While many learning centers and classrooms focus on visual environments like decorations and displays, some other learning centers have increasingly focused on creating hearing, or auditory engagement in their classrooms as well. Early learning centers that embrace senses outside of sight are able to engage early learners’ brains in ways that allow them to explore their creativity and curiosity. See below for five ways early learning centers promote auditory learning engagement for children.
1. They go beyond the occasional music class
Early learning centers that pursue auditory engagement opportunities go beyond a weekly or twice-weekly music class by creating sound situations throughout each learning day. Teachers find ways of introducing sounds to indicate a shift in the classroom, like a chiming bell for story time, or energetic music for outdoor playtime.
2. Allowing creation and engagement with sound
Early learners in centers where auditory engagement is a focus are players in creating their own sounds or music. Instruments (or non-traditional instruments) are given to students to practice music and sound-making. Students can work individually or collaboratively to find their own rhythms and make their own music.
3. Creating learning opportunities through questions about sounds
While many early learning centers have music classes, some go further by inviting local musicians to play their instruments and also allow children to experiment. For instance, an early learning center could invite a guitar player to play a couple of songs and ask early learners questions about where they think the sound comes from, why the guitar is shaped in such a way, why the guitar has a hole in it, etc. Sometimes the children are even able to experiment with the instrument.
4. Sound management: Training to overcome distractions
As I was growing up in the Midwest, I remember the tornado siren test that went off every first Tuesday of the month derailing entire class times because of noise and distractions. Early learners who are exposed to sounds of differing types and volumes instead of learning in a quiet classroom are better prepared to overcome aural distractions that could prevent them from learning.
5. Teachers sing, even if they’re bad at it!
Surprisingly enough, most early learning educators are not professional singers! However, early learning centers that embrace sound engagement for early learners know that their singing and leading the class, good or bad, promotes engagement and also collaboration skills of the students. According to Renee Bock of Community Playthings, teachers play the role of facilitator, not performer, in music classes, allowing children the freedom to explore their voices and sound creation in their environments—without relying on the teacher as the entertainer.
Check out this article on Community Playthings for more information: <http://www.communityplaythings.com/resources/articles/2016/creating-a-soundscape-for-children>.
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