Skip to main content

Fostering Development Through Music and Movement

By YWCA Minneapolis
February 22, 2023
Social Share

Our Early Childhood Education program has an enrichment specialist that visits all of our Children’s Centers weekly and implements enrichment activities in every classroom. The goal of enrichment is to support our YWCA curriculum and provide classrooms with additional resources that offer children a variety of creative experiences.

From September through May, all classrooms learn music and movement activities. During June through August, infant classrooms continue with music and movement activities, while toddler, preschool and school-age classrooms begin art and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) activities. The enrichment activities support the monthly YWCA curriculum themes along with core concepts.


Children learn music concepts such as beat, rhythm, tempo, pitch, dynamics (loud/soft), body percussion and vocal exploration.

Instrument Exploration

Children learn about new instruments and have opportunities to play music with them. Some instruments we have explored include a wooden frog guiro, djembe drum, shekere, maraca, castanet, tambourine and desk bells. Children also explore and make music with drums, egg shakers and rhythm sticks.

Singing and Movement Activities

Children can learn new and familiar songs. For example, in February, we sing songs about being healthy which include “I Like to Eat Apples and Bananas” and “Let’s Make Vegetable Soup.” Enrichment also supports children’s imagination through creative movement such as dancing, exploring scarves and other activities such as “Sway like the wind, jump like a kangaroo, fly like a bird, etc.”

Multicultural and Diverse Elements

Children learn and explore a variety of musical instruments and songs from around the world. During a theme about the weather, children learned the song “Ame, Ame,” which is a children’s Japanese song about the rain. February is Black History Month, and we are learning about jazz and jazz musicians such as Ella Fitzgerald. Along with songs and musicians, children also explore various instruments and learn about their origins.

Mindfulness Activities

Children explore and practice calming activities such as deep breathing and yoga/creative stretching. For deep breathing, children practice fun theme-related breathing techniques. In January, the theme was winter, so children learned how to take a snowman’s breath. For yoga/creative stretching, children practice movements that connect with the theme. In February, the theme is about healthy living, so children are stretching like a carrot and reaching like broccoli.

Literacy and Math Activities

Enrichment also includes literacy elements that teach children about rhyming, vocabulary, letter sounds, letter names and alliteration. In January, children read “The Mitten” by Jan Bret, and through using felt board characters and singing, they explored the book in a new way. Children also learn fingerplays (counting songs) such as “Five Little Carrots.”

Art and STEAM Activities

During the summer months, the toddler, preschool, and school-age classrooms explore various art mediums, learn and discuss various artists, and engage in STEAM activities. Last summer, children learned about the science of making bubbles and rainbows, created rainbow art activities, and learned about bubble artists. Children also explored the characteristics of paper and what they could can create with it. They designed and formed three-dimensional art structures and explored paper artists.

Getting the Family Involved

Each month families receive a letter outlining what their child is learning through enrichment. Families also receive a “Home Enrichment” page with a list of fun art, music, and movement activities they can try at home with their child that relates to the theme their child is learning in school.