Editor’s view - Music to Our Ears

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With official guidance on early years learning and development hard to find, we should welcome a new resource for music

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Liz Roberts

The lack of early years curriculum guidance and support feels very apparent at the moment, so the launch of a new free resource Musical Development Matters is heartening and should prove very useful to all those concerned with young children’s learning and development.

Its author, Nicola Burke, explains the origin, development, content and intention of MDM in our ‘All About…’ feature on pages 23-26.

As its name suggests, MDM is presented in the same format as Development Matters, the now non-statutory guidance for the Early Years Foundation Stage, which despite its removal from the main EYFS documents retains its popularity and usefulness for early years practitioners.

This accessible and recognisable format should mean that MDM will prove to be a great help in raising the profile of music in early childhood.

This is certainly needed. There has long been a lack of confidence among practitioners in providing musical experiences for children in the early years. Added to this is the increasing focus on ‘school readiness’ which is lessening opportunties for music. And the proposed revisions to the Early Learning Goal of Expressive Arts & Design have removed much of the creative aspects of music-making and dance, other than as ‘performing’ well-known rhymes and songs.

The future of Development Mattersitself is of course unknown as we move towards the revised early years curriculum. It is hard to imagine that it will be reformulated, at least in any official sense. Indeed, unless there are major changes to what is being proposed, it is hard to see how the new goals could be applied to this format.

How encouraging, though, that Nicola has developed the work of the Tri-borough Music Hub into a sector-led resource for music that should spread good practice far and wide.

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