Early Years Rationale
Our Nursery and Reception follow the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum. Music lessons and musical opportunities are planned for using the Medium Term plans for all areas of learning, placing a particular focus on the Expressive Arts and Design area of learning. Music in Early Years is taught as part of the topic work covered during the year, however, musical skills and knowledge are explored across other areas of learning, such as Communication and Language. Music is seen within most lessons in our EYFS, such as Maths, as children learn mathematical concepts through singing songs and rhymes. We provide children with extensive opportunities to develop their musical skills by singing rhymes daily as this enables them to use and embed new vocabulary in a range of contexts which gives children the opportunity to thrive.
Within Nursery, children are taught phase 1 phonics, which develops their musical skills. They explore; environmental sounds, instrumental sounds, body percussion, rhythm and rhyme, alliteration, voice sounds and oral blending and segmenting. In the Autumn term, children learn to; listen with increased attention to sounds. Children develop their listening skills through a range of activities such as; listening to a range of sounds in their environment, sound walks, sound bags and sound games.
In Spring, children build upon their musical knowledge and skills and continue learning phase 1 phonics. Children also learn to remember and sing entire songs. The curriculum immerses children in a range of rhymes and songs. Regular singing sessions are planned for children to sing songs and adults encourage children to join in. Children learn to respond to what they have heard, expressing their thoughts and feelings. They take part in Write Dance activities which encourage them to express themselves by creating a range of movements to music before creating these movements on paper. Adults give children regular opportunities to imitate movement in response to music through Wake and Shake style activities and by joining in with songs and action rhymes. Adults model playing musical instruments safely and the children learn to play instruments with increasing control to express their feelings and ideas. Children freely select a wide range of instruments from a range of cultures whilst in continuous provision. Instruments are explored inside and outdoors. Adults encourage children to experiment with different ways of playing instruments through careful modelling. Adults listen and value children’s music making and record their performances to share with the children and their parents.
In Summer, children learn to sing the pitch of a tone sung by another person. Adults support children to develop their singing voice using a limited pitch range. Children are encouraged to use their ‘singing voice’ when asked to sing to eliminate shouting. Children learn to sing the melodic shape (moving melody, such as up and down, down and up) of familiar songs. Adults provide regular opportunities for children to develop their vocal sounds and how they can be changed. Adults sing slowly, so that children clearly hear the words and the melody of the song. Children learn to create their own songs, or improvise a song around one they know. Adults sing regularly and model how to improvise songs. Children learn the pulse by playing games, such as clapping to the pulse of songs or music.
Within Reception, musical learning is built upon following children’s experiences in Nursery. Phase 1 phonics is revisited in Autumn 1, as children enter Reception at different starting points, so they revisit; environmental sounds, instrumental sounds, body percussion, rhythm and rhyme, alliteration, and voice sounds with the main focus on oral blending and segmenting. As children progress through Reception, lessons are taught from children’s starting points and then slowly progress to teaching towards the Early Learning Goals, with Medium Term plans being followed. Throughout the year, children learn rhymes and songs and they use new vocabulary. Learning is built upon in every term, ensuring children have embedded the new musical skills and knowledge.
In the Autumn term, children learn to; listen attentively, move to and talk about music and express their feelings and responses. Adults introduce children to a range of musical genres, from both the UK and across the globe. Children are encouraged to listen and move to the music and talk about the different styles of music they are hearing. Children learn to watch and talk about dance and performance art, expressing their feelings and responses. Alongside introducing children to genres of music, children are also introduced to styles of dance and performing arts. Children are encouraged to talk about different styles of dance and performing art and explore their own dance and performance styles. Children are given the opportunity to watch a live performance when they visit the pantomime. Children learn to sing in a group or alone, increasingly matching pitch and following a melody. New songs are introduced gradually over the year. Call and response songs are used so children can echo phrases, helping them match the pitch and follow the melody.
In the Spring term, children learn to; explore and engage in music making and dance, perform by solo and in groups. Building on the learning around music and dance in the Autumn term, children are taught about beat, rhythm and pulse and are encouraged to keep a steady beat or a rhythm when dancing or exploring instruments. Children also tap the rhythm in spoken words. Children are encouraged to match sounds or music to movement e.g. marching to the drum. Children are encouraged to replicate choreographed dances, create their own and create their own music. Children also learn to sing a range of well-known nursery rhymes and songs. Rhymes and songs are incorporated into the curriculum ensuring children are familiar with a wide range. These are revisited and reviewed regularly so children know them well and are able to sing them independently in continuous provision.
In the Summer term, prior learning is revisited and the children learn to perform songs and rhymes with others, and (when appropriate) try to move in time with music. Children are given regular opportunities to perform songs and rhymes to an audience. Daily singing sessions support children’s confidence in performing to their peers. Adults record their performances and share them with the children and their parents. In this term, children perform a Collective Worship assembly based on our school values, where they use drama and music (musical instruments and songs) to showcase their learning the rest of the school and to their parents. The musical learning and opportunities in EYFS ensures children are ready to access the National Curriculum in Year 1.