Category Archives: Boogie Mites Guest Blog

Nurturing Your Staff: The Many Benefits of Music and Movement Training for Your Team

                            Improve knowledge, confidence and wellbeing while your team bonds through music

In our last NMT mini blog, we considered music for parent engagement, identifying how music and movement sessions can benefits early development in relation to the 7 areas of the EYFS.

Team training may feel unobtainable and less of a priority, but it’s more important for your staff now than ever. At Boogie Mites, we have been leading music and movement training for EY practitioners for over 15 years and the benefits stretch further than CPD.

Music and movement training won’t just improve your settings music provision, planning will become easier, you’ll watch your team’s confidence thrive and you’ll see a boost in their wellbeing. And as an added bonus, the training session will provide a team bonding opportunity that lifts morale – something we’ve witnessed through every one of our training sessions.

The benefits of upskilling your team in creative music practise

  • Knowledge

 Music covers all 7 Areasmaking your planning easy. Our music training will introduce you to songs and linked activities that you can include throughout the whole day, linking to story time and arts and crafts activities. The whole EYs team will better understand how music support the EYFS and Letters and Sounds (L&S) Phase 1, and they will bring back ideas for introducing them to their everyday practice.

‘So interesting – really excited about using music to cover all areas of the EYFS’.
Kirsty Grenander, Acorns Pre-school

‘Very enjoyable course and looking forward to implementing into my setting. I have been struggling with ideas on how to stimulate my pre-schoolers into Letters and Sounds and Boogie Mites music seems a perfect solution’. 
Practitioner, Epsom Day Nursery.

‘The Boogie Mites Letters and Sounds programme is such a fun and exciting way of developing speech and language skills and really helps children learn to listen and respond.  Boogie Mites songs provide a valuable opportunity for self-expression and creativity in the Foundation Stage setting’.
Alison Prismal, Foundation Stage Advisory Teacher, Portsmouth.

  • Confidence

 Staff will be given the confidence they need to use music to support EYFS and L&S development and to make learning fun through music. They don’t need prior music training or a sack full of expensive instruments. We believe everyone can sing and home-made props can provide the necessary percussion instruments for working with the beat and the rhythm of music. These home-made materials, when used correctly, can easily harness the brain boosting power of music at this stage.

‘Excellent way of giving confidence to practitioners to take back with them to the setting. The ideas are invaluable! Thank you’.
Becky Staughton, Little Jays Pre-school, Horsham.

‘Absolutely fantastic! I have really enjoyed the training and it has made me feel more confident using music’. Jo Lovegrove, Children’s Centre Outreach Worker, Merton, London.

‘As a primary teacher and early years specialist as well as the setting’s SENCO, I recognise high quality resources when I see them and can’t thank you enough for the great learning and fun we have using your materials, particularly as I am not gifted musically one iota’. 
Faye Flude, Bolnore Village Pre-School, Haywards Heath.

 

  • Wellbeing – physical and mental

It goes without saying, but we’ll say it: music makes us happy, and right now, we could all use a little boost.

Innes co-authored a 2016 study that found music-listening could boost mood and well-being and improve stress-related measures in older adults suffering from cognitive decline. Time.com

Our sessions introduce movement and props to music time, so everyone will be up on their feet, shaking and banging! It’s not just the emotional wellbeing of those taking part that will be affected. They will be raising their heartbeat whilst feeling the musical beat.

‘Excellent. Very interactive, physical, great resource, super ‘feel good factor’ for everyone taking part. It will have an impact on all areas of learning but especially PSED and CLD. An innovative approach to music in Early Years’.
Martine Horvath, East Sussex Early Years Advisor.

‘Staff have been inspired by being able to teach our children new songs, actions and movement. They feel good that they are promoting children’s learning and development through play and having fun. It encourages us to ‘feel like a child again, be able to act silly and care-free in a professional way’.
Tooting Looking Glass Bright Horizons Nursery.

  • Bonding

And finally, music is an all-inclusive activity. We love to see practitioners laughing and having fun with music together. For our twilight training sessions, we see them arrive exhausted from a day in the nursery and leave elated and energised.

‘We had a fantastic training with Tamsyn and Sharon, everyone really enjoyed it’. 
Emma Watson, Sapphire Nursery Surrey.

‘The team-building session run by Boogie Mites was great.  It was fun, energetic and an excellent way to start the year.  I cannot recommend it highly enough.  Tamsyn – our session leader – was a highly-skilled practitioner who sang like an angel but was relentless in finding great ways involve ALL the team.’
Terry Sullivan, Hackney Early Years Manager.

You can find out more about the 5 different forms of training on offer or make an enquiry for your team with Boogie Mites. There are even opportunities for online training while social distancing prohibits onsite training. https://bit.ly/BMOnlineTrainingforPractitioners

To discuss options and create a bespoke training solution for your team, simply contact Sue Newman, Boogie Mites Director: sue@boogiemites.co.uk.

 

 

Boogie Mites Blog: Music for Parent Engagement

In last week’s blog we considered how regular music practise in the setting over this Summer can boost school ready language and literacy skills. Incorporating this music practise can help children in disadvantaged situations ‘catch up’ on missed pre-school time, contributing to closing the attainment gap.

This week we’ll give you information and motivation to encourage parents to include music activities at home for all children in early years, supporting development in all areas of learning.

 We have always known how important it is to encourage parent engagement in early learning at home and that parents are children’s primary teachers. In the wake of COVID 19, parents have had to play a more vital role than ever – and it’s been up to teachers and EY staff to prepare them with resources and support.

 CUE THE MUSIC

Learning through play is the most effective method for EYs children and using music makes this engaging, inspiring and fun for everyone involved.

MUSIC SUPPORTING THE EYFS:

 MUSIC SUPPORTS PERSONAL, SOCIAL, EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT

 Music at home supports the development of family bonding and mood. It provides a great tool for encouraging self-expression and it’s an inclusive, uplifting activity that can be accessed by all children. At whatever stage of development, it builds self-esteem and self-regulation – an area that the upcoming revised EYFS focuses on!

 MUSIC SUPPORTS COMMUNICATION AND LANGUAGE

Music helps children to tune in – it activates all areas of the brain. Once we have their attention, music can develop aural processing and the neural responses that are the basis for communication and understanding. Songs can introduce new concepts and words – and they stick!

MUSIC SUPPORTS PHYSICAL DEVELOPMENT (and WELLBEING)

Music makes us move! These activities have a direct impact on physical development – exploring the movement of our bodies and even using fine motor skills by handling instruments.

But children’s motor skills, their balance, and their coordination is just the beginning. The songs can also teach children how to stay physically healthy in a fun and memorable way. Songs about nutrition, brushing teeth, the health of the planet, self-care and exploring the outdoors can be found in the Boogie Mites repertoire. Music doesn’t just lift our mood (releasing endorphins and dopamine), songs can cover healthy living topics and help us understand them.

 

MUSIC SUPPORTS LITERACY

 

Research shows that children with the strongest phonological awareness when starting school are the strongest readers and writers by age 7. The EYs National Strategy for Literacy (L&S Phase 1) recognises the important part that music plays in strengthening phonological awareness – through musical sequencing of sounds and actions, developing sense of rhythm and rhyme, developing sense of syllabic and phoneme awareness.

 

MUSIC SUPPORTS MATHS

Music – like maths – is built on sequences and patterns. Children will develop mathematical thinking as they take part and respond to these sequences and patterns (counting, keeping the beat, moving and playing with different rhythms). In action songs, we use positional language, such as ‘high’, ‘low’, ‘more than’, ‘less than’ which contributes to understanding and communication of mathematical thinking.

 

MUSIC SUPPORTS KNOWLEDGE & UNDERSTANDING OF THE WORLD

Songs can provide an engaging vehicle for introducing exploration of all forms of life, from the bugs and worms in the garden to a frog’s life and a fish’s journey through the sea, about countries in the world (using traditional music) or how you might get there and the animals that you might find.

 

MUSIC SUPPORTS CREATIVITY

 

Children are inherently curious and imaginative – they are constantly exploring the world in which they live. Music will encourage role-play, creating their own actions, dancing, or even inserting their own lyrics into a song; however, they respond to music, they are stretching and moulding their confidence and creativity.

 

SUPPORTING YOUR PARENTS

 

Inform your parents of the many benefits of regular, active, interactive music activities at home. You might write a blog for them like this one.

A music workshop for parents at your setting provides a great opportunity to encourage them to take part in musical activities with their children and to share the benefits for development across the EYFS as noted above.  

Boogie Mites run parent education music workshops at schools and nurseries via local authority contracts throughout the year, sharing resources and encouraging home practice for parents, empowering them to support their children’s early development through music. These are on hold at the moment due to social distancing but it will be possible to start again very soon, get in touch with sue@boogiemites.co.uk to discuss Boogie Mites music programmes and parent involvement support.

 

The Online Music Club Supports Parents at Home

 Throughout lockdown, we developed virtual music workshops to support home learning and parents can now join our tried and tested Online Music Club.

 Parents can trial the first month for free. They will get daily music workshops and supporting resources. All our instruments are made from items found around the home so they can get started straight away!

Find out more: Boogie Mites At Home Online Music Club . Please share this with your parents to encourage home learning through music.

Boogie Mites blog: Supporting children with ‘Catch Up’ following lockdown

Our mini blog last week considered music for supporting wellbeing, given the priority that wellbeing must be given at this current post lock-down time. This week we consider how music can also support children to ‘catch up’ with literacy skills post lockdown.

Some pre-school children will have been well supported with home learning during lock-down but others will have missed out. For children starting school in September this can be a set back that might be difficult for them to overcome at such a vital stage and will widen the school ready attainment gap that already exists for children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

 The school ready literacy attainment gap

Research shows many children in poverty are less school ready than their peers, creating an ‘attainment gap’.  The biggest gap is in literacy skills.  ICAN communication charity research found that 1 in 4 children start school without the communication. language and literacy skills they need at this stage. Without these crucial foundations, they never catch up.

How can music help?

There is a wealth of evidence from neuroscience research revealing the power of early years music in  strengthening children’s cognitive development generally, and specifically for developing strong foundations for literacy.

A ‘whole-brain’ workout 

Studies show us that early years music-making activities draw on various areas of the brain simultaneously, facilitating many different aspects of development and providing one of the most effective influences on brain development at this key stage. Music is a multisensory experience that involves three ways of learning: auditory, visual and kinaesthetic. Similarly, the brain is a multisensory organ, and this could partially explain the remarkable benefits: music activates all three cortices (motor, visual and auditory) of the brain.

You can find links to further reading about neuroscience and research studies that provide evidence of the boost that regular music practise can give children in early years including the potential for reversing the cognitive issues relating to disadvantage.

Early years music training and resources for practitioners to boost school ready literacy

With this evidence, it is surely time to include early years music intervention programmes as part of any strategy that aims to narrow the school ready literacy gap, helping children to ‘catch up’.  And now is a great time to act with the effect of lockdown nursery school closures likely to widen the attainment gap this year.

The great news is that you don’t need to be a musician to lead effective music-making activities that boost auditory processing skills in early years; you just need the training and resources – and the confidence will come with practice.

You can try out a song that plays with words and helps children hear the syllable chunks that make up the words., the rhythm of the word. Sign up to download Boogie Mites Let’s Tap a Word song.

Boogie Mites School Ready Literacy Music Programme supports the 7 Aspects of Letters and Sounds Phase 1, developing strong foundations for phonics through fine tuning auditory processing skills. You can find out more about the programme here: https://boogiemites.co.uk/shop/school-ready-practitioner-pack-physical/.

Achievement For All – Core Strengths

Boogie Mites support Achievement For All (AFA) and their mission to make social mobility a real possibility. AFA Core Strengths Programme provides a framework and resources for practitioners and parents to support disadvantaged children develop the confidence, ability and desire to learn throughout school. This programme will particularly helpful post lockdown for children who have had months without rich and varied learning opportunities. https://afaeducation.org/news/core-strength/

AFA see parent involvement as key to closing the school ready attainment gap. Our mini blog next week will be about involving parents in regular active music making with their children.

 

How can you use music to support wellbeing in your early years setting?

Louise Bull, Boogie Mites (BM), discusses Music for Wellbeing in early years with NMT.

Cache.org states that ‘Children’s wellbeing is without doubt at the core of the Early Years Foundations Stage (EYFS)‘, and this has been brought further into the limelight with the challenges of COVID-19. With so much change and uncertainty, it’s difficult to settle a child who is worrying, but we’re here to suggest some simple activities which can help.

‘…Music really is brain food that can nurture children’s development and wellbeing in a way that nothing else can.’ Matt Griffiths, CEO of Youth Music claims. ‘We know that the earlier young children get to make music the better for their personal, social and musical development.’ Soundabout.org.uk

We all know of that uplifting sensation when our favourite song comes on. But how does music support wellbeing long-term in developing brains?

The Science

In 2009, Professor Graham Welch, University of London, studied the music skills of over 1200 children in the UK and asked them personal questions about their experiences of school life. The study found the better the child’s music skills, the more likely they were to have strong friendships and higher levels of wellbeing.

Why is music linked to better social and emotional skills? Because of better self-esteem. Because of becoming a strong communicator and being physically strong.

But also, music increases emotional intelligence in its own right.

Music activates most of our emotional brain structures (the limbic brain and the amygdala), the management of which scientist Daniel Goleman deems essential for happiness and success.

In 2012, it was discovered that when people make music together, the activity of their brain waves synchronise (Sanger, Mullerand Lindenburger). This may help to explain why music making is such a powerful tool to promote group wellbeing.

The PANCo Pioneers

‘We believe that health and wellbeing should be at the heart of every early years organisation and that practitioners should have access to on-demand evidence-based, innovative wellbeing training and resources.’ purplebeelearning.com


The Boogie Mites Healthy Living Programme

 BM Healthy Living Programme has been introduced to many EYs settings to help meet some of these wellbeing goals. The programme explores the themes such as: a healthy diet, exercise, recycling, gardening, appreciating nature and more.

Right now, more than ever, children’s education about public health and a healthy planet is so important. And the uplifting characteristic of music isn’t just a lucky bonus!

 

 

What do Practitioners Say?

When the children have had a busy period doing creative activities or playing outside, I tend to calm them all down by introducing the song Happy Cat. This is a lovely relaxing song where the children can be cats, lions, frogs and butterflies. I even find it relaxing too!’ Claire Hickley, Yellow Dot Nursery Otterbourne

Surprisingly, it seems to be particularly popular with those children in our setting who are otherwise quite reserved. They all come alive when they hear the Boogie Mites music and have a new found confidence in themselves and their abilities.’ Emma Berry, Manager Scamps Pre-School East Worthing Community Centre

You can centre a whole day of activities on just one song from the programme. Explore healthy eating, exercise, self-care, nature, growing your own food, recycling…
The Healthy Living Programme

 

Music Training for Your Team

Your setting could also take part in training for the Healthy Living (or any other) Practitioner Programme. BM have a social distancing solution: Bespoke Online Training for your whole team.

You will be set up on a Facebook Group and a trained BM teacher will be able to communicate with you directly – answering questions and supporting you between sessions.

https://bit.ly/BMOnlineTrainingforPractitioners

The science supports it, evidence support it, use music to support our under-fives during this turbulent time.