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The Woods Academy

Where curiosity and confidence thrive.

Music and Poems in Montessori

Music and Poems in Montessori
Ms. Michele Carpenter, Co-Director of Montessori, MII Lead Teacher

“Tell me, I forget…show me, I remember…involve me, I understand”

There is something magical about music. It is not often you see 25 children ages 3-6 all doing exactly the same thing at exactly the same time, unless of course, there’s a snack involved. But, when we are singing or reciting a poem, everyone is working together to hit the same pauses, the same inflections, the same pitch. Each child feels a sense of belonging and importance. Music connects and engages, providing endless benefits for social emotional development as well as academic skills.

Music is not only enjoyable for kids, but essential. Every day in our Montessori classrooms, we have time dedicated to poems and songs. As fun and silly as these poems can be, the entertainment is not the only purpose. These poems develop several different skills including: phonemic awareness, memory, mathematical skills, and community building.

In order to begin blending and reading words, learners must have a familiarity with words and parts of words. Phonemic awareness develops these skills by bringing attention to different parts of words and recognizing patterns in language. In poems and songs, we see alliteration, rhymes, syllables, and new vocabulary. We highlight these different parts of words by jumping or clapping to determine the rhyming words or words that begin with the same sound. This kinesthetic learning style engages children and also improves retention as they are involving several different parts of their brain in the development of these skills. Poems and songs train the ear to listen and repeat. This process of recognizing and repeating a sound is crucial in the introduction of graphemes (the written representation of a sound). The awareness that words are made up of parts and training the ear to recognize the different parts is an important step on the path to reading. Vocabulary is developed and solidified with the support of these activities. One poem we have about the water cycle teaches each part of the water cycle with hand movements to correspond to the vocabulary and rhyming words to encourage both memorization and a deeper understanding of the topic.

The recall of these poems from day to day develops both working and long term memory. These two types of memory are important in several different areas of development, but especially reading and mathematics. Being able to recall from day to day allows the child to develop the skills they will need for learning math facts or reading fluently as they piece together what they read on a page. Music further develops the mathematical mind by training the brain to identify and seek out patterns. Music is math and supports the parts of the brain the child will need to excel in math. Several of our poems also incorporate rote counting, subtraction, and ordinal numbers. What may seem like a silly song about frogs jumping in the water allows children to explore concepts of taking away, counting how many are left, and identifying steps and order.

To see the confidence music can give, all you have to do is watch your child recite an entire poem or song by him or herself. Knowing they are capable, and their friends are depending on them builds a strong supportive network for a child to feel confident in their skills. Even the young and shy friends want to participate, feel confident enough to stand up in front of all their friends and recite the poem or sing that song.