William Janiak, BM, MS, RMT | Blog
Why Music Is Important in Preschool?
Almost all preschool
children love music to varying degrees, some naturally start to dance when they hear it. Others 
enjoy clapping along in a group with sing song games. And many enjoy singing
 to themselves or with others. This love for music is natural, and it’s
 something that’s great for the child.

That’s because music is important to the healthy development of the child. In the preschool years the love of music remains mostly uninhibited by the influences from the outside
 world (like being too embarrassed to sing aloud). This encourages the growth
 of creative impulse in the preschooler. But more than just encouraging creativity 
supporting music for the preschooler also helps to forge important pathways 
to the brain which have been shown to improve math and thinking skills. Additionally musical children tend to be more capable of developing and controlling their 
physical movements. And finally, music is something, which inspires joy, and a
joyful child is a happier, more well developed child.

First and foremost, 
a child who is encouraged to enjoy music during the preschool years is a child
 who is likely to have a well-developed sense of creativity. Music is one of
t he first primal instincts that we have in terms of creative urges and the chance
 to explore those urges in a supportive environment gives the preschooler a
 sense of safety in regards to exploring their own creative self. By telling the 
child (even implicitly) that it’s great for them to make up their own songs and 
tunes and dances, what you’re really telling them is that it’s okay 
to take a chance on being creative; this openness to creative thinking will
 benefit them throughout their lifetimes.

At a more physiological 
level, music can actually help to forge pathways in the brain that are important
 to the preschooler’s development. By improving the links between neural 
pathways, music actually helps the child learn all kinds of different things
 that you might not at first associate with music. Music can improve abilities 
to learn math, language development and other educational areas. Research into 
this is still being done but studies have consistently proven that there is
 some link between an enhanced ability to learn and enjoying music during the
 preschool years.

Of this research that which is most supported is the idea that music in preschool can assist
 children in developing improved spatial-temporal reasoning. This refers to the
 type of reasoning that allows you to look at a two-dimensional picture and manipulate 
it in your mind. It forms the foundation for logical thinking. This is interesting
 because children who listen to music are often thought of purely as creative individuals and often as dreamers, but children who are musical in preschool may actually be 
more logical thinkers, as they get older.

Musical children will 
also be better able to control their bodies as they grow up. They’ll learn 
movement more quickly and potentially are better athletes because of this. The 
reason for this is that music gives us a sense of rhythm. Children who not only 
listen to music but who are also encouraged to play musical games and enjoy
musical instruments will be more likely to make well-rounded use of this skill
 by translating it over into improved body control.

And finally, despite 
all of these great things that are happening to children as they enjoy music
 in preschool, they really do just simply love it. For children, music is fun. And 
that kind of fun translates into a joy that is beneficial to the child overall.
 After all, picture a class of children who are asked to sit at a desk all day and
 then picture a class of children who have music incorporated into every lesson. 
Which group is more likely to be healthy? Sure, these may be extreme examples
 but when applied to the preschooler’s education; you can see the importance 
of including music in the day’s curriculum.
“How the Child Thinks and the Way the Teacher Reacts” – Envy and Jealousy-Part 5
“Envy is the art of counting the other fellow’s blessings instead of your own”-Harold Coffin; “Don’t waste time on jealousy. Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind”-Mary Schmich
Webster’s Dictionary states: It is a feeling of discontent with regard to another’s success, possessions, or objects like her intelligence made her the envy of her classmates.

I see that envy and jealousy are very close in meaning: Envy denotes a longing to possess something awarded to or achieved by another: to feel envy when a friend inherits a fortune. Jealousy, on the other hand, denotes a feeling of resentment that another has gained something that one more rightfully deserves: to feel jealousy when a co-worker receives a promotion. Jealousy also refers to anguish caused by fear of unfaithfulness.

I heard a speaker mention “Cradle Envy:” He said the first object to be envied by the baby is the feeding mother. For the child feels that the mother possesses all that he or she desires and has an unlimited flow of milk and which is kept for his or her own gratification. Because of these feelings, the baby can add a sense of grievance, hate, greed and anxiety with the mother when deprived and can understandably become envy arising.

By age two to three years, the envious response spreads to include envy of other children’s activities or of the recognition they receive from others. Jealousy and envy are really rather normal emotions in the lives of most of us – children included. While parents seem to understand that children may feel jealous at the arrival of a new sibling, there are plenty of other situations that seem to trigger feelings of jealousy and envy in growing children. Our children are growing up in a materialistic, consumer-driven world and although we may think they are too young to notice, they may very well be responding to the differences they see between their own lives and possessions and those children and people around them. Have you noticed children growing extremely jealous in your classroom over another child or when you may have given attention to another child more? At one school, it hadn’t dawned that a four-year-old felt envy when the teacher spent more time with another child because of a disability. All the child was seeing was that she or he was getting more time and attention from the teacher! “The teacher likes her best!” was the wailing complaint. Fortunately, the fact that the child was able to share how she felt gave the teacher a place to begin working on how to recognize and deal with feelings of envy and jealousy. At the same time, even the `Good Mother’ who satisfies a child’s needs becomes an object of envy because of the very ease with which the needs are gratified — for this gift seems so unattainable to the child on its own.

When envy has been successfully `worked through’ and is not overwhelming, the personality can develop relatively well. The gratification experienced with the mother figure stimulates admiration, love and gratitude at the same time as envy. Gratitude helps to overcome and modify envy and brings in the wish to preserve and protect the good object as also to share its gifts with others — what we call generosity.

Next week a little about “Boasting” and “Lying.”
“How the Child Thinks and the Way the Teacher Reacts” – Patience-Part 4
Patience has several skills:
1. The first skill is for you to have the ability to divide a big aim into small ones and to move ahead step by step. You are to aim at the small goals with the same perseverance as with the big ones.

2. The second skill is to have an ability to not give up after the first attempt. Actually, it’s determination that does it. Do not think that you are worse than anybody else if you cannot figure out the problem. If at first you do not succeed, try, try, and try again. You can stop trying only in one case – when you lose interest in your goal…and find a new one.

3. The third skill is to have an ability to do everything from beginning to end. Actually, perfectionism is a part of patience. To see how often you try to make everything perfect it is useful to step back and look at your work from the outside. Do this as impartially as if you evaluated the work of somebody else. Your inner inspector comes to power to accept or reject your progress. One more thing: to play the role of a person whose opinion you value and to check your work one more time.

4. The fourth skill is to wait. Wait without worrying. The highest point of patience is to wait without thinking about it.
“How the Child Thinks and the Way the Teacher Reacts” – Patience-Part 3
Ways to Teach Children Patience and Acceptance:
1. Do not expect children to understand vague responses when they ask you a question.
2. If a child asks you when he or she can do something and you say “in a little while” or “in a minute,” he or she may become confused and may keep asking.
3. Give the children a meaningful and concrete answer to help them understand when something is going to happen. When speaking to a child, it could be something like “you can do that when school is over on Friday” or “we will do that after recess time.”
4. Follow through with what you have told children.
5. If you have told a child that you would play with him or her, make sure you do it. How many times have you promised a child but you never followed through with it? If you do not follow through with your promises, children will have difficult time learning about patience. This can cause children to whine and be very demanding.
6. Give children something to do with their time, while they have to wait.
7. Praise children when he or she has shown patience. Create and try a “Praise Certificate.”

*Patience can be developed over time — it’s a habit, and like any other habits, it just takes some focus.

Remember, patience is not resignation or inability to resist problems. Patience is self-restraint, the will to victory, and the ability to wait and to accept the world as it is. Patience is skill to hope. It has nothing to do with idleness and passivity, and each new life phase broadens the limits of our patience. In reality, miraculous changes do not happen. Having achieved something, you realize that the real happiness is still to come, and you again have to make a goal and to press towards it – persistently and patiently.
“How the Child Thinks and the Way the Teacher Reacts” -Patience-Part 2
“How the Child Thinks and the Way the Teacher Reacts” -Patience-Part 2
Patience from the teacher’s standpoint creates an environment of compassion and respect. When you’re patient with children, it’s just saying, “I respect how you feel children and I respect you. I want you to be happy and independent because I love you and want the best for you. I want to help you find your own happiness, so I’m going to slow down and take time to calmly assist you. Sometimes I do this by doing things for you, such as tying your shoes when you can’t do it. Sometimes I do this by teaching you to help yourself, such as helping you take deep breaths to calm yourself down or standing back and waiting for you to learn things at your own pace, in your own way, without my intervening. Sometimes I do this by giving you my attention and sharing in your joy.”

Children will test you and push you to your limits of patience. They don’t mean to do it. Some of those patience killers are just a part of normal, healthy development. Children just don’t realize how their behaviors impact others. When you are in a rush, they will dawdle. When you want to focus on a project, they will interrupt you. When you simply want a moment of quiet, they will shriek, make annoying sounds, and fight, often for no reason, it seems, other than to disrupt the peace. When you easily see the solution to a problem, they will argue with you throwing tantrums at times because they cannot see the solution at all. *Sometimes, it is the child who lacks patience, and that alone can cause you to lose yours.

There will be days when you want to demand compliance. “You will listen to me.” “Move faster.” “Stop fighting, and leave each other alone.” It is effective for the short term, but it loses its effectiveness over time because it conveys a message to the children that says “I don’t respect you.”

When you remind yourself that at the end of the day, all of the important things will still be accomplished (showing love being the most important thing of all), then you can stop rushing, express dissatisfaction and start enjoying the ride during the ups and downs of life with the children you are teaching.
“How the Child Thinks and the Way the Teacher Reacts” -Patience-Part 1
I learned about 3 components:
1. The Emotional Component which is an arousal state or feeling experienced by the child when a goal is blocked or needs are frustrated or when the child thinks an obstacle will be difficult to remove. We, as teachers, sometimes, progress towards a goal we want to accomplish in the child but still not aware of how to eliminate those blocked obstacles. *Even the youngest children including infants and toddlers seem to sense goal blockages.

When a child’s goal is blocked by other children or by teachers, children often react by feeling angry. Example: a toddler feels angry when the goal of playing with a specific toy is blocked, after the teacher puts the child in a highchair where the toy is out of reach. A preschooler feels angry when their goal of finishing a painting is blocked after another child takes the paint needed to complete the work. This shows that children have a conflict over possessions like someone taking or destroying their property or invading their space. Mostly observed are physical assaults in which one child does something to another child such as a push or a hit. In this case, a child’s goal of playing safely has been blocked. Verbal causes such as a tease or a taunt by something said to a child can cause a problem. Rejection provokes anger when a child is ignored or not allowed to play. Issues of compliance arise when children are asked or forced to do something that they do not want to do like washing their hands.

2. The Expression Component –This second component of expression in children is the unpleasant emotion first expressed in infancy. Children who feel that an important goal has been blocked attempt to copy by expressing anger, infants encounter many events that elicit the feelings which they express with their faces and voices.

Some children vent or express through facial expressions: crying, sulking, or talking back but they do little to try to solve the problem. Other children actively resist by physically or verbally defending their position, self-esteem, or possessions in non-aggressive ways – for example “Stop pushing me!” Some children might engage in name-calling, pinching, or issuing threats. Others express dislike by telling the offender that he or she cannot play or is not liked. Others express through avoidance or attempts to escape from or evade the other child, while others seek looking for comfort from the teacher and telling the teacher what happened. We, as teachers, must respond to these different reactions to help all children express their feelings in a socially constructive not destructive way.

3. Understanding the Emotion –The third component in children “understanding the emotion.” The emotional understanding develops later than the first two components. *This is why children in early childhood setting can feel and express anger but not understand it.

*Children need guidance from teachers and parents first in understanding and then in managing their feelings of anger.
What Does Music Do to Us?
Music has the capacity to
1. console us,
2. heal us,
3. inspire us.
4. invite us to listen, dance, explore, watch, and participate.
5. be one of the most powerful art forms which can alter our mood almost instantaneously. (I remember introducing a song in the early PM to a group and it turned out that I changed their mood as a whole. It was amazing to see.)
6. power changes the ways in which we view and interact with the world around us.
7. have a powerful influence on the body as our heads begin to nod and tap our feet to the beat. Our bodies just want to move and express our emotions physically.
8. dance.
9. not only to move our bodies but lyrics are equally important to enrich the soul.
10. make song lyrics, like great poetry to feel understood, contemplative, become more active, sentimental, about doing something about our excitement and point out towards answers to our mental and emotions.
Can you recall what music has done for you?