Early music education as a tool for inclusion and respect for diversity : study paper for the Bernard van Leer Foundation.
This paper explores the topic of using music education activities as a way to address inclusion and respect for diversity with children. It is intended to inform the development of appropriate activities and indicators for the Bernard van Leer Foundation’s Social inclusion and respect for diversity issue area, particularly those which address the use of music in projects with young children. The study starts with an overview of musical development from prenatal to eight years of age and provides a review of the significant processes and outcomes of music education activities aimed at bringing together children in divided contexts. It is apparent that cross-community development of music skills has been and continues to be an effective means of addressing prejudice with young people. The study includes the analysis of interviews with sixteen experienced practitioners in Northern Ireland regarding ways in which music plays a part in facilitating respect and inclusion with young people, and an analysis of five children’s focus groups. It concludes with recommendations to bring this knowledge to the early childhood and lower primary school sector and some questions for further study.