A few things about March
March is…Music in Our Schools Month
March is …National Social Workers Month
March is… Read Across America Day
March is… Daylight Saving Time! March 13- Time Springs Ahead
March is… St. Patrick’s Day Celebration of all things Irish
March is… Spring begins March 20-June 20
Of course, we know there are many other very important dates and things to remember about March, but these are a few I thought I’d like to highlight, first being music in our schools. When I talk about the importance of music in our schools K-12, I often ask people, “How did you learn your ABCs?” They usually answer by singing them. And then I ask “ how did you learn your numbers? I think we all remember the song,
“One, two buckle my shoe. Three, four shut the door.
Five, six pick-up sticks. Seven, eight lay them straight.
Nine, Ten the big fat hen.”
Maybe, they don’t use that specific song any longer, but I can guarantee you that most schools teach many basic skills to students through song. Why? Because we learn through music. The more we learn about music, art, and the need for movement through exercise, dance, sports, and performing art, the more we see the need to include these essential subjects in our school curriculum.
The arts enhance and encourage the other core subjects of math, reading, and science, but for some reason, we have become so focused on testing that we’ve lost sight of the importance of teaching the whole child. Sometimes going back to the basics, our foundation, is what’s most important. It’s what we are grounded with and what helps form our minds.
Musical experiences in childhood can accelerate brain development. According to a study done by the University of South Carolina’s Brain and Creativity Institute, learning to play an instrument is linked to better mathematical skills and higher SAT scores. From a young age, music awakens all areas of child development; social, emotional, intellectual, motor skills, and language skills. Singing songs help children learn skills, sounds, and meanings of words. There are no downsides to introducing music to children. Please encourage the schools in your community to include MUSIC and the arts in their curriculum.
So, about March? What a great reminder to encourage the young people in our lives to read during this month of Read Across America. So many schools encourage special guests to come into their schools to read to the children to remind them of the importance of reading. Maybe you are a leader in your community, a leader in your church, or a parent that sees the importance of reading. Consider volunteering in a school by reading to children. It’s so very important.
Did you know that having books in your home can change the trajectory of a child’s academic pathway in a positive way? So how many books should we have at home? Studies show that literacy levels surge at 80 books. But having at least 20 or more books support literacy growth. When lots of books surround children, it helps build their vocabulary, increase awareness and comprehension, and expand horizons. This all benefits them in adulthood. But beyond literacy, studies show a correlation between a home full of books and the ability to use mathematical concepts in everyday life.
Many low-income houses have, on average, four children’s books in their homes. Researchers concluded that nearly two-thirds of the low-income families they studied owned no books for their children. These children lack essential one-on-one reading time. So much of what we read these days is on our digital devices. E-Books, Kindle, and other online books have become quite the norm. Although this is wonderful, it does mean you must be able to afford these devices and maintain them. So why is it important for all children to have access to books, to be able to read and grow in their literacy? Because children that read become adults that read. When adults read and have a higher literacy level, our community can become more advanced more educated which helps us have a healthy and strong community.
How can we help build a stronger community through literacy? What can we do to encourage all children to value reading and have books in their homes? Books may be too expensive for some people. Some ways to share books with children are donating books to schools or look for free book programs at your local library. Many public libraries hold book sales. Books can come from purged library collections or donated books from the public. You will find children’s books that are a dollar, $.50, and even $.25 at these sales and also at shops like Goodwill and the Salvation Army. Yard sales are a great place to pick up books too. And often you will see little free libraries in communities.
We all can do our part by teaching the love of reading to the young people in our lives. Give books for birthdays, holiday gifts, and congratulation gifts. Let us all do our part in promoting the need for better and higher literacy. We can help others sign up for free books through the Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library Program. https://imaginationlibrary.com/
Lastly, in this month of March, I want to acknowledge my firstborn, Samantha, who is celebrating her 30th birthday, and my Mom, Helen, who is celebrating her 80th birthday.
Happy birthday to all our March babies, and Happy Spring, Y’all!
Love to All,