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Mediterranean Early Childhood Music Education: raising children’s musicality, evaluating music learning and enabling teachers’ preparation.
Start date: Sep 1, 2014, End date: Feb 28, 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

MUSICHILD raises early childhood music education (=ECME) to the status of a professional specialized subject in early childhood education and care, offering direction and order, flexibility and versatility in ECME and teacher preparation. ECME is fundamental in the psychokinetic, emotional, psychological, social, mental and imaginative development of children. Musical communication and development of musical processes in humans develop in parallel with language as fundamental parts of the human evolutionary potential for socio-cultural growth. Although there is unprecedented expansion of provision of ECME in kindergartens, early childhood care centres and afternoon music schools in Europe and recently in the Mediterranean the Need Analyses in our countries concluded that: there is a chaotic and unrelated offering of different programmes, official and unofficial, that are not adequately efficient and do not correspond to the cultural context, often disconnected from children’s and teachers’ musical abilities, interests and identities incorporating inappropriate material from teaching practices for older children from imported commercial ECME programmes from US and UK. Teaching practices are governed by western ethnocentrism and ideologies of musical talent that do not allow all young children to enter into meaningful musical discourses of participating and creating. Teacher training is very poor; Early childhood educationalists and musicians understand the importance of music but lack the proper pedagogical skills, knowledge and confidence to teach music to young children. MUSICHILD is a firm response to the above. It joins forces by acclaimed ECME specialists from Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Spain with an international ECME authority from Israel, the external evaluator. It takes into account the voices of children, teachers, researchers, rich and diverse Mediterranean musical traditions and practices and international perspectives in ECME in order to establish multicultural and intercultural ECME curricula, methodologies and material and devise child-led, playful, music-centered, agency-focused, integrated and appropriate ECME. MUSICHILD's research, by travelling through all the steps of multiculturalism develops more global musically-oriented educational methodologies – the ways structured sounds have created musical meaning out of features of the culture from which music springs - to direct the content, structure and methodology of ECME. These all-encompassing methodologies aim for developing in young children intelligence of poly-musicality, multicultural confidence and deeper understanding of the sonorous expressiveness of music and how the musical experience is related to cultural values and experiences. MUSICHILD intercepts and connects with children’s creative processes, thereby allowing music education to advance and enrich children’s creative capabilities. MUSICHILD focuses on human agency in ECME teacher education as well and aims to bridge the gap between generalist and music specialists in teacher’s preparation. Therefore is extents a large ethnographic research on teachers’ identities and best practice in educating them. MUSICHILD will develop curricula, intercultural teaching methodologies and material, a 30-hour training course for 20 trainees (graduate-teachers, ECME teachers),4 workshops for 200 participants and an assessment and evaluation tool for 3-5 ½ year old children’s music learning and musicality, final conference for more than 150 participants, e-book, music education manual with teaching activities and sound material, a website, leaflets and intense media social awareness activities, at least six journal research papers, two symposiums and four paper presentations and four workshops in regional, European and International Conferences. Integration of the practical and theoretical knowledge emerging from this partnership in Mediterranean, European and worldwide graduate music education institutions’ and training centres' coursework and in-service training music education courses can provide opportunities to large numbers of professionals to gain skills and knowledge. This will transform their awareness about young children’s musical behaviours and learning as well as critical thinking needed now and in the future, thus improving their professional quality creativity and performance in early childhood music education; their future employability in formal, semi-formal or informal learning environments and educative contexts and activities. Hundreds of educationalists and stakeholders in ECME will be reached through diverse, multiple and systematic dissemination activities in local, European and International, via Music education associations (EAS, MERYC, ISME, ECME) and the formation of a Mediterranean forum and Euro-Mediterranean network with subsequent regular activities in order to impact thousands of children's music education at present and for forthcoming generations.
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