Every child needs effective early childhood development experiences to be successful, but disadvantaged children can be least likely to get them.
Nobel Memorial Prize Laureate Professor James Heckman has proven that investing in the early childhood development of disadvantaged children will produce great returns to individuals and society in better education, health, economic and social outcomes.
In a recent speech to policymakers, advocates, philanthropists, scholars and members of the media at the White House Summit on Early Education, Professor Heckman stated, “Quality early childhood programs for disadvantaged children are not entitlements or bottomless wells of social spending. They are not government boondoggles. The investments we make today in disadvantaged young children promote social mobility, create opportunity and foster a vibrant, healthy and inclusive society and economy.”
It is with similar principles in mind that Playgroup Queensland Ltd established the Sing&Grow program over 14 years ago.
Sing&Grow is a National community driven music therapy project that provides services for disadvantaged young children and their families. Programs focus on strengthening family relationships, building capacity in parents to support their children's development in the early years of life, and encouraging the use of music within communities.
Sing&Grow works to promote the strength of family and community as participants experience for themselves the value of connectedness. Through the sharing of both traditional and non-traditional children's songs, Sing&Grow provides families with a safe space to interact in new and positive ways, to increase their confidence to use music and play at home, and to learn new ways to support child development.
The quality of family life has been found to directly impact upon child development with risk factors including family conflict, marriage breakdown, low socio-economic status and parental criminality. The Sing&Grow program targets families experiencing these and other pressures and builds on their existing strengths to enhance attachment and bonding between parent and child, in turn promoting optimal child development. The program is structured in a way that lends itself to modelling, peer learning and facilitated learning for the parents involved through encouragement of their skills and strengths.
Parents participating in Sing&Grow reported that the program taught them about child development, taught them new parenting strategies and improved their relationship with their child. While feedback from staff at community service organisations that hosted Sing&Grow Community Placements indicates that the program helped improve their rapport with client families, built their capacity to engage with families, and improved parents’ confidence to engage in other supports.
To find out more about the program and the services offered visit the Sing&Grow website.
Let’s Sing&Grow is a collection of songs designed specifically to bring families together to share time, fun, creativity, a little bit of silliness and a whole lot of joy. The 18 tracks and a lyric booklet are available to download or on CD at the Sing&Grow shop. All proceeds go towards providing the Sing&Grow program to families in need.