Infants may not have the verbal language yet, but they are listening and watching. They are gathering knowledge.
Music is another early math experience.
Beat, rhythm, and melody, connect to math concepts. Think about the natural response most children have to music. When children hear music they usually respond through some body movement. It can be as simple as turning their head to the sound source, clapping hands or moving their full bodies. So, how do we use the elements of music and a child’s natural engagement to support development of math concepts?
In songs like “Old MacDonald,” “Bingo,” or “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” there is a repetitive and evenly spaced beat, which is different from rhythm. Beat is steady and the rhythm varies. Model the beat by clapping or moving to the music. This is one-to-one correspondence.
Rhythm will have a pattern. Recognizing patterns is an important math concept. Recognizing rhythmic patterns in music helps children remember words to a song. Providing simple instruments like a pot and a wooden spoon allows children to copy the rhythm furthering an understanding of patterns.
Many providers do this with shared stories, so try it with a song. Invite toddlers to repeat, predict, and/or extend rhythmic patterns in favorite songs such as “Old MacDonald Had a Farm”. Stop singing after “an oink oink here,” and wait… Provide the children an opportunity to reply, extending the pattern of the song by adding “and an oink oink there.”
“There Once Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly” is a good example of a song that adds on building the concept of “more”.
Providers can use songs to ritualize particular times of the day like circle time or clean up time. Providers can use songs to transition between activities, especially when there has to be movement from one physical location to another.
While infants may not have the verbal language yet, they are listening and watching. They are gathering knowledge. The are naturally curious and will model what they see happening around them. Then they build off that themselves and explore to meet they developmental needs.
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