Shake, Rattle and Roll! The importance of music and movement in early childhood education.


Recognizing, understanding and replicating patterns is one of the most important skills a preschooler can master. Patterns are the framework for most of the academic work a child will do for the rest of their life.

Words are patterns; cat, hat, mat. Sentences are patterns; noun, verb, detail. Paragraphs are patterns; introduction, supporting information, conclusion. Essays are just bigger paragraph patterns. Calculations are patterns; 2+2+2, 2,4,6,8. Equations are patterns; y=mx+b. Graphs are patterns. Measurements are patterns. Science is patterns; seasons, life cycles, botanical and anatomical structures, chemistry and physics. And our understanding of history is completely based on the pattern of years, decades and centuries.

Children learn the magic of patterns using all their senses and learning styles; audio, visual, kinesthetic.

Singing, clapping and dancing to preschool music may seem like an easy way to occupy lively children but it is building an essential skill. The rhythm, rhyme and repetition of children’s songs creates a strong foundation for future academic success.

“Row, row, row your boat” may be tedious to adults but it is constructing the connections that are critical in a child’s brain development to comprehending the complicated world they will one day have to navigate. 2,2,2,- 2,4,6,8,- Row, row, row your boat.

The component of movement reinforces what the child is learning audibly. Whether it is using musical instruments to match and repeat the rhythm or simply clapping to the beat, the child is building cognitive connections. Adding the element of dance develops the skills further, hop, skip, turn, repeat.

So the next time you pass a class of preschoolers bouncing around, loudly banging on drums and shaking maracas to a song you find endlessly annoying, just know vital and invaluable learning is taking place and great minds are growing.