Category Archives: Parent Involvement in Education

Classroom Management in Early Childhood Music Education

Teachers understand that classroom management is extremely important to providing the best environment for education. Whether virtual or in-person, making sure that each participant has opportunity to learn is one of the biggest challenges for teachers, especially in the children’s classroom. Not only does classroom management make teaching more efficient and effective, it is essential to entice and motivate student learning.  

Classroom Management in Children’s Music Classes

For educators that are teaching in an early childhood music studio, the challenges of classroom management can be unique. Because children’s music instruction often includes physical activity in a group setting, it creates a fertile environment for disruptive behavior. Asking many children to verbalize or speak up in class is a particular challenge for any teacher, but asking a child to sing out loud in front of others can be even more challenging. Below are some classroom management tips and tricks that have been shared by children’s music teachers with decades of experience.

  • Set Expectations with both parents and students from the very beginning – Have an orientation for parents, explaining how the process will work, classroom policies, and what will be expected from both parent and child.
  • Remove any distractions from your teaching space – Only have the things that students will be using in the lesson in plain sight. Before each class, plan ahead on only what will be needed for that class.
  • Strategically position yourself in your classroom space – If this is a class with new students and parents, it may take some observation over a few class periods. If there are very active children, pairs, or groups that cut-up or pester each other, or even parents that tend to chat too much, position yourself in a way where you can intervene in a constructive and non-threatening way, such as positive reinforcement and body language.
  • Constantly observe your students – If children begin to become restless, be ready to engage in a way that allows them to be active and “get the wiggles out.”

Parents Role in Children’s Music Classroom Management

When setting expectations with caregivers at the beginning of a children’s music class, it is very important that they understand their role in helping to manage the classroom. This mainly regards management of their own child, whether through correction or modeling. The following are examples of times when a teacher should expect the parent to react:

  • The child is doing something dangerous to themselves or someone else in the classroom.
  • The child is doing something disruptive.
  • The child is carrying on at a level that is distracting or causing distress to others.

There are many things that can cause this kind of behavior in children, such as being tired and hungry, wanting attention, nervousness, or a child that has been pre-diagnosed with special needs. Some tips for teachers to deal with these behaviors, as well as helping parents to do so, are:

  • Remind parents that children do not understand contractions such as “don’t” or we “shouldn’t”. Direct language such as “do not” or “no (corrected action)” work better with children.
  • Remove the child from the classroom situation for a short period until they have reset.
  • Understand that sometimes it takes several classes for a child to get “into their comfort zone” when in a new environment such as a music class.
  • For children who do not want to participate, give them the choice of either doing so or sitting in a “quiet corner.” Empowering the child to make the decision often has positive results by them re-engaging.
  • For classes with older children when the parent is not always present, address ongoing behavior promptly and privately with the parent after class.
  • Manage transitions wisely in order to make them smooth for everyone.

These are just some of the techniques that teachers of early childhood music can use to manage their classrooms, parents, and students. Good educators understand that setting expectations early is pivotal in getting everyone on board for a fun and conducive learning environment.

The Roles of the Parent and Teacher in the Children’s Music Classroom

We have all heard about “helicopter parenting” (and from time to time may be guilty of it ourselves), where a parent injects themselves into the activity, experiences, or problems of a child, particularly in educational institutions. While this kind of involvement in a child’s education is considered detrimental to their long term well-being, parental involvement and participation in the early childhood music studio is highly encouraged. The following synopsis is based on a series of podcasts from Musikgarten that delves into the parental role in an early childhood music and movement classroom.

Parental Roles in Early Childhood Music Education

When exploring the role of the parent in the physical and psychological well-being of children in the classroom, one of the most important benefits of parental involvement is that the caregiver can immerse themselves into the experience and become an active part of the learning process.  Through modeling and participating, not only does the parent get the enjoyment of making music with their child, but also benefit from the bonding that happens during the process. In the earliest stages of childhood, children have been mimicking their parents for some time, so having them alongside in the music classroom seems natural. Today’s caregivers are bombarded with optional activities for their children, but most do not ask for full participation other than to perhaps register, transport, and provide snacks. It can be daunting for parents to adjust to this role in a classroom setting, especially when surrounded by other parents. So, there is also modeling going on between the teacher and the caregivers, as well as between parents. And because the teacher is leading the activities in the classroom, the parent’s main role is to simply be present and have fun with their child.

The Role of Early Childhood Music Teachers in Making Parents Feel Comfortable

Just as a child may feel apprehensive and nervous about a new classroom setting, teachers should keep in mind that parents and caregivers may also be feeling self-conscious about participation. While they may regularly participate in instructed group activities such as yoga or church groups, being asked to sing and “act silly” in front of others can be intimidating. Physical or psychological limitations may also make the caregiver hesitate to participate in activities, such as confidence in singing or getting up and down on the floor.

Just as with the child, the teacher’s role is to be aware of reluctance in the parent as well and provide a comfortable atmosphere in which to participate. In addition, it’s important to remind caregivers that their child craves their participation, whether its singing or movement. The child does not care how well the parent sings, but loves to hear their voice because of the comfort it provides and a sense of safety since birth. Teachers should continue to encourage the parents to participate and find the level of comfort that will prompt participation.

One interesting result of good parent participation is as a child eventually finds their voice, they may actually ask parents to participate less by putting their hand over their mouth or even asking them to leave. While it is important to encourage the child to find their own voice, it’s also the teacher’s role to tell both that the class is a family class and should be shared together. As the child grows older, they will not only find their voice, but also be able to share that voice with others in a musical setting.

Parent and caregiver participation in the early childhood music classroom setting is important in the healthy development for a child’s love and understanding of music. The comfort and modeling it provides is invaluable to developing an affinity in learning and creating music. In addition to music curriculum, the teachers role is to encourage both parent and child to participate while simply having fun.

The Importance of Parental Involvement in Children’s Music Education

In the early summer months of May and June, children across the US celebrate their parents on Mother’s and Father’s days. The impact of caregivers in early childhood is immeasurable. Whether it’s a mother, father, grandmother, uncle, stepparent, or foster parent, educators have long known the positive influence that caregiver involvement has on the education and development of children. That is no exception for early childhood music classes, where parental and caregiver participation contributes to a formula for success.

The Impact of Family Involvement in Early Childhood Education

Researchers for decades have pointed to parental/caregiver involvement as a key success factor across nearly all aspects of early childhood development. This impact has been ranked above many other background influencers such as socioeconomic status or kind of school attended. That degree of importance also extends beyond individual caregivers to include family and community.  Interaction between caregivers, students, and teachers provide a two-way benefit whereas teachers learn about a family’s culture while, the family in turn learns the goals of the curriculum and educational approach. Twenty years of research show that by preparing children’s readiness for school, classroom behavior and attendance, test scores, and academic performance are vastly improved. In addition to academic and school related benefits, caregiver involvement also benefits the child in several other ways:

  • Development of self-confidence and motivation
  • Better social skills and relationships
  • Less likely to develop behavioral issues
  • Builds a foundation of resilience into adulthood
  • Helps the child to develop independence

The Importance of Caregiver Involvement in Early Childhood Music Classes

Just as with traditional academics, research has also shown that parental involvement positively impacts early childhood music programs. The benefits are wide ranging, specifically reinforcing a positive bond between caregiver and child which helps to build confidence and self-esteem. As a result, the child benefits from:

  • Better understanding of cultural ties to music
  • Increased IQ, which reinforces understanding of musical concepts
  • Observed social Interaction through group music and singing
  • Language and enunciation skills through singing
  • Tactile and spatial development through observation and mimicry of instruments

The relationship between parent/caregiver and child is a strong bond that impacts success in life. A positive relationship yields many benefits for learning and can help to advance childhood development from the earliest stages. Extending this strong connection to the classroom, whether it be traditional academics or early childhood music classes, provides multiple rewards for child and caregiver alike.