Musical Development Matters – a momentous achievement for all.

Musical Development Matters

Here at Boogie Mites, we are delighted to see the publication of Musical Development Matters non-statutory Guidance to the EYFS. We welcome the recognition that children’s musical behaviours in the Early Years are integral to their development.

Written by Nicola Burke, Musical Development Matters follows a similar format to the non-statutory guidance Development Matters due to the popularity and familiarity of that particular document. But it is not structured in terms of the EYFS areas of learning or the Early Learning Goals. It can be downloaded for free from the Early Education website.

Musical Development Matters (MDM) uses the themes that underpin the EYFS: A Unique child + Positive Relationships + Enabling Environments = Learning and Development. This had been used to structure the document and support practitioners in being able to become musical in their work and their interactions with the children in their care.

The document recognises four aspects of children’s musical learning and development: Hearing and Listening, Vocalising and Singing, Moving and Dancing and Exploring and Playing. What is especially exciting to see is how MDM recognises that “all vocal communication is comprised of musical elements…demonstrating that musicality is an intrinsic part of being human” (page 1), which makes an undeniable case for including music as a fundamental element within Early Years education.

Musical Development Matters is a fantastic guide to children’s musical behaviours across the 0-5 age range, with key examples of likely musical developmental behaviours, combined with ideas of how adults can facilitate experiences and environments to enable, value and nurture them. This is something that Boogie Mites has been including in its practitioner training for years and we are excited that this message will be reaching an even wider audience.

Although MDM does not make reference to the areas of learning across the EYFS, Boogie Mites maintains that music is an integral part of being able to support EYFS development and all of the musical activities in Boogie Mites programmes are linked to cross curricular early learning goals. We know that there is a wealth of evidence that links regular music-making in the Early Years to all areas of learning across the EYFS, with particular reference to positive outcomes for children with regards to literacy and numeracy:

“Children who undertake regular active music making at this stage have significantly higher cognitive capacity – specifically in their language acquisition and numerical problem-solving skills.” (Anita Collins, Neuroscience and Music Researcher, Bigger Better Brains, University of Canberra).

Closing the attainment gap

Indeed music can be used as an intervention in early years to contribute to closing the attainment gap that some children experience. The evaluation of neuroscience studies in this area by Anita Collins has identified that “music education can reverse the cognitive issues relating to disadvantage” (Sydney Morning Herald, 2015).  Boogie Mites music programmes, practitioner and parent education courses aim to contribute to this aim.

We support Achievement For All in their mission to raise awareness of the attainment gap and their Manifesto Every Child Included in Education launched in March this year. We believe that music is a fundamental way to support the closure of this gap and have developed many successful, evaluated early years music programmes which, with regular practice, aim to achieve the brain boosting benefits evidenced by neuroscience studies.

We were delighted to contribute to AFA’s Conference on Wednesday 17th October. Our Director, Sue Newman, was on the panel to discuss “Managing Transitions in the Early Years” alongside Maureen Hunt of AFA. We look forward to putting forward the case for music in this context, and how our music programmes can support not just an inclusive, social transition, but also the wider EYFS areas of learning and development at these times and beyond.

Music is an incredibly powerful, intrinsically human behaviour that has the potential to transform individuals and communities. Boogie Mites’ guiding principles have always recognised the innate musicality of children. We are thrilled that the new guidance is available to support practitioners and parents with introducing regular music practise for children from birth. It really is a momentous achievement for all.


For enquiries, contact Sue Newman, Boogie Mites Director, on 023 92 817274 or email her