As a Child Development Teacher at Gymboree Play and Music, Hackney and Islington, I have seen first-hand how Play and Music have helped so many children with their development, and the feedback we get warms our hearts:
“My baby boy’s been enjoying a lot, socialising with other babies and play. It provides very good stimulation for babies; music, colours and play tools. The teachers are very welcoming, cheerful and kind. I’ve introduced this class to three of my friends and they love it. I also have learned many nursery songs and how to play with my boy.”
While separately Play and Music work on completely different aspects of development, when they are combined, the effect is extraordinary and the development you can see in your little ones is second to none. Between the ages of 0 to 5, academia is obviously not a priority in their development, so the combination of play and music is vital in this brief yet vital stage of their development.
Firstly, let’s look at music. Music ignites all areas of child development while promoting skills for school readiness, including intellectual, social-emotional, motor and language skills, and overall literacy. Music brings the mind and body to work together. Introducing sound to your little one at a young age helps them to learn the sounds and meanings of words, and with the overall development of their language. Dancing and moving to music, meanwhile, helps them to build their motor skills and encourages them to practise self-expression. For children and adults alike, music helps to strengthen memory skills. And of course, in addition to the developmental benefits, music brings joy.
Now, let’s turn to play. Play allows children to use their creativity while developing their imagination, agility, and physical, cognitive, and emotional strength. Play is much more than just ‘playing’! In their early years of development, introducing children to an object or toy or theme helps to develop their mobility, gestures, sounds, words and social skills. This might seem like a lot for something as simple as play. But play is how children at a very young age engage and interact with the world around them, which in turn helps them to become confident with what they encounter as they grow. Making sure play is fun is the best way to engage young children: do this and they are 100% more likely to completely absorb themselves in what they are doing, whether they are 6 months old or 4 years old.
Play and Music are something we are all constantly exposed to and having the knowledge of this and how it can help from a very young age helps aid your child’s development for the rest of their lives. And what’s more, they can also help you as an adult to really learn alongside and connect with your little one. So don’t write them off as just what comes before school – treat them with the reverence they deserve and make sure you’re all getting plenty of both – your child’s future development, health and happiness depend on it.
This is a guest post from Ella Mien of Hackney and Islington Gymboree.