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How does noise affect mood in your early learning centre or preschool?
Some children are especially sensitive to noise and can change their emotional state very quickly when noise affects mood.
We can think about the learning environment from a child’s eye-view – a child’s landscape – so why not from a child’s ear-shot – a child’s soundscape? What follows is a little fanciful piece. It’s my inner child writing her child’s ear-shot of the sounds she hears when she’s at preschool. I hope it gives you some inspiration for imagining how your centre sounds to the children who inhabit it.
My soundscape – the noise affects mood
“My soundscape speaks to me. Sirens are alarming, they are designed to blare across a quadrangle and reach everybody. The siren lets me know I’d better stop what I’m doing and follow the rules or I’ll be in trouble.
Happy-sounding music playing in the foyer sets a mood for the building and tells me that I can enjoy my time spent in this place.
The low rumbles of heavy traffic send me signals of unease all day long – something big is on the move just outside my environment – should I be afraid?
But the high-pitched tweeting of birds says everything’s fine, there is nothing to fear. The rustle of leaves and the trickle of a water fountain soothe me.
The shouting of an adult fills me with dread.The crying of another child makes me anxious about them and frightened for myself. But when I hear children singing, it makes me happy – I want to join in and be a part of the group.
Each sound in my environment has an emotional message of fear, comfort, happiness, danger or pleasure. The soundscape also influences how I move my body. Sounds entice me to move towards someone or something and let me know when to freeze or run away.
Sounds tell me when and where I belong and allow me to compare myself to the sound-source – I am fragile compared to a loud moving car, I am strong compared to a quietly purring kitten. I am proud because I know how to sing that song with everyone else. I am ashamed because that adult yelled at me.
The soundscape fills my brain with sensory information through the vibrations that are carried not only into my eardrums, but also into my skin, bones and all my organs. Ugly, unpleasant sounds are taking up energy in my brain and interrupting my flow. I need variety so that my brain doesn’t get tired. Please make sure I have some quiet time and some pleasant sounds during my day to take care of my sensitive brain.
Can you listen as I do? Simply sit still and listen to the soundscape a few times every day and wonder what it’s like to be me hearing those sounds. Does the soundscape tell you about the love of children and the love of learning? Is the soundscape inviting to my siblings, to new children, to families and visitors? How can you make my soundscape better so that I can learn and grow naturally? Because noise affects mood! Thank you!”
little Carol, age 3.5
OK, back to me the adult educator – if you need to soothe sensitive children try some of these candle songs, there’s nothing quite like a magical burning candle to fascinate an upset child. Click here Candle Burning Bright to find this lesson all about soothing candles in our second program for preschoolers, Sing and Play 2 Preschool Music Program.