Beth Frook ~ Little Hands KindermusikClifton, VA
Study synopsis The Role of Music in the Development of Self-Regulation in Preschool Children.
In 2005, Beth Frook shared a granddaddy of a Foundations of Learning (FOLs) in her Kindermusik class. A local university had recently conducted a study on 3-and-5-year old children in her program titled “The Effects of Kindermusik on Behavioral Self-Regulation in Early Childhood.” *See editors note at the bottom of this column.
It proved what Beth—and many other Kindermusik Educators—already knew:
The longer you stay in Kindermusik, the better.
Specifically, the study showed:
· Children currently enrolled in Kindermusik showed higher levels of self-control than those never enrolled and those previously enrolled. …This suggests that in order for children to reap the benefit of increased self-control as a result of Kindermusik participation, it is important to have repeated and recent Kindermusik experiences and remain enrolled in the program.
· Four-year-old children who had been exposed to Kindermusik for longer periods of time are better off in terms of self-control—namely a child’s ability to plan, guide, and control their own behavior—than similar children with less Kindermusik history.
· These experiences, stop-go, high-low, fast-slow, short-long, and loud-soft, whereby children’s motor behavior is guided by the music, appear to be good exercise for young children’s emerging self-regulatory skills.
Below, Beth shares her reaction to the study and the role that research plays in her Kindermusik classes.
Why do you think this research was important for your parents?
I think it adds impetus to a parent’s decision-making because it’s more than just saying, “Okay, we’ve done Kindermusik, let’s try something else.” It encourages a parent to go beyond the smorgasbord approach to children’s activities. A lot of times parents will say, “We’ll do art, then soccer, then swimming.” A study like this encourages families to look at the value of re-enrolling. Repetition is vital for a child’s learning, and currently in our culture, it’s not viewed that way.
How did you share this information with parents?
I walked into class that day and said, “Guess what?” Lots of parents knew about the study because Adam Winsler—who led the study—is also married to Kathy, who teaches with us.
Study results were made available to Kindermusik in May, 2005. The study was conducted by Adam Winsler Ph.D and graduate student Lesley Ducenne in the Department of Psychology at George Mason University.
The 15-month study included 91 children between the ages of 3 and 5 who were split into three groups: 23 students currently enrolled in Kindermusik, 19 students previously enrolled in Kindermusik, and 49 students of similar family backgrounds from local preschools who had never had Kindermusik.
The children were observed doing a variety of tasks that required self-control such as slowing down their motor behavior, delaying their gratification, refraining from touching attractive but forbidden toys, quietly whispering, and compliance with instructions to initiate or stop certain behaviors. Parents also completed surveys.
The study, supervised by Adam Winsler, Ph.D, Applied Developmental Psychology in the Department of Psychology at George Mason University, will likely be presented at national conferences and published later this year.