Ready for School is an East Sussex Music project, commissioned by the charity Martlets Music funded by Youth Music, Arts Council England and East Sussex Music Hub.
Children in 6 pre-schools the majority of whom were identified as requiring support to develop their communication skills participated in a series of workshops from February 2017 for one year. Results from speech and language tests showed remarkable increases in ability particularly for those starting at below average for their age.
Standardised speech and language tests were carried out on 30 children. These showed greater progress than expected with the cohort starting test results averaging 40.9% (below the average of 50%) rising to 62.5% at the end. Tracking of all 90 children using development checklists mirrored these results.
Musical activities and stories embedded speech and language principles and the Sounds of Intent in the Early Years music progression framework. Songs were mainly from the Voices Foundation’s Inside Music resource. Average musical ability showed good progress with the majority of children able to sing in tune and confident to sing solos.
Pre-school and school teachers were invited to professional development workshops at the start of the programme and worked alongside professional music practitioners. This increased their confidence in delivering music activities with many citing how they had noticed the importance of music to aid speech and language development.
Reception teachers told us that the increase in children’s listening and concentrating skills had a positive impact on the children’s ability to engage with the whole curriculum.
Parents attended the initial workshops and those surveyed have increased in confidence to deliver musical activities. 100% of parents surveyed also reported that the programme had a positive impact on the children’s transition from pre-school to primary school.
The programme has been so popular with schools that many of the pilot schools have found funding to continue this year. East Sussex Music will be rolling the programme out for all schools from September 2018.
“It was particularly gratifying to see children who were normally reserved come alive during these sessions” (Reception Teacher)
“I thought there would be an impact, but wow what an impact on personal and social development too” (Nursery Teacher)
“I hoped to see an improvement in the children’s speech and language skills but I was blown away by just how large this improvement turned out to be” (Speech Therapist)
You can read the full evaluation and summary and watch the film at www.martletsmusic.org.uk/ready-for-school
For more information contact:
Curriculum Development Manager
East Sussex Music