Volume 10, Issue 2

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Music and Early Child Care    

The term "Mozart Effect" became popular about 20 years ago after researchers found that listening to Mozart can enhance a person's spatial reasoning. When the news hit, many parents and educators (along with the media and toymakers) were thrilled by the idea that "Mozart makes your smart."


Since that time, our understanding of the correlations between music and the brain has evolved. We know music can play a critical, pivotal role in brain development; however, we also know that simply listening to Mozart won't make you smarter. Listening to certain kinds of music does appear to provide short-term enhancement of various spatial reasoning skills, and those are definitely important, but that is not the most important reason to include more music in early childhood education.


Listening to music is generally pretty good for the brain, but the real benefits arise when the brain truly engages with the music. The connection between math and music is undeniable, beginning with music notation (e.g., chords and time signatures): written music is essentially a mathematical equation. And if you have ever danced or tapped your foot to the beat, then you probably aren't surprised to hear that the human brain is innately attracted to a steady rhythm and the repetitive structure shared by popular songs. As you dance and sing along to that favorite song, your brain is tuning into what is essentially a mathematical sequence. Furthermore, brain researchers have long recognized the complementary link between mathematical reasoning and musical stimulation in the brain's temporal lobes.


What does it all mean for early childhood professionals? Moreover, since funding issues and the push to meet academic standards tend to displace music instruction (among other things), how can educators present the case for more music in the curriculum?


Remember, it is important to be engaged with the music, not just to listen to it.

  • Sing and dance! Children who learn academics through music and dance retain the information better than those who learn by verbal instruction alone. Of course, it is probably not practical or reasonable to transform the entire curriculum into a song and dance routine, but a little bit every day can help the brain develop thinking skills that it can use any time, whether there is music or not.

  • Encourage children to play instruments! Children who study instruments tend to be better at solving complex mathematical equations. That temporal lobe has a lot to do with that, but so do the attention to detail and discipline required to learn an instrument. It turns out that learning to play a song on the piano is not all that different, mentally speaking, from learning to solve a math problem or visualizing something in your mind and then drawing it. These skills are all interrelated, and learning an instrument can help improve all these skills. Piano and violin are traditional starter instruments, but there are plenty of alternatives, including a host of rhythm instruments and simple wind instruments, like kazoos and recorders. Experimentation is always fun and welcome, but practice is the key!

  • Music theory! The term "music theory" may sound boring or daunting, but really it's just a term to describe the study of the fundamental elements of music, such as rhythm, scales, melody, harmony, etc. When children learn about these specific elements, their brains engage with the music in much the same way as those of an actual musician. In other words, you don't need to learn the violin or piano in order to gain some of the cognitive benefits of music.

And, please, do not be fooled by claims in children's television shows or video games that children will experience a magical "Mozart effect" just because the renowned composer is featured on the soundtrack for a cartoon or game. Research has confirmed that television has enough adverse effects to counteract any benefits a child might gain by simply listening to Mozart.


Lastly, remember that music isn't just important for development of spatial reasoning or math skills. It is important for emotional and social reasons, as well. So don't be afraid to expose children to a wide range of (appropriate) music, sometimes just for fun and enjoyment, sometimes just for learning, and sometimes for both.

CCEI Online Professional Development Completions Reach 1,400,000

CCEI is proud to announce that its students have completed more than 1,400,000 professional development hours and over 6,200 certificate programs online.

CCEI has offered high-quality online child care training since 2005. Students continue to appreciate the competency-based, self-paced coursework that allows them to fulfill their training requirements at home, work, or anywhere they have Internet access. CCEI online professional development training courses are open for enrollment at any time and IACET CEU credit is awarded upon successful completion. Child care establishments, out of school time providers, associations, administrators, and individuals choose CCEI for continuing education, and to remain updated on relevant topics and recommendations for best practices.

CCEI Promotes Music Education in the Early Childhood Environment

CCEI is proud to offer CHD100: Music in Early Childhood as an online no-cost trial child care training course to new CCEI users during the month of February.

Children exposed to music at a young age are more likely to communicate with others and recognize the aesthetics in their own culture.This course promotes an understanding of the importance of music in the early childhood years and the ways in which it can enhance children's lives. Upon successful completion of this course, participants will be able to define the role of music in a child's development, identify the impact of music on children's moods and behaviors, and design appropriate musical activities.

Individual Professional Development Subscriptions for only $99 per year!  
CCEI offers over 100 IACET CEU-awarded online child care training courses that meet continuing education requirements. CCEI has professional development offerings in English and Spanish, and courses are accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year from any computer with Internet access. 
Center-Based Subscriptions 
Center-Based Subscriptions are a great way for directors to manage and administer continuing education for staff members. CCEI's Center-Based Subscriptions, available for small and large centers, allow directors to provide training for as little as $20 per teacher for the entire year!
Online CDA Coursework
CCEI's Online CDA Certificate programs of study meet the clock-hour training requirement of The Council for Professional Recognition, which is needed in order to apply for the Child Development Associate (CDA) credential. CCEI's CDA Certificate programs focus on the six CDA Competency Goals established by The Council and contain the required hours in each of the eight specified content areas.

Online Director Programs
CCEI offers several online programs for directors including the Online Director's Certificate and
Director's Certificate Renewal, Georgia Director's Certificate, Texas Director's Certificate and Texas Director's Certificate Renewal, and Florida Director's Certificate Renewal. These programs provide the professional development required for early childhood professionals seeking to further their skills and knowledge in the management of a child care center. Each student receives support from an Education Coach (EC) and CCEI's Customer Support Help Desk.

CCEI Early Childhood Credential 

The CCEI Early Childhood Credential (ECC) is designed to give a basic framework of early childhood theory and application through online content-based coursework, reading assignments, practical application exercises, essays, parent interviews, classroom observation and oral and written exams. The instructional units and the 180 hours of coursework cover major topics in early childhood education including the Principles of Child Growth and Development; Safe, Healthy Environments; Social and Emotional Development; Motor, Language, and Cognitive Development; Principles of Child Assessment; Program Management, Families, and Professionalism. The credential awards 18 IACET CEUs, and is recognized by NAEYC to meet a part of the Alternative Pathways for directors to achieve educational qualifications. The ECC is a clear pathway toward higher education and raising the knowledge and skills of the early education workforce. Holders of the CCEI Early Childhood Credential can be considered qualified for Head Start positions that require a minimum of a CDA or other certificate. Graduates of CCEI's Early Childhood Credential (ECC) will have met all training, portfolio, and observation requirements of the national CDA Credential and only need to complete the Council's exam at a PearsonVue testing center to finalize the CDA Credential application process.The ECC is an expanded program that incorporates the other CDA required elements such as the formal observation and portfolio creation.


CCEI coursework is eligible for college credit through articulation with one of CCEI's articulation partners, and has received college credit recommendations by the National College Credit Recommendation Service (National CCRS), which has more than 1,500 schools willing to consider college credit recommendations. Contact Admissions at 1.800.499.9907, or visit the ChildCare Education Institute website for more information or to enroll online.


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