Art should be an integral part of every early childhood program. Arts experiences at Little Spanish Garden not only contribute to children’s artistic and creative development but also to a wide range of skills in other areas, including perceptual, cognitive, language, and social skills.

  • Uses senses to explore what art materials can do (e.g., scribbles with jumbo crayons, uses fingers to swirl finger paint or shaving cream, squeezes oily molding dough).
  • Takes pleasure in exploring the textures of art materials (e.g., finger paints with abandon, squeezes play dough through fingers and squeals).
  • Explores basic art tools and materials (those that do not demand great manual dexterity) to see how they work (e.g., scribbles with chalk, finger paints on a tray, makes crayon dots on paper).
  • Shows a preference for particular textures and art experiences (e.g., delights in squeezing slick doughs).

“Art uses senses to explore what art materials can do”


Little Spanish Garden fosters an early love of music by listening to a variety of music, experimenting with instruments and singing songs. We also combined our circle time with Kindermusik International.

  • Reflects the overall mood of music (e.g., claps hands and moves body to a happy-sounding song).
  • Enjoys making own music and noise (e.g., shakes a maraca, mimics the sounds that adults make).
  • Uses musical sounds to aid in communication prior to the advent of language (e.g., babbles in a sing-song manner).
  • Explores musical instruments to see how they work (e.g., shakes bells, bangs piano keys).
  • Begins to understand that sounds and music affect behavior (e.g., can be startled by loud music, comforted by a musical stuffed animal).
  • Music brings another dimension of beauty into our lives. Music and movement benefit a child’s development in many ways.

Here are skills that music and movement can help develop

  • Participating in a group.
  • Social skills.
  • Express emotions.
  • Enhance self‐concept by sharing music and dance of each other’s culture.
  • Refine listening skills‐noticing changes in tempo or pitch.
  • Awareness of movement and body positions.
  • Creativity and imagination.
  • Learn new words and concepts.
  • Explore cause and effect.
  • Develop large motor skills.
  • Improve balance, coordination, and
    rhythm through dance and movement activities.
  • Improve small motor skills‐learning finger plays and playing musical instruments.

Play & Learning


Why Engaging in Play Is So Important

Ask any adult who has gone through a “traditional” education system what they recall of the facts and figures they were expected to memorize by rote. The situation is clear: rote memorization and learning techniques that are tedious and boring are highly ineffective. By engaging in play, young learners can dramatically enhance their ability to retain information, which leads to stronger language skills over time.

Make learning fun! This call-to-action is core to our philosophy at Little Spanish Garden, where we see play not just as an add-on to the learning experience but as a foundation upon which the learning experience is to be built. We want to see our young learners smiling while they are learning: only then can we be certain that they are learning effectively.