How singing can support children’s learning
One way or another, children are exposed to and involved with singing from their earliest years. Whether it’s a parent singing them to sleep, or the opening theme song from their favourite TV programme, singing plays an important part in a child’s development.
The educational value of singing
Singing encourages a child to express their emotions and sharpens their ability to communicate while exercising lip and tongue movement. But one of the biggest benefits of singing is the repeated use of the ‘memory muscle’.
Learning a piece of information attached to a tune embeds that information more rapidly in a child’s mind. The majority of children learn the alphabet not by simply saying the letters but singing them.
As children get older the power of singing in their lives can still be extremely beneficial. Matthew Freeman, development manager of ‘Sing up’, a national singing project to help enhance music in children’s education, has found that singing can be a great teaching tool for children. It can be used as a creative and fun way to increase enjoyment and achievement in subject areas where children normally struggle.
“Many children do not think of singing as ‘work’ and willingly participate in sessions,” he says, “Singing can be used as a tool to increase enjoyment and participation in a number of different subjects. A skilled singing tutor can cover subjects as diverse as English, numeracy, science, languages, and culture to name but a few.”
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Singing is, of course, not something that has to be done alone. Learning to work together in a group or choir can give children a sense of collectiveness and can help children make friends.
Tips to get your child singing
- Use singing resources, such as books and CDs with activities, to make children associate singing with fun games
- Look out for singing classes or encourage your child to participate in the school choir and other singing groups in your area
- Try singing a bedtime story and encourage them to join in with you
- Make up songs to help children learn spellings they find difficult to remember
- Encourage children to sing around the house or sing along to the radio in the car on the way to school