by Linda Madler
Did you know that singing “Five Freckled Frogs” and other simple songs can fire up your child’s brain to make neural connections that will increase school success? As a former music therapist and special educator who has found her niche in early childhood music education, I have witnessed many firsts in my career–the infant who first crawled to reach an instrument, the toddler who first said his name in response to a hello song, the preschooler with a motor delay who practiced walking so that she could dance with the class. Music is a powerful tool that can have a profound effect on the development of the whole child, particularly when one considers the learning potential inherent in each activity.
Now we know why music education is important… but how exactly does it work? To answer this question, let’s revisit the song, “Five Freckled Frogs”:
- Motor Development: Jumping like frogs addresses locomotor skills. Manipulating objects representing frogs works on fine motor skills. Impulse control can be honed by waiting for your turn to jump in the pool. Creative movement could be expressed by how a bullfrog would belly flop into the pool versus how a spritely green frog might take a soaring leap.
- Language Development: What do the words freckled and speckled mean? Are they synonyms? What are rhyming words? The language and the movements are connected in the song and show us how to follow directions.
- Social-Emotional Development: Singing and moving in a group develops inner speech and cooperation. Sharing ideas develops a sense of initiative and self-confidence.
- Listening Skills: Listen to the sounds of different frogs and try to replicate them. Adding sound effects to the right place in the song and counting down the numbers focuses attention and builds concentration.
- Emergent Literacy Skills: Tell a story about the five frogs and act it out. Label the frogs with numbers and make number sentences.
- General knowledge: Talk about the life cycle and habitat of the frog.
- Musical Development: Explore the concepts of pitch and tempo, phrasing, steady beat and much, much more!
At Trinity Lutheran School, music enhances our mission of nurturing the development of the whole child. We use Music Keys, a music curriculum researched and designed by Musikgarten, the internationally renowned leader in early childhood music education. We host family music events throughout the year and provide materials for parents to continue the music-making (and education!) at home. Students are also encouraged to develop their inner musicians in our after-school piano program.
Linda Madler received her BM (Music Therapy) from Southern Methodist University and MEd (Special Education) from the College of William & Mary. A fully certified and licensed Musikgarten Instructor, she is the music instructor at Trinity and proud parent of two TLS graduates.