Twinkle, Twinkle little star......how I wonder what you are. The first set of fun words for many, while growing up as toddlers. We sang along to the different types of nursery rhymes and also learned to exhibit the different types of emotions and reactions they evoked in us: thoughts, laughter, questions etc
The question that they would probably evoke in us as parents, would probably be - How I wonder how important they (nursery rhymes) are today.
Well, to answer that question, they are still very important and do play as much a role in your child’s development, as they did in yours, many moons ago.
As kids, we probably just sang along and went through the motions, as mentioned before, without knowing how much of an impact this had on our development growing up. Because we may not be able to figure this out, we might come to the conclusion that nursery rhymes are fun and if you have the time, you will indulge your child, but – not a priority!
Well, you might have to rethink that line of thought again. Studies have shown that there are many benefits to learning nursery rhymes at the very early stages of our childhood, hence the practice in play/toddler groups.
Aids language, communication and literacy skills development
Due to their short length and repetitiveness, nursery rhymes are a great way for kids to learn the different sounds that make up the words. They are also quite easy to follow along as the child will normally be able to catch on and sing along quite quickly due to the words being repeated a number of times throughout the rhyme. They also learn numbers and new words along the way. This in turn will set the stage for later learning, when they begin to learn to read and realise that letters represent sounds in words.
Improves physical development
We now know that nursery rhymes can be a child’s first experience with words. But motor skills, rhythm and movement can also be enhanced, when action is prompted by the words in the songs e.g. head, shoulders knees and toes, knees and toes....This helps the child visualise the words and learn the rhyme much more easily. A combination of rhythm and movement provides a much richer learning experience which could stimulate your child’s brain to be more in sync with the rhyme and movement. Think about any rhyme that prompts the children to do something.
Boosts cognitive skills and improves individual development
In preschool and playgroups, nursery rhymes are normally sung (and performed) in groups. This makes for a great social experience for your child as he/she starts to feel and identify more with the group as a result.
The fun factor
Above all, learning/singing nursery rhymes with your child can be a lot of fun. A great idea would be to get creative with the process, depending on what you want to achieve with your child. Is it fun – then a lot of movement is called for and choose nursery rhymes that require movement. Is it learning – then you could get your child to sing along and fill in the blanks that you create within the song. Look for nursery rhymes that have themes or concepts you could discuss with your child (the weather, numbers, animals, countries etc). Is it activities – then look for activity books with nursery rhyme themes, so your child can actually have a better idea of what happened in the rhyme. They could do some drawing, colouring etc
So, bearing all the above in mind, it does pay to spend the time with your child teaching him/her nursery rhymes. Don’t commit that crime!
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