Teaching academics using rhythm and melody helps children comprehend and retain information. The different elements of music lights up many areas of the brain which can enhance receptive language and because more of our brain is activated and engaged the messages stay with us for longer. I bet you can remember many things you learned using rhythm and melody as a child.
With school aged groups we often target several different academic goals throughout our sessions such as reading, counting, adding and subtracting, identifying letters, shapes, numbers, colors, etc. The academic goals are developed based on needs identified by teachers.
In a 1:1 session these needs can be developed and tailored to the individual. The child pictured above is a child I see at school in a 1:1 setting. She was working on multiple goals during this activity/song with Mathlink cubes. Our song included counting forwards and backwards and subtracting. While working on these academic goals we also were able to target fine motor skills, receptive language and motor imitation, both of which are challenge areas
. The "A" section of our song targeted the academic skill while the "B" section targeted fine motor imitation. She loved this activity and initiated repeating it several times during our session.
The melody and rhythm helped her to retain and verbally express the information. Rhythm, which creates stability in the system and acts as a time keeper, helped in facilitating motor control while she worked on imitating which finger I was holding up and finger isolation. Utilizing music allows us to repeat something several times while maintaining attention and engagement because we can keep the information the same but change the elements of the music to keep it interesting and novel.
After school I emailed the photo to her mother who reported that when she showed her daughter the photo, she began to sing the song!