Remember when nursery rhymes were all young children would sing? Parents used to spend hours, either singing or reading, straight from a book.
Times have changed, that’s no news. All around us we see toddlers who have become more acquainted with the latest hip hop hits, or handle i-pads better than most of us.
Does this mean that we ought to dismiss nursery rhymes altogether? Not at all, there must be something in the good old-fashioned songs that we can still preserve and above all, profit from.
Why Nursery Rhymes?
Recent research suggests that there are numerous educational and developmental reasons why nursery rhymes should be made a part of a kid’s life. To begin with, let’s take a closer look at the genre. By definition, nursery rhymes are generally short poems and songs that have been around for centuries.
Despite some common beliefs, nursery rhymes are not only for toddlers or preschoolers. In fact, experience shows that kids of all ages can enjoy the learning value that stems from songs, such as “Mary had a Little Lamb” or “Yankee Doodle”.
Here are some of the reasons why children need nursery rhymes:
Great first stories alternatives: Have you ever tried reading aloud to a baby? If you have, you are well-acquainted with the outcomes. After all, infants are snatchers and grabbers who try to mouth everything.
On the other hand, if you try singing a rhyme with them, chances are that they will pay attention long enough for you to actually finish the song. Moreover, nursery rhymes give the baby a chance to do something else meanwhile.
Early exposure to Nursery Rhymes will develop love for literature
Even when all a child does is listen to a rhyme or watch a video; they are developing a sense for metric and story line that will remain with them for life. A good trick is to give the child the book with the nursery rhyme they are watching, and allow them to page through randomly. For babies, this works best by holding the child and paging yourself. Experts agree that these simple habits trigger a love for books that will later on develop more deeply.
Nursery Rhymes help to promote a Sense of Community
Because they have been around for centuries, most nursery rhymes carry a strong cultural value that is hard to match. Truth be told, rhymes are culturally bound and children in Japan will sing different rhymes from children in Germany.
In fact, some rhymes help to build a sense of cultural identity whilst promoting early nationalism and love for our country. The following Yankee Doodle video is a great example:
Nothing helps bonding best than a classroom full of children who are singing the same rhymes: a sense of belonging develops that helps to promote identity as well.
As we can see, thanks to technology, children are allowed to enjoy a threefold exposure to rhymes: have an older person read and sing to them, see the images and watch the video.