Music in Early Education Shows Benefit to FCAT Test Scores
Experts say the songs children learn in preschool can enrich the future academic success of students. And the Academy of Early Childhood Education at Newberry High School is giving future teachers a head start.
Now research from Florida music educators shows there's a direct connection between music education and FCAT scores.
Visiting the Academy classroom sounds more like a kindergarten classroom, as songs from early childhood are sung and students sit in a circle on the floor. But what many of these high school students --some who will be teachers-- are learning the connections music has to academics.
Eleventh garder, Nicole Allison, says she's making the connection, "I guess I realize now how much I actually did learn from the songs and how exciting it was."
And leading the song from "Old McDonald" Greg Foertter, a music teacher with O2Bkids College says, "The songs teach. We teach colors, we learn about animals."
Foerttner has made the special visit to the students in the Academy to show how music can be used to follow more than a child's developmental progress, as well as "Gross motor skills, fine motor skills, all of that cognitive development," adds Foertter.
Kim McConnell who runs the Academy of Early Childhood Learning, adds, "A child's work is their play, but it is the vehicle by which they learn."
McConnell says the skills her students learn can be transferred to many professions including pediatric medicine, social work and nursing. And now research studies show there is a direct correlation between music education and FCAT scores.
Dr. Timothy Brophy, Associate Professor of Music Education at the University of Florida says, "There is a positive and significant relationship between success on our Florida Music Assessment (test) and success in the other academic areas of reading, writing and math, at least measured by the FCAT."
Brohpy says the average music education a student in Florida receives is 38 minutes a week, but is hoping that will increase, because the benefits he says are immeasurable.
"Learning to play an instrument teaches disciplined focus on the task at hand," explains Brophy.
McConnell adds, "You're making it easier for a child to remember what they're learning..." Which makes the task of learning for children, a little more fun.
Foertter sings the words that can easily be sung in a classroom to help give young students directions, "If you're happy and you know it pick up your toys, if you're happy and you know it pick up your toys..."
The Academy of Early Education is moving to the Professional Academies at Loften in Gainesville next year, but plan to keep their teaching curriculum.
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