The People in the Purple Shirts’: Froebelian insights to a Singing Medicine project in a Children’s Hospital

Blackburn, Carolyn (2020) The People in the Purple Shirts’: Froebelian insights to a Singing Medicine project in a Children’s Hospital. Journal of Early Childhood Research. ISSN 1476-718X

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Friedrich Wilhelm August Froebel (1782–1852) yearned to promote and foster the harmonious and holistic development of young children through a combination of outdoor activities, songs and games. His Mother Songs, with games and exercises for mothers and their infants, aimed to encourage the use of senses, limbs and body to increase body awareness and promote mental activity. This article reports on a qualitative interpretive study into the role of a Singing Medicine project in a children’s hospital where children on all wards are invited to participate in singing games and activities. An aim was to understand how the application of Froebelian principles can help us to understand and conceptualise children’s rights and well-being in restricted environments such as a Children’s Hospital. Methods included semi-structured interviews with a range of health and education professionals who support children in a children’s hospital in England. In contrast to previous largely quantitative studies relating to the transferable benefits of arts in health projects, the findings from this study suggest that participants value the human connectedness imbued by a Singing Medicine project to children, families and health professionals. Wider benefits for children’s holistic development and empowerment to make choices through participation in singing games were also raised.

Item Type: Article
Identification Number:
Date: 14 July 2020
Uncontrolled Keywords: Arts in health; hospitals; children; singing medicine; Froebel
Subjects: B300 Complementary Medicine
B700 Nursing
W300 Music
X900 Others in Education
Divisions: Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences > Centre for Study of Practice and Culture in Education (C-SPACE) > Re-thinking Childhood
Depositing User: Carolyn Blackburn
Date Deposited: 29 Apr 2020 08:22
Last Modified: 14 Jul 2020 12:52

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