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Blog: From the perspective of an Early Years tutor

Posted on 3 January 2020

Carol Bowden

Carol Bowden, Programme Leader, Early Years.

For the past 12 years I have been working as an Early Years Music Leader at The Glasshouse International Centre for Music where we run Mini Musician classes for 0-4 years and Baby Musician classes for 0-12 months. These weekly family music-making classes are immersive sessions, designed to support children’s love of music and learning from an early age. Sessions include songs, dances and games which help to gently support development whilst helping you experience just how magical music can be for the whole family. There are also plenty of ideas to take away and continue the music at home too!

We start every session with the ‘Hello’ song which is a wonderful way to welcome everyone into the room. We put the children’s names into the song and they love it! We use puppets and soft toys to help develop their language and help to engage the shyest of children and then we get up for a dance. You can’t expect a little one to sit down for very long, so we get them up, jumping and spinning, to help with their physical development and sense of wellbeing.

We have lots of hand-held percussion instruments which we use with the children. We learn to start and stop, play loud and quiet, fast and slow and then we play along to favourite songs, developing pulse, rhythm and fine motor skills. We also have a lot of fabrics including scarves, Lycra and scrunchies for creative and group play. Playing peek-a-boo is important for children to learn about object permanence and to develop their sense of independence, once they start crawling they do the same thing, looking back to see that you are still there.

We use a big sheet of Lycra, that we stretch and use to bounce animals on, hide underneath and generally have a lot of fun with as a group. We then settle down, after all that excitement, with a lullaby, ending the session with our ‘Goodbye’ song.

To the casual observer we look like we are having so much fun but what is really happening in that room is a mind-boggling amount of learning.

I was introduced to the world of being an Early Years Music Leader over 12 years ago. Over the years I have learnt so much from working with little ones, how music can affect their mood, teach them how to look after themselves, how to play with other children and become little citizens of this world.

Every child is unique, and they surprise me in so many ways; they all learn differently and the tiniest of things that happens in their development is important.

Now I work across the North East, leading music sessions for The Glasshouse and training others who work with children. I lead music sessions in parent and toddler groups, Sure Start centres, nurseries and primary schools, I work with families at risk and children in care and in collaboration with partner organisations, including North East Autism Society, Blue Cabin and Children North East who are there to support the health and wellbeing of families.

More than anything, I love my job! I feel like the luckiest person on earth, knowing that every day, I will be spending some time singing and making music with little ones.