Singing with babies and young children supports their development in many areas including physically, socially and emotionally as well as in cognition, communication and language.
Every culture has its rich tradition of lullabies, rocking and tickling songs, lap songs and games that are sung and played with babies and very young children. They help to soothe a fractious baby or entertain or liven up a bored or drowsy child. New mothers can often find it difficult to remember the songs of their own childhood and one of the important purposes of mother and toddler music groups is to remind parents of all those little songs and ditties that they can bring in to everyday child care. Many mothers find that a little song to accompany everyday things that must be done – nappy changing, shoes and coats on, riding in the car – helps to smooth things along. These traditional songs and rhymes of childhood are full of rich language, rhythmical movement for physical development and coordination, social skills such as joining in and taking turns and the structure of little games
Dr Susan Young, a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for International Research in Music Education (CIRME) at Roehampton University, London
Music making incorporating sound, gesture, creative play, movement and song is beneficial both for the child and also for the parent who may not feel so confident about singing to their baby as well as the nursery practitioner who may feel nervous about allowing the play to be child led and to allow the creativity to emerge from the seeming chaos.
There is a great deal to be offered to the young looked after child in care, those recently adopted, or other who may have experienced difficulties in early bonding and attachment. Phoene has a wealth of resources to offer parent, childminder, nanny and nursery practitioner to support them in music making with their children away from any formal music making sessions, helping the adult carer to recognise and respond to childrens self-initiated music play and therefore support and extend their social communication skills.
How to engage
Phoene would be delighted to spend from one hour to half a day with parents, carers or nursery practitioners to share a training session, either one to one or in small groups.
It would also be possible for this to be followed up with some work with the children alongside the adults supporting their music making.
Costs are negotiable depending on the funding available or outcomes required for each individual situation.
Phoene is a qualified music therapist and trained at Roehampton University in 1996. Her music therapy training was based on this early parent/baby interaction where the music making is child led and initiated and she went on to deliver a great deal of early years music making, initially with the cellist Vanessa Lucas-Smith across nurseries in Basingstoke, commissioned by the Learning and Participation department of the the Anvil theatre.
Phoene was later awarded funding from www.soundconnections.co.uk to deliver a project training nursery practitioners in child led music making and creative play using voice, instruments, stories, puppets, pictures and sounds. She was mentored by Vanessa King (http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/vkng and http://lso.co.uk/early-years-music-workshops-2)
This project in the the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames led to Phoene becoming the creative project manager for a sensory garden at the back of a Childrens’ Centre in Hampton Hill.
Artists created a myriad of environments for the children to play in, including willow pods, a singing ringing silver tree, glass shapes of different textures and hues hidden within an oak clad wall, an allotment area, a water feature which chimed, a wooden marimba wall and a sound installation hidden in the walls of a blackboard painted snug where the children could listen to songs and stories created by the local community.