Lower Elementary Music Education
A Brain-Based Advantage
In our elementary classrooms, music and movement are embedded into the daily routine. Music and movement are essential to child development and activate a child's frontal lobes, which is important in language development. In addition, music and movement produce a neuro-chemical called endorphins. Endorphins are feel-good chemicals that cause a feeling of energy and make the brain more conducive to learning.
Crossing the Midline
Another important aspect of music and movement in our youngest learners is crossing the midline. The 'midline' is an invisible line from the top of your head to the tip of your toes. Cross lateral movement is necessary for the brain to be ready to learn. Cross lateral or crossing the midline is easily done while dancing, moving, tapping patterns, etc. Cross lateral movement enables the brain to cross the mid-line - going from the right side of your body across the center to the other side. This simple activity is necessary for reading and writing. When reading and writing, the eyes and hand must go from one side of the paper to the other.
Other effects of music and movement:
- great for the cardio-vascular system
- supports the balance system.
- Did you know a child who isn't able to stand on one foot probably isn't able to read and write? Movement, coordination, and balancing activities are all ways to strengthen the vestibular system in our brain.
The Sound of Music
Ferndale prides itself on supporting the whole child. Our focus on and understanding of the importance music and movement play in the role of a child's brain is visible in our daily practices. In our elementary buildings, students do attend a vocal music class twice a week. In addition, our teachers build in 'brain breaks' for students each day so they can have some organized, systematic movement to activate their brains.