In Michigan there are approximately 15,000 homeless children. The average homeless child is 7 years old.
The Coalition on Temporary Shelter (COTS) not only provides emergency shelter and transitional housing but also comprehensive support services for the homeless and at-risk population of Detroit. This includes day care facilities at the COTS Bright Beginnings Child Development Center, which also serves children of low-income families.
This project funds five 45-minute sessions of music therapy for 20 children who attend the Bright Beginnings center. Through musical play, music therapists encourage children's musical, cognitive, social and emotional development.
The Music Therapy program is administered by highly qualified therapists at the Michigan State University Community Music School. Join with COTS to give children from at-risk populations the opportunity to learn and grow with music.
20 homeless or low-income children will participate in five 45-minute music therapy sessions over the course of 5 months. $1,000 is the cost of registration for up to 20 children, which provides for two music therapists for the duration of the program. There will not be any transportation costs incurred, as the Community Music School is about a block away from the COTS shelter.
Early childhood music education exposes children to many different kinds of music and movement with a fun curriculum proven to enhance brain activity.
A 2004 Stanford University study showed that mastering a musical instrument improves the way the human brain processes parts of spoken language. They also discovered that musical training helps the brain work more efficiently in distinguishing split-second differences between rapidly changing sounds that are essential to processing language.
Bright Beginnings Child Development Center follows the research based High Scope curriculum and blends developmentally appropriate activities with care and nurturing for children from 6 weeks through 6 years old. The Center is licensed by the State of Michigan. In fiscal year 2010-11, the Center served 153 infants and toddlers coming from homeless and low-income families. All mastered minimum age-appropriate skills and all met their developmental milestones while in care at Bright Beginnings; many acquired advanced level skills.
Bright Beginnings uses the Infant-Toddler Child Observation Record, which is an observational assessment instrument that documents children’s growth over time based on evidence in the form of anecdotes and portfolio items.
The music programs are provided by a Michigan State University extension program which is located across the street from COTS’ main shelter at Peterboro. Participants include children of homeless residents at COTS, as well as low-income children from the community who are enrolled in the COTS Bright Beginnings Child Development Center. The music therapy session is an extra-curricular activity for the children who are already served by COTS’ Child Development Center.
Through musical play, music therapists encourage children's musical, cognitive, social and emotional development. Child/caregiver group sessions help children develop tonal and rhythmic awareness while building skills in the physical, interpersonal, and language domains. At the Child development center, cuddle time, feeding and nap time are of particular importance given the inconsistent family life from which many of these babies come. Naps and feedings are conducted at the same time each day, with additional food or sleep time given to infants that may have been lacking prior to Center enrollment. Teachers and volunteers are trained to provide social, loving attachments to the youngsters in their care. At every opportunity caregivers reinforce to these babies that they are special, that they matter and that they are loved.
Of equal importance are activities that maximize large and small motor, sensory, and cognitive experiences.
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