Silence is golden (not!)
The old assumption is that children need silence in order to concentrate and learn. Today’s research shows that a little bit of background or “white” noise can actually help some children concentrate. Educator Liz Walsh of The Howard School states, “It’s important to be mindful of individual children’s preferences. Choose moments of silence in the classroom, and offer individual children the option of working with headphones and music.”
The use of music in the classroom can positively affect the learning atmosphere. Some teachers play non-distracting, quiet background music to get the creative juices flowing. Matthew Carden, a teacher at the Orion School, uses music in the background during certain activities such as handwriting or art and found that Sinatra was a hit with the kids! Students engaged in creative activities can benefit from harmonious and calming tunes. In contrast, other activities may need more upbeat tempos to help students maintain focus. In the afternoon, students often need more, not less, stimulation. Some teachers interviewed used music and dance to help the children get exercise after lunch, which helps their concentration levels in the afternoon.