Music can be very good for you. Plato spoke of its potential to foster ‘the growth of the soul’ and people have been claiming the beneficial effects of music ever since. This paper summarises evaluation findings on a music-centred project aimed at supporting the healthy educational, psychological and social development of nursery-aged children in a wide range of urban and rural areas in south east England. The project’s innovative, simple, cheap and immediately effective methods are presented to health and education practitioners as significant contributions to the development of young children in times of increasing financial hardship. The approach used to describe this project is also offered as an example of evaluation crossing boundaries between health and education, music, psychology and child care.
This report outlines the impact of the Early Years Music (EYM) project, delivered by Kent-based charity Music for Change to over 1450 children in 48 early years (EY) nursery and children’s centre settings in Kent over a 12 month period. The project introduced children aged 6 months to 5 years to a range of different musical instruments and progressive musical activities. The project aimed to enhance: the children’s musical and educational experiences; the musical experiences of parents/ carers; and the professional development of both EY staff and music practitioners.