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The Early Childhood Collaborative of Southington (ECCS) is offering music and movement training and related educational resources to interested licensed Family Childcare (FCC) providers in town through a grant from the Women & Girls’ Fund at the Main Street Community Foundation. The ECCS is working with Infinity Music Therapy Services of Southington, CT to organize and conduct customized training that will teach the FCC providers developmentally appropriate music and movement activities.
Through the grant, the Family Childcare providers can receive the following:
• Group trainings provided in the evening/weekend for 10-12 providers at a time which focus on using music to assist in transitions, facilitating play through music, using music for movement, and supporting development milestones through song. Workshops are highly interactive and participants will leave with a greater understanding of how to incorporate music into play to support developmental milestones related to language, motor functioning, emotional literacy and more. The first two workshops, “Rockin’ Readers” and “Transitions Can Be Easy” were held over the summer, others will be scheduled for this fall.
• Music enrichment groups conducted by a board-certified music therapist with the provider and the children in their care. Services will include live recorded music, interactive instrument play, singing, and more to support developmental milestones. The individual program will happen during the day at the home of the FCC provider while the children they care for are in attendance. It will be customized based on the age of the children, space available and instruments and movement props the provider already owns or can easily make. If the FCC provider is uncomfortable with having this program in their home then it can be arranged to occur at the Infinity Music Therapy studio. These sessions are underway.
• Consultation with daycare providers to discuss their individualized needs, struggles, and opportunities for growth around music and movement. Follow up recommendations will be provided.
• Original books designed by Infinity Music Therapy’s director specifically for use in early childhood settings. Based on survey results from Southington’s family childcare providers, the books to be provided are:
— The ABCs and 123s: Supporting Academic Development Through Song
— Tunes for Tots: Exploring Sound and Song through Play
• Additional materials based on the budget and interest with recommendations from Infinity Music Therapy. These may include activity books or CDs for children. The music collection will be age appropriate and include songs or activities that encourage children to dance and sing along and can represent music around the world.
Children love music and appreciate any opportunities they have to get up and move around. Giving children the opportunity to listen to music, play instruments, experiment with sound, and move their bodies is vital in early care environments. Music and movement activities can help young children develop their cognitive, gross and fine motor skills, improve their balance and coordination, hone their listening skills, and learn about cultures around the world. The group music-making experience supports children’s leadership and turn taking skills, their ability to follow and respect peer leaders, and their capacity to work with others as an ensemble, all in a playful environment. Music very naturally encourages turn taking. Passing instruments back and forth to a teacher or other children and taking turns with the instruments help children to learn to share.
The movement aspect of this grant is just as important. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 1 out of every 6 children in the United States is obese. In just over one generation, U.S. rates of obesity have approximately tripled among preschoolers and adolescents, and quadrupled among children aged 6 to 11 years. The direct measurement of height and weight in an Every Smile Counts Obesity Survey revealed that almost one-third (31.7%) of Connecticut students in kindergarten and 3rd grade are overweight (15.6%) or obese (16.1%) (http://www.ct.gov/dph/lib/dph/hems/nutrition/pdf/chob_fact_sheet_2015nov.pdf). As tracked on the ECCS Community Plan, only 54% of Southington fourth grade students met the standard on all four physical fitness tests in 2016.
Obese children are more likely than their healthy weight peers to become obese adults. Fortunately, childhood obesity is preventable through increasing opportunities for kids to be active and eat healthier. Movement helps address the nationwide obesity epidemic, and there is research that suggests we need to focus on young children- getting them active and eating healthy to establish these habits at an early age.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Medical Association (AMA), and the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), among others, have endorsed several key recommendations to reduce the prevalence, and eliminate racial and ethnic disparities, in childhood obesity. In the area of physical activity, these recommendations include:
– Participate in 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity each day.
– Increase physical activity in school and childcare settings.
This Music and Movement training will also enable Southington FCC providers to expand how they meet 3 of the 4 National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC) standards in the Music, Movement, and Dramatic Play category:
3.75 The provider uses music in a variety of ways such as singing, finger plays, clapping games, playing instruments, and playing a variety of recorded music.
3.76 Children have opportunities to participate in making music with their voices or instruments (purchased or home-made).
3.77 The provider encourages children to dance and to use movement to recreate meaningful experiences, tell stories, or act out concepts.
Source: Quality Standards for NAFCC Accreditation – https://www.nafcc.org/file/35a7fee9-1ccf-4557-89d4-973daf84a052
The ECCS will provide certificates of attendance to FCC providers who participate in the workshops which can be used towards licensing or certification requirements.
About the Early Childhood Collaborative of Southington
The Early Childhood Collaborative of Southington is a group of committed educators, parents, grandparents, healthcare and childcare providers, business owners, civic organizations and members of the community who are deeply invested in the growth, development and academic success of young children in Southington. The Collaborative’s mission is that “all Southington children will enter school ready to learn.” ECCS is dedicated to three goals: 1) Advocating for high quality preschool and childcare; 2) Empowering parents and families through workshops and educational programs; and 3) Being a wide ranging resource for community members on the subject of early childhood care and education. The Collaborative receives operating support from the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain which also acts as its fiscal sponsor. For more information on the Collaborative, contact Joanne Kelleher, Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.southingtonearlychildhood.org.