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  • Writer's pictureAlison McDonald

Music and Language

Music and Language

Week One: Nursery Rhymes Parents have sung nursery rhymes with their children for generations. These sweet little songs provide us with such joyful interactions with our children. Music and songs can play an important role in your child’s life, whether they grow up to be a concert pianist or not! Our communication tips this month are all about how music can build language. When singing with your child, try not to stress about your own singing voice, your child does not care! This is all about connecting with your child and having fun. Find a quiet place at home where no one else is around and have a go at singing a few nursery rhymes with your child. Which ones do they respond to most? Make it exciting by using actions and an expressive voice. We learn when we’re having fun! What was your favourite nursery rhyme growing up?

Week Two: Sing to Learn Songs can introduce new vocabulary in a fun and engaging way. Our tendency to repeat songs we enjoy over and over again helps to reinforce that new vocabulary. For example, songs like ‘heads and shoulders’ can help our children to learn their body parts. If you notice a word in a song that your child doesn’t know, you can stress that new word by slowing down the song at that word. You can use actions or pictures with the song to help demonstrate the meaning of new words. You could even make up a new song, just for your child, to help them understand their world better. For example, my family always sung a song to remind us what to do to get ready for bed. You don’t have to come up with a new tune! Use the tune from a nursery rhyme your family already knows. Can you think of little phrases your family says a lot that could be put to song?

Week Three: Music Groups There are lots of music groups for preschoolers running in the local community. These groups provide safe and fun spaces to learn music and can be a lovely way to get some quality time with your child. They also provide opportunities to build the social skills and language of our children. To fully participate in the music time, our children will need to follow instructions in a big group, rather than one on one. Places where there are groups of preschoolers often involve social situations that can be challenging for our little ones. For example, they may need to practice sharing as they learn that not everyone can use the special pink drum at once! With you at their side in these difficult social moments, your children can learn how to make friends and get along well with others. Are you aware of any music groups running close to you that you could be part of?

Week Four: Pre-Literacy Skills Songs and nursery rhymes can be used to develop your child’s pre-literacy skills. Having strong pre-literacy skills before starting Kindergarten is important for success at school. One of the earliest skills that children develop in this area is the ability to hear and identify rhyming words. Many of the nursery rhymes we sing have easy to follow rhyming patterns. To help your child begin to notice these rhymes, put emphasis on the rhyming words or sing through a familiar nursery rhyme with your child and leave out the rhyming word, then allow your little one to fill in the blank. For example “Incy Wincy spider climbed up the water spout, down came the rain and washed poor Incy…..OUT!

Written by Bec Speech Pathologist Newcastle Speech Pathology

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