The verdict is out: grade-three students at the Tarrant Primary School in Kingston are learning better since music has been incorporated in their curriculum.
Gloria Simpson is a grade-three coordinator, who supervises three other teachers across four classes at the grade-three level.
Simpson says she can attest that the inclusion of music in the daily curricular activities does have a positive bearing both on children's behaviour and their educational development.
She was one of 50 principals and teachers from across nine primary schools in Kingston, Mandeville and St James who benefited from a series of music workshops since October 2012, equipping them with the knowledge of how to infuse music within the classrooms to enhance learning among their students.
These overall project falls under the Music, Perfect Pitch for A Sound Education programme - a joint undertaking between First Global Bank (FGB), First Global Financial Services (FGFS) - subsidiaries of GraceKennedy, and the Ministry of Education. The programme commenced in October, 2011 but Tarrant Primary joined in February.
"Having attended the workshops, I find the methodology to be very effective, and I am seeing where music can enhance literacy and numeracy not just at Tarrant, but throughout Jamaica," Simpson said, supporting her reasoning with theoretical and statistical data from renowned psychologists Howard Gardner and Lev Semenovich Vygosky. "We really appreciate First Global for sponsoring this project."
The school's principal, Thelma Porter, agrees that the inclusion of music into the educational mix has been better enabling students' learning ability.
"When I heard about the programme I got very excited. I am big on literacy and over the years I have done research which tells me that music enhances literacy, so I thought I must have this programme in my school," she said. "Once the children get involved in music, they are moving, touching and singing ... having fun and are more likely to learn," Porter said.