How music and movement promotes preschool readiness

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If you've ever watched toddlers hop, skip, jump and run, you know how much joy these simple activities bring. Developmental psychologists say when you add music and organized movement to that mix, you could be working toward preschool success.

Music Together is a long-running music and movement program taught in over 2,000 communities that aims to improve preschool readiness.

"They're learning so many things and they don't even know they're learning, because it's fun," Lesley Hoye, director of Music Together said.

Developmental psychologist Adam Winsler and his colleagues studied how organized music and movement classes for 3- and 4-year-olds may be related to impulse control abilities.

"The hypothesis was that giving children lots of exercise doing this, lots of practice doing these kinds of games with music and movement gives them exercises of the self-regulatory system, just like any other muscle in our body," Dr. Winsler said.

Researchers recruited 90 children and found those who took music and movement classes were better at delaying gratification, lowering their voices and paying attention.

"We want them to be able to sit still and follow directions, and these are critical skills for school readiness," Dr. Winsler said.

Dr. Winsler says that parents can look for opportunities outside of class to sing and move. Bounce babies on your lap to music, learn a folk dance or just move and sing at home.