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How can you harness the power of music to support communication in the early years? A guest blog from Boogie Mites

Research shows that more than 50% of children, in some areas, start school without the required level of communication skills to be able to access the curriculum at this stage. It is our job as parents and as early years practitioners to improve children’s ability to communicate so that they can thrive at school.

Many studies have demonstrated the importance of the home learning environment in supporting children to develop good communication skills. In fact Ofsted’s new framework places a heavy emphasis on parental involvement, clearly regarding it as a significant factor in pupil achievement. Therefore it is important that early years practitioners and teachers work together with parents, to give each child as much support as possible.

 There is a wealth of research that links music making and communication skills. Many studies show that listening to music and singing use the same auditory and cognitive skills that support language development and phonemic awareness. In addition other studies demonstrate a link with active music making and brain development.

 But research also shows that practitioners and parents often lack the confidence and resources required to initiate active music at home and in the setting.  In addition to this, researching and planning new and exciting music activities takes considerable time that few of us have in our busy lives.

Boogie Mites works with early years parents, practitioners and children, using music to support pre-literacy skills, and to promote physical and emotional development. The formula works by bringing together all the necessary factors – early years parents, children, music and the knowledge of how these can all work together.

 Boogie Mites have spent the last 10 years creating, testing and evaluating a huge rage of active music making resources and have even had a research study by Chichester University into the impact of Boogie Mites Music programme.

It can be incredibly difficult to reach out to parents in a way that is both engaging and effective – sharing music can be so rewarding but there is often a lack of confidence that gets in the way. Shared music activities when taught effectively can dramatically increase parent engagement and as a result children’s’ communication skills.

Chichester University’s study reports that all parents felt more confident when singing and with their general music practice after taking part in Boogie Mites. In respect of communication and language, parents described positive changes in their children with increases in communication and confidence. You can find out more by watching a three minute video from Nicky Fairchild, Early Years Status Programme Coordinator, at Chichester University here.

Boogie Mites has worked with I CAN for the past 5 years, contributing to Chatterbox Challenge by providing online and offline resources. This year we are offering free songs, videos and activity sheets that are available on our website

Partnering with I CAN, Boogie Mites are also offering a parent workshop pack and parent CD packs, available from the I CAN shop

For more information on how Boogie Mites can support early years settings and freelance early years practitioners, visit www.boogiemites.co.uk

Sue Newman

Boogie Mites

sue@boogiemites.co.uk