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. 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.’

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.’

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.

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


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