Aims: To improve listening, concentration and attention skills To produce sounds and develop expressive language To practise turn-taking To experiment and try new ideas where there are no right or wrong answers To develop co-ordination and functional fine motor skills To experience the fun of music-making Elements of EY development addressed in Musical Beginnings sessions: Understands expected levels of behaviour Confidence and self-esteem Can take turns and share Can sit still for a short period Can separate from parents/carers Communication and language skills needed to communicate needs and listen to others Can actively learn and creatively and critically think Musical Beginnings classes have been run successfully for over 20 years at the Music Centre. For the purposes of the Essential Life Skills project the offer can take one of two forms – either weekly 30 minute sessions for groups of 15 nursery children or fortnightly one hour sessions. In both cases the children should be accompanied by one member of school staff and the sessions will be delivered by one of our specialist, experienced Early Years teachers. The sessions are based on Early Years themes such as people, myself, animals, weather and transport and can be adapted to follow school topics, therefore developing a range of relevant vocabulary. The rhythm and rhyme of songs and chants used encourages and promotes speech, including counting songs and hello songs sung to each child to develop self-esteem. Over a period of time children build up a repertoire of simple, familiar songs, becoming more confident singing with others and by themselves. Sessions are stimulating and energetic and include many visual and physical props such as scarves and puppets as well as gross motor activities such as moving to live music in different ways and singing circle songs. A range of percussion instruments are used, needing control and concentration to create a variety of musical sounds such as fast and slow, loud and soft. Links to stories relating to the theme can also be suggested to aid progress in literacy. Social skills such as turn taking, listening to and looking at others are also developed, whilst focused listening to pieces of recorded music develops concentration and physical responses to music through movement.