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Harmonising Harmony: The Power of Songs and Singing to Counter Racism in Early Education

In the lively realm of early childhood education, where seeds of empathy and understanding are sown, educators and caregivers find themselves at the forefront of nurturing inclusivity.

Building upon our introduction to institutional racism [Clare, link to previous blog], this blog shifts focus to a fun and effective method for dismantling biases and promoting unity within the Early Years: the transformative world of songs and singing.

In this exploration, we’ll uncover how music influences young minds, consider selecting inclusive songs, delve into creating anti-racist melodies, and offer practical strategies for incorporating the magic of music into everyday education.

The impact of songs on young minds:
Music, with its universal language, has an unparalleled ability to connect with young minds on an emotional and cognitive level. Songs create a magical space where emotions are stirred, providing a gateway to deeper connections and understanding. This emotional engagement through music contributes to the creation of a positive and inclusive atmosphere in the classroom, laying the foundation for a nurturing learning environment.

Cognitively, the benefits of music are manifold. From enhancing memory and language skills to nurturing creativity, incorporating songs into early education enriches the cognitive experience of young learners. By choosing songs that celebrate diversity and inclusivity, educators can seamlessly introduce these values into children’s cognitive development.

IIn the work of early education, songs and singing emerge as powerful instruments for cultivating an inclusive environment.

Choosing inclusive songs:
To harness the full potential of songs in countering racism, it’s imperative to curate a collection that reflects the rich tapestry of our global community.

Incorporating anti-racist themes:
Taking a step beyond selecting inclusive songs involves actively incorporating anti-racist themes into the musical repertoire.

  • Creating original songs: Empower children by encouraging their participation in creating songs that celebrate differences and promote inclusivity. This collaborative approach instils a sense of ownership, creativity, and empathy among young learners.
  • Adapting traditional songs:
  • Modify lyrics of well-known songs to incorporate anti-racist themes. For instance, adapt the lyrics of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” to emphasize unity and friendship, transforming a familiar tune into a powerful tool for promoting understanding.

a group of diverse children holding hands and dancing and singing in a circle
Implementation strategies:
The integration of music into the educational landscape involves practical strategies that resonate with young learners.

  • Regular sing-along sessions: Make music an integral part of the learning experience by incorporating regular sing-along sessions into the curriculum. Use diverse songs to celebrate various cultural events and occasions, creating a dynamic and engaging atmosphere.
  • Multicultural events:
  • Organize multicultural events where children can showcase songs from their cultural backgrounds. This not only provides an opportunity for cultural exchange but also instils a sense of pride and belonging among children.

a group of diverse children holding hands and dancing and singing in a circle
Final thoughts…
In the work of early education, songs and singing emerge as powerful instruments for cultivating an inclusive environment. By carefully selecting and incorporating diverse and anti-racist songs into the curriculum, we can create a harmonious space where every child feels valued and celebrated. Let us continue to explore the vast potential of music, recognizing its capacity to counteract racism and build bridges of understanding among our youngest learners.

As we embark on this musical journey, let the language of song enhance unity, empathy, and acceptance. Together, through the magical world of music, we can instil values that resonate not only in the hearts of our young learners but echo throughout a lifetime, contributing to a more harmonious and inclusive society.


Dr Clare Seymour
Clare has spent much of her professional career (over 30 years) in international settings. Part of her Doctoral research involved exploring the often hidden aspects of institutional racism. As a result she has a longstanding interest in, and passion for, promoting positive Diversity.

In addition to school music-teaching, Clare also has over 10 years’ experience working as an international music examiner – an understanding and respect for Diversity is so crucially important in every aspect of her practice.