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Why Music?

Arts Education Contributes to Early Childhood Brain Development

The early years of life are crucial to the development of vital connections within brain tissue which leads to later success in learning, researchers have found. Research that specifically links the study of music and other art forms to necessary brain development includes that of psychologist Frances Rauscher of the University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh, and physicist Gordon Shaw of the University of California at Irvine. They demonstrated that preschoolers who were given keyboard lessons and did group singing scored higher on tests measuring spatial reasoning, a skill used later in math, science and engineering. Most recently, they found that the music lessons resulted in higher spatial reasoning scores than equivalent instruction in computer skills.

The Preschool Arts Enrichment Program of the Settlement Music School serves South Philadelphia children who live in a housing project across the street from the 87-year-old music school. A three-year program evaluation revealed that children made gains in cognitive and language development above and beyond those evidenced in a control group of preschoolers without the arts-enriched curriculum. Working with a faculty of professional artists with training in early childhood education six to nine times a week, small groups of children visit the art studios to explore concepts that cut across the arts: pattern, change, repetition and extremes.

To reinforce preschool learning, children's parents or guardians are required to attend five hour-long parenting seminars each semester. The Settlement Music School also runs an arts in early childhood teacher training institute and an "arts focused" after-school program, as well as a comprehensive community-based program.

The Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts in Vienna, Virginia, teaches preschool children basic academic and life skills through participation in performing arts activities and trains their classroom teachers, through practical applications, to use the performing arts in education. Prior to the beginning of each seven-week class residency, a Wolf Trap artist meets with a teacher to design a curriculum that addresses the needs of a particular group of children and the teacher. The Wolf Trap artist goes into the classroom twice a week for 45-minute sessions and leads performing arts-based activities that are designed around an academic or social theme.

Every three years, the Wold Trap Foundation hosts a national artists conference for the artists who work in 10 regional Wolf Trap programs across the country, and sponsors professional development workshops for teachers in local communities. Nationwide, sites include public schools, Head Start preschool programs and private child development centers.

Children naturally sing, dance, draw and roleplay in an effort to understand the world around them and communicate their thoughts about it. A growing body of evidence demonstrates that when their caretakers engage them in these activities early in life on a regular basis, they are helping wire the children's brains for successful learning.

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More Research
Yello Dyno Products

The Book
Raising Safe Kids by Jan Wagner (Jan's Bio)
Featuring a foreword by

Gavin de Becker
best-selling author of The Gift of Fear and Protecting The Gift

Can't Fool Me! 8 Song Samples
The Song,
Tricky People!

Award-Winning Videos

Yello Dyno Kindergarten:
Art Education in action
QuickTime Movie
Windows Media Movie

"Take three steps back and run like the wind!"
- Lyrics from the song, Tricky People!

"Your children learn simple lyrics attached to memorable songs. They are left with a joyous image of running like the wind... but in a time of crisis these lyrics come right back and they act on them to stay safe."
- David Ham, song writer of the
Can't Fool Me! CD







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