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Exploring Emotional Development through Sound

An identifiable marker of learning is through the conversation it can generate. As sound and noise can affect our moods it is integral to self-regulation and how children can contribute to their emotional wellbeing.

Written by: Jo Harris - Educational Advisor  

Embedding quality resources within children’s programs can make learning and communication more comfortable in a few simple ways that can provide many benefits after introducing them and how they may help children who interact with them.

Listening activities can be fun and involve whole-body movement and participation from learners. An outcome centred on the feeling and energy created by engagement between adults and children during these experiences can make them both enjoyable and purposeful for all involved.

Children’s social and emotional learning is pivotal to supporting a positive sense of identity as they begin their learning journey. Activities and experiences such as those created in role play provide opportunities for self-expression and relationship building. Creating teachable moments is made possible by utilising resources that support speaking and listening skills through conversations. 

Differing points of view can be explored, and voices heard during group and individual play. Time spent intentionally teaching children a range of strategies (on which they can draw during independent play) that support their growing vocabulary and expression of what they need to meet their needs as well as others. This can change the type of play and the quality of interactions seen when using selected resources designed for these functions.

Role Play

A vital part of role-play for children is exploring relationships between people and how that may change depending upon each interaction. Including a variety of dolls representing communities that celebrate diversity can encourage children to discuss similarities and differences between people.

The Miniland Latin American Boy with Hearing Aid doll is just one from the larger range of the inclusive set in which children can practically support children with information that accurately portrays concepts of prosocial behaviours and respect for others that could be added to a Home Corner along with other dolls and resources.


Group/Circle times with an Emphasis on Social and Emotional Learning

Children can be further supported to address their questions and curiosities by reading the Big Book - Let's Learn About Different Abilities. As educators, children follow our lead when it comes to modelling pro-social skills. Real-life examples are given which provide clear steps and language to help children make connections between themselves and others.

Baby Signing Board Books can support learners with simple sign language to help convey their needs and feelings. Incorporating familiar songs and fingerplays that children can sing, mime, and sign along with builds their confidence and provides an additional method that adds to their conversations and exchanges with others. The visual cues used can also enhance children’s communication skills so as not to have to rely on aural (listening) skills alone making it more inclusive for all.

Transition times 

Giving an audible sign to prepare for a change in activity/routine can be made easier by using an instrument or playing a CD that draws children’s attention in a subtle way - this can make a bigger difference than just relying on the same tone of voice that becomes blended into the mix of the whole group. During outside play, children may become more attuned to change, including weather patterns by hearing the tinkling sounds of Glass Wind Chimes.

Quiet Activities & Relaxation Time 

Children can develop a sense of autonomy over their listening habits by being able to independently operate a cd player set with a story cd during solitary or group play. It can be heard differently with added sound effects to emphasise different parts of the story with music to convey emotions or characters to make them distinguishable from one another. Adding a whiteboard and markers to the listening area, children may like to express their learning and understanding by drawing words, letters, and images associated with their experience. Setting up music near a painting easel could also inspire their imaginations!


Science and Mathematical Exploration

An identifiable marker of learning is through the conversation and discussion it can generate.  Listening as marble trickles down a Marble Run can give children information as to where it will travel next and may prompt some changes in the way they modify the run to change course.

Children can make predictions about the way sound works by listening to the sound and tones made by experimenting with Marble Tree Tower, Timber Pound A Ball Tower, or Timber Rain Maker. This supports their skills as young scientists who are investigating how the world around them works and is an easy way to learn about the basics of physics and energetic matter.

Learning about concepts including measurement, estimation, and prediction can be made simpler using resources such as the ‘Wheelie Long’. This play wheel makes a clicking sound as it moves around. Able to be used during both indoor and outdoor play, children can have a multi-sensory experience both visually by watching how much they have moved around and aurally, by listening to the clicker to indicate where they are, supporting different learning styles.

Children may like to use it to help them to decide where to set up a play area and measure it out against other activities in the surrounding area. 

Many of Bellbird’s resources are selected due to the possibility that they can be multi-functional and open-ended for a range of ages and stages of development.

Whether the emphasis is on listening to the sounds of birds and other wildlife during outdoor activity, enjoying the noises made when wearing gumboots and squelching mud or splashing in puddles, they both provide the chance for children to make connections to simple pleasures in life, leading to moments that are shared with others as their reflect and review them.

Moments of mindfulness

Moments of mindfulness can be captured through daily transitions that emphasise quietness and stillness. Learning how sound and noise can affect our moods during interactions with others is integral to self-regulation and how children can contribute to their emotional growth.

As each early learning environment differs, so will the needs and opportunities to create and experiment with different combinations of resources that become interactive activities that reflect the learning and listening styles of each member of their learning communities.

For more information about supporting children with their communication skills and development in your service, please visit

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