Musical Engagement in the Infant and Toddler Room: Gaining insights to transform practices

Year: 2016

Author: Pestana, Ginette

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Singing and musical play are long established practices with infants and toddlers. The benefits of sensitive, responsive and reciprocal interactions through active musical engagement are found to have major impact on a young child's social, emotional and cognitive development. From a review of available research, it was revealed that professionals in early childhood settings offer occasional and limited musical engagements due to inexperience or lack of training. Educators in the infant and toddler rooms face even more challenges of having to balance the high demand for care with quality engagement. This paper presents findings from a case study reviewing musical practices of professionals in an infant and toddler room in long day care setting. The analysis of data collected from direct observations and semi-structured interviews reveals the presence of spontaneous musical engagements which are more instinctive rather than informed in nature and demonstrate a lack of awareness and understanding of the type of musical engagement that best benefits infants and toddlers. These findings provide insights that will assist in developing effective professional development programs and refine pre-service teacher training that will empower and transform musical engagement practices of professionals in the infant and toddler room. This research contributes to the limited studies available about what happens in the infant and toddler room in regards to musical practices of professionals. It also focuses on an overlooked but very important aspect of infant and toddler care and development and how to improve its implementation in long day care centres.