STEAM is an acronym that stands for science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics. It is not as common of an acronym as STEM, but adding the arts into this grouping of subjects has been proven to help children learn all of the other subjects. In STEAM, the arts are at the center of a robust learning experience.

For Head Start children, STEAM comes under the banner of inquiry instruction. Through inquiry instruction, teachers promote hands-on experiences that support childrenā€™s development in the areas of understanding, vocabulary, critical thinking, problem solving, communication, and reflection.Ā 

Why are the Arts an Important Part of STEAM?

The arts provide children with a unique and engaging way to explore all of the other subjects in this grouping. Additionally, the arts give children opportunities for creative expression, and thus to work on their emotional development as well as the development of hard skills.

Music and movement in particular is a great tool for developing childrenā€™s cognitive skills, awareness of patterns, language skills, and communication. Music is a gateway for children who might otherwise be intimidated by or not interested in exploring the other subjects. It can also make teaching these subjects more palatable for teachers. This powerful teaching tool makes both learning and teaching fun and intuitive.

How Can Music Activities Help Children Learn About STEAM?

Children love to play and pretend in the context of music and movement activities. Movement songs can be about literally any subject we want children to learn; a song about the natural world can encourage children to move their bodies like various animals. Songs about weather patterns can encourage children to move like storm clouds, rain, and steam. Children can explore engineering and technology concepts as they pretend to build with construction equipment and building plans. Music naturally incorporates pre-math skills through rhythm exercises, or by jumping numbers and counting steps across the classroom.

What are the Benefits of Interactive Music & Movement?

Early childhood classrooms are places of constant learning, and healthy development means: a teacher needs to provide consistent exposure to and instruction in all five domains and the myriad of sub-domains. Moving and interacting with engaging music makes it possible to achieve many of these goals at once! Children will be naturally and playfully developing in the areas of Social and Emotional Development, Language and Literacy, Perceptual, Motor and Physical Development, Cognitive Development, and they will be approaching this learning through creative thinking and expression, and learning how to communicate through dramatic play. The right curriculum can cover all of these domains in 15 minutes!

It has been shown that children who are involved in early music get a boost in important developmental areas including:Ā 

  • understanding of language
  • responsiveness to languageĀ 
  • phonological awareness
  • comprehension of English (receptive English)
  • knowledge of the natural world
  • perceptual-motor skills and movement concepts
  • gross locomotor movement skills
  • fine motor skills
  • active physical play
  • music, dance, and dramaĀ 

Are you ready to bring the A back into STEAM?

Join me for NHSAā€™s Music and Movement Essentials course at The Academy to learn how to select and integrate music and movement activities into your daily classroom curriculum.Ā 

Nick Young

Nick Young has been sharing the joy and enrichment of interactive music and movement with children for over 30 years. Nick began his career as a preschool teacher. After witnessing the social, emotional, and educational benefits of interactive music in early childhood, Nick created The Young Music Companyā€”a mobile music school for preschoolers that brings music into the lives of thousands of children every year. Nick has presented his dynamic music and movement workshops at hundreds of conferences, conventions, and institutions. In 2016, Nick created the PlayMotion Music music and movement curriculum and teacher training program to empower teachers to bring the magic of music and movement into their classrooms.

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