Written 27/02/2023

Learning nursery rhymes is an important part of good communication and language development so every childminder should have some fun nursery rhyme activities up their sleeves!

How do nursery rhymes help children learn language?

There is A LOT written about this subject which you can find very easily with a quick search of the internet. Therefore I will not repeat lots of information that you may have already seen. However, here are a few basics to think about:

Nursery rhymes help introduce new vocabulary and concepts. For example some children may not know what a teapot is or what the words ‘fetch’ or ‘pail.’ mean. (Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water.)

Children respond to rhythm and music from birth and so the simple rhythm and sing-song nature of nursery rhymes makes them ideal for helping children tune into the structures of speech.

The rhyming structure of nursery rhymes, along with the repeating phrases they contain, encourages children to tune into and learn different sounds within speech, for example the ‘ee, aye ee, aye, oh,’ sounds in ‘Old MacDonald had a farm, or the rhymes in ‘Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.’

Different rhymes can be silly, fun, energetic, quiet and cover a wide range of ideas and subjects – there is a rhyme to appeal to every child, topic and mood.

Why should you share nursery rhymes with your children everyday?

Don’t assume that the children in your setting will know any rhymes when they start with you. Some families may share lots and lots of rhymes, some may share one or two and some none at all. You can boast each child’s cultural capital by teaching them lots of new nursery rhymes. You will also be helping build the foundations for success later on in school. Studies have shown that children who know four nursery rhymes by heart by the age of four are much more likely to be effective readers by the age of eight.

Why not have a go at this free ‘Wheels on the Bus’ game with ‘Intent’ statements and Observation tips to measure ‘Impact’.

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