Supporting Early Years Transition to School Through Music

Early Year Transition


The summer months will be a period of early years transition for those children starting “Big School” in September. Boogie Mites Tutors will be busy throughout June and July delivering early years transition workshops and courses. Many of these are delivered in partnership with local authorities and schools in Hampshire and Surrey under our Family Learning contracts. Chichester University’s independent evaluation of Boogie Mites parent education courses found that they positively impacted the parents taking part. They improved the parents knowledge, confidence and home practise to support their children’s development. Our School Ready Through Music Family Learning courses are valued as a key part of the early years transition programme by schools. We have worked with these schools for many years in the most disadvantaged areas of Hampshire and Surrey.


You don’t need to be a musician to lead brain-boosting music-making activities; you just need training and resources. The confidence will come with practice. In this blog post, we share some ideas and activities that are effective in developing school ready literacy skills through music. You can find out more about using music for specific EYFS outcomes in our Practitioner’s Guide to Active Music Making:

Request Practitioner Guide

There are four aims considered most important for early years music practise. These maximise the potential benefits for brain development and prepare the brain for learning foundations for literacy and maths; ready for starting school.


As soon as children are able to move and keep the beat, they can learn to synchronise actions, developing their rhythmic awareness. Nursery rhymes go some way to support this development. Regularly moving-to and keeping-with the beat will assist their potential to develop rhythmic awareness. Maximise the effectiveness on their development by using body percussion and instruments with music that has a strong, steady drum beat.

  • Use instruments to keep the beat such as shakers, sticks and drums.
  • Keep the beat with actions – marching, bobbing up and down, body percussion such as clapping, stamping and thigh-tapping.
  • Play along with different styles of recorded music with a strong drumbeat
  • Create rhythmic patterns of sounds, actions, body percussion sequences and words.

Listening to musical arrangements from birth helps to develop pitch and melodic awareness. Encourage children to listen to and sing daily with a wide range of melodies. This will help them to develop awareness of pitch, tempo, dynamics and refine their ability to hear and sing in tune. Again, nursery rhymes will go some way to support this development. However, engaging with and responding to recorded music of many different styles and genres, offers the best opportunity to fulfil their development of melodic awareness.

  • Use the call-and-response method for leading sequencing of vocal sounds and instrumental sounds – musical games.
  • Play listening games with different musical sounds representing different actions/sounds.
  • Play and sing along with different styles of recorded music with catchy melodies, and introduce harmonies.
  • Use songs/rhymes to tell stories, developing expression in story telling skills supported by the dynamics, tempo and lyrics of the song.

Playing with words through musical activities can further support this aim. Nursery rhymes help to achieve this, but more specifically developed musical activities with a focus on the sequencing of sounds, actions and syllables will advance their growing phonological awareness most effectively.

  • Finish the rhyme line with rhyming words; play with rhyming pairs within a song.
  • Use tapping sticks to tap out the rhythm (syllables) of words within a song.
  • Use sound talk in songs or rhymes to sound out the phoneme sounds of words.

Our “Let’s Tap A Word” song is great for this activity, request a copy here:

Request Let’s Tap A Word


Feel the excitement too! All of the above activities will be wasted if the adults and children taking part are not enthusiastic and motivated. It is of utmost importance that the music used is engaging and inspiring for all involved. Use funky, modern, upbeat recorded music, as well as singing a cappella for activities. The themes need to captivate the child’s imagination; but also the style of music should be interesting to the adult’s ear as well as to the child’s.


It is time to be more adventurous with early years music making, to heed the wealth of scientific evidence, to harness the brain boosting power and strengthen school ready skills through music at this vital stage. Read some testimonials from schools who have used Boogie Mites to ready their children for starting school:

“Boogie Mites provides an invaluable resource to reach out to parents and children overcoming the barriers and achieving trust. They are an excellent way of engaging target parents, in addition to improving outcomes for young children. Boogie Mites meets the 7 aspects of Letters and Sounds Phase 1 which provides rich pre-reading skills. Children enter school with well below these skills, so it is an important part of transition.”
Sue Aspland, Head Teacher, Springfield Infants School, Waterlooville, Hampshire.

“Boogie Mites have delivered workshops at Gomer and Elson Infant Schools in Gosport each Summer term for the last 4 years. All parents and children who will be starting in Year R in September are invited to attend one of 3 Boogie Mites School Ready parent workshops in early July. The 45-minute workshop covers a selection of Boogie Mites songs from their School Ready Programme supporting Letters and Sounds Phase 1. Parents and children are fully engaged throughout and parents are given information about how the activities support language and listening skills at this stage. Take up and feedback if very good. Each family take a CD home and are encouraged to practice at home over the Summer. We find this is a valuable support to our transition.”
Debby Marshall, Head Teacher Gomer and Elson Infants Schools, Gosport, Hampshire

“It is a valuable addition to the children as they start school in September and would definitely recommend this programme of Transition. The children respond well, and parents are strongly encouraged to use the CD at home.”
Joanne Stanworth, Deputy Head, Sharpes Copse Primary, Havant, Hampshire

Find out what Parents who have used Boogie Mites for their child’s School Transition think:

“Boogie Mites has helped with transition. Ellie has enjoyed singing the songs at home. I have enjoyed getting to know other children and parents. This has been an excellent transition.”

“He gained confidence in using English. Prior to 6 weeks ago I was in Japanese! Inspired to help him with pre-school study and for me to make friends.”


If you would like to get School Ready with Boogie Mites, visit our online shop: Parents and carers – try our School Ready Parent Pack (now with FREE shipping!). Teachers and Pre-School practitioners – try our School Ready Literacy Practitioner Pack. If you are already a Licensee setting for Boogie Mites School Ready Programme you can purchase the Parent Involvement Workshop Pack to learn how to lead a workshop or course for parents and pre-school children as part of the early years transition.

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