While it is accepted that self-regulation skills are an important component of school readiness, and targeting these skills may offer a mechanism through which to address socioeconomic related achievement gaps, relatively little is known about effective approaches to boosting these skills in the preschool years. The neurological benefits of music participation and particularly rhythmic, coordinated movement, are well documented and used extensively in the field of music therapy, but have been used to address early childhood self-regulation. We designed a new rhythm and movement program for preschool children and piloted it in a clustered randomised control trial for two sessions a week over eight weeks in three kindergarten centres (113 children). The program was based on neurological and music therapy principles and was designed to stimulate the shared neural networks for rhythm perception, motor skills, and self-regulation.
Positive intervention effects were found for teacher-reported emotional regulation, the directly assessed executive function of shifting (flexible focussing of attention) for boys, and teacher-reported cognitive (attention and problem-solving) and behavioural regulation for one of the three research sites. Teacher and child acceptability and engagement in the intervention was high.
Program resources can be accessed here: www.ramsrblog.wordpress.com
See the following resources for more information:
Moving to the Beat: Using Music, Rhythm, and Movement to Enhance Self-Regulation in Early Childhood Classrooms
Funding / Grants
- QUT Early Career Academic Research Development Grant (ECARD) (2014 - 2016)