulty initiating an interaction with another child, the motivation and context for practice of this skill. Music is useful in teaching emotional regulation, helping with transitions during daily routines, and acquiring new skills.
Music Can Aid in Family Engagement
The National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (NACCRRA; 2008) described music as a universal connector that inspires, soothes, excites, and bonds human beings of all ages and cultures. Beginning in infancy, musicality exists at the core of family interactions and forms the basis for social and emotional communication throughout the life span.
Music Serves as Common Ground
Music can be used as a connector between adult and child and is a great cultural bridge, transcending multicultural boundaries, promoting diversity, and uniting individuals through their love of music and the universal language of music.
Circle of Education Program Designed with Music in Mind
Music is an essential component and foundation of the Circle of Education® program.
Each of the 202 Circle of Education® program original educational songs were written to address a specific area of knowledge, skill, and behavior for children to know and internalize in order to be ready to learn (intentional lyrics). Skills reflected in the songs are evidence-based. Music helps accentuate lesson plans and activities, energize learning, facilitates a multi-sensory learning experiences, enhances imagination, improves memory, and establishes a positive learning atmosphere.
The Circle of Education® program songs can be utilized as part of the lesson/activity or as a stand-alone experience to reinforce social emotional wellness skills in young children. The songs can be played in the background at the start of the day, during center-time, utilized in the lessons/activities, or weaved into situations to reinforce concepts.
Research indicated that the use of the Circle of Education® educational songs and lessons helped improve young children’s social skills, social cooperation, social interaction, and social independence. The songs helped improve children’s approaches to learning and made learning fun for them.
Circle of Education® Research and evidence-based program for ages Birth to 8, focuses on Social Emotional Wellness, Academic Development, Family Engagement, Learning Readiness, Behavioral Health and Early Intervention. The Circle of Education® program was developed by Dr. Shulamit Ritblatt, a leading expert in social-emotional development and early intervention. Dr. Ritblatt is a Professor and past chair (2009 – 2015) of Child and Family Development at San Diego State University and a co-founder of delibrainy LLC.
The Circle of Education® program has been designated as a SELect program by CASEL, designed to be used with children from birth to eight years old.