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International Journal of Early Childhood

, Volume 50, Issue 1, pp 85–100 | Cite as

Moving to the Beat: Using Music, Rhythm, and Movement to Enhance Self-Regulation in Early Childhood Classrooms

  • Kate E. Williams
Original Article

Abstract

Differences in early self-regulation skills contribute to disparities in success in early learning and school transition, as well as in childhood well-being. Self-regulation refers to managing emotional, cognitive, and behavioral processes that are conducive to positive adjustment and social relationships. Researchers have identified that various domains of learning and development are enhanced by musical training, and understanding about the neurological processes responsible for such effects is increasing. This paper argues that coordinated rhythmic movement activities in preschool are an effective approach to support the neurological bases of self-regulation. Evidence and theory related to beat synchronization, cognitive benefits of formal music training, and music therapy for clinical populations are discussed to argue that musical activities could be better leveraged in early childhood education. The paper concludes that preschool activities designed to stimulate beat synchronization and motor coordination skills and embedded in group activities can enhance young children’s motor, auditory, and self-regulatory functioning.

Keywords

Self-regulation Music Rhythm Executive function Movement Early childhood 

Résumé

Des différences dans les compétences d’autorégulation en bas âge contribuent aux disparités dans la réussite de l’apprentissage préscolaire, la transition vers l’école, ainsi que le bien-être de l’enfant. L’autorégulation fait référence à la maîtrise des processus émotionnels, cognitifs et comportementaux qui conduisent à un ajustement et des relations sociales positifs. Des chercheurs ont indiqué que divers domaines d’apprentissage et de développement sont renforcés par la formation musicale, et la compréhension des processus neurologiques responsables de tels effets progresse. Cet article affirme que des activités de mouvement rythmique coordonné au préscolaire constituent une approche efficace pour appuyer les bases neurologiques de l’autorégulation. Les résultats et la théorie s’appliquant à la synchronisation rythmique, les bienfaits cognitifs d’une formation musicale formelle et la thérapie musicale appliquée aux populations cliniques sont discutés pour soutenir l’idée que les activités musicales pourraient être mieux exploitées en éducation de la petite enfance. L’article conclut que des activités préscolaires conçues pour stimuler les habiletés de synchronisation rythmique et de coordination motrice, et intégrées dans des activités de groupe, peuvent renforcer le fonctionnement moteur, auditif et de l’autorégulation chez les jeunes enfants.

Resumen

Las diferencias en la habilidad de auto-regulación en la primera infancia contribuyen a la disparidad para alcanzar el éxito en el aprendizaje temprano y en la transición a la escuela, así como en el bienestar infantil. La auto-regulación se refiere al control de los procesos emocionales, cognitivos y de la conducta que favorecen los ajustes positivos y las relaciones sociales. Los investigadores han identificado que varias áreas del aprendizaje y del desarrollo mejoran con la formación musical, y está mejorando la comprensión de los procesos neurológicos responsables por dichos efectos. En este artículo se propone que las actividades de educación pre-escolar que incluyen movimientos rítmicos coordinados son un método efectivo para apoyar las bases neurológicas de la auto-regulación. Se examina la evidencia y la teoría relacionadas a la sincronización rítmica, a los beneficios cognitivos de una educación musical formal, y a la musicoterapia para poblaciones clínicas, y se argumenta que se podría hacer mejor uso de las actividades musicales en la educación de la primera infancia. Se llega a la conclusión de que las actividades pre-escolares diseñadas para estimular la sincronización rítmica y la coordinación motora, incorporadas a las actividades grupales, pueden mejorar las funciones motoras, auditivas y de auto-regulación en niños pequeños.

Notes

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The author declares that she has no conflict of interest.

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Early Childhood and Inclusive Education, Faculty of EducationQueensland University of TechnologyBrisbaneAustralia

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