Ms Lorna Berry1, Dr Alison Stewart1
1Sing&Grow, Playgroup Queensland, Australia
Some families experience barriers to accessing resources needed to provide a nurturing environment for their children, which can negatively impact their children’s development. This is demonstrated in the AEDC data for communities where factors such as poverty and isolation are high.
A protective factor for children in these contexts can be engagement with an ECEC, where their well-being is supported and their educational trajectories can be improved. In response to community need, Sing&Grow has developed a suite of resources to support Educators to use music purposefully to develop children’s school-readiness.
Drawing on our evidence-base, Sing&Grow has developed an online workshop and companion booklet that accompanies three pre-recorded sessions for Educators to use with children in the year before school. These sessions have been designed to support Educators to engage children in music activities focused on school-readiness: self-regulation, communication, and social skills.
Both staff- and child-focused outcomes of the program will be evaluated, including: staff knowledge, skills and confidence gained from the program; staff satisfaction of the program; and observed improvements in children’s school-readiness. Multiple likert-scale surveys and child observation ratings will be completed by Educators. Clear instructions, including definitions and descriptions of child behaviours for each rating scale, will be provided at each point of data collection, including: a short survey directly before (staff-pre) and after (staff-post 1) completing the online workshop, after (staff-post 2) facilitating the third recorded session, and 8 weeks after (staff-post 3) starting the program to track longer term impacts. Child behaviours will be rated before (child-pre 1) the first pre-recorded session, after (child-post 2) the third pre-recorded session and 8 weeks after (child-post 3) staff started the program. The quantitative data will be statistically analysed.
The evaluation project will be completed by early 2021, and findings and learnings will be shared in this paper.
Lorna Berry manages the QLD/NT Sing&Grow team and co-ordinates the Learning & Development for the national Sing&Grow team. Lorna has been involved with Sing&Grow since 2004, and is passionate about using music to build collaborative relationships at a family and community level to make a positive difference in the world.
Alison Stewart has been a Clinical Specialist (NSW) for the Sing&Grow team since 2015. She completed her PhD investigating how mother-infant singing contributes to attachment in 2014. She is passionate about supporting families be the best they can be, and helping parents and children reach their full potential.