Our literacy has been based around Nursery Rhymes this term. This week it was Humpty Dumpty. The children like to say the rhyme while they are sitting on big wooden blocks so they can act out ‘falling off the wall’. Today we made Humpty Dumpty’s wall with stones and playdough (for mortar) The also cut out and stuck together a four piece egg puzzle.
Nursery rhymes are important for young children because they help develop an ear for our language. Both rhyme and rhythm help kids hear the sounds and syllables in words, which helps k ids learn to read!
1) Improving language and communication skills
Nursery rhymes introduce new words and phrases, and their repetitive nature means the vocabulary can be picked up faster.
As nursery rhymes are read out loud, children are able to hear how the words sound and can practice how to pronounce them easily without the pressure of memorising words directly.
When reciting rhymes, children can practice speaking clearly, and can be shown how language variations such as pitch, volume, inflection and rhythm can be used to change the meaning of the words.
2) Developing reading skills
Nursery rhymes are a great tool for young children beginning learning to read, as they are essentially short stories.
Rhymes are a source of developing phonic skills, as they offer the ability to read and determine letter sounds. The rhyming words are especially useful for identifying the correct sounds.
Their rhythm and repetition makes them easy to commit to memory, and memory skills play a large part in learning to read.
3) Enhancing creative writing skills
Nursery rhymes are easy for children to follow and understand as they are structured like a short story with a beginning, middle and end.
They usually follow a sequence of events and consist of a main character in an interesting scene or circumstance – all important criteria for writing stories.
Nursery rhymes often also contain interesting literary devices such as alliteration and onomatopoeia, which help to engage children, and can be learned and applied to their own writing.
4) Teaching Maths concepts
Nursery rhymes use patterns in language and speech, and by recognising patterns in language, children are also able to recognise patterns in numbers, which helps with mathematical problem solving.
Many nursery rhymes also use numbers in the content of the rhymes, such as “One, two, three, four, five” and “Hot cross buns,” so children practice counting, addition and subtraction.
5) Encouraging imagination
Nursery rhymes often include elaborate or fantastical storylines and characters, which help children to imagine them more easily.
The sense of imagination is heightened if nursery rhymes are coupled with some kind of creative visualisation such as illustrations or the use of actions.
6) Improving physical development
Nursery rhymes make great themes for drama and dance, as children can act out and use physical movement to demonstrate the characters and events in the nursery rhymes.
The ability to use the body to express words helps children make a connection between their senses and improves hand-eye coordination.
7) Advancing social and emotional development
Nursery rhymes can help children to identify moods and feelings. Funny rhymes can make them laugh, while poems with sad themes can teach them about empathy, which is a good social skill.
People often develop emotional connections with nursery rhymes, so they can be used to help children feel happy and bond better with others.
8) Boosting confidence
As nursery rhymes are often fun or silly, children find them entertaining, which takes the pressure off the learning elements and children just learn as a bi-product of their enjoyment.
Because they are memorable, children are also more likely to be able to recite them, which helps build their confidence in speaking.