What's the point of nursery rhymes?

Who cares if Humpty was put together again and does it really matter if Little Bo Peep lost her sheep?

Research says it does. 'Nursery rhymes and rhyming games are an ubiquitous part of childhood" (Opie and Opie 1987).

Daily singing and action nursery rhymes are proven to help your child's development of language, communication, literacy, mathematical and social skills

When you have your first born, you excitedly start to sing nursery rhymes that you learnt as a child, the start of the melody is like a little key inside your head that unlocks the rest. But as you sing it for 97th time that day, you tire. This raises the question, just how important are they? The fact that you remember them indicates that we store them and relate to them when we need to.

The repetition of the rhyme helps your baby / child with phonological skills, your child's ability to recognise the sounds and syllables that make up language. For some children this will happen without much effort, it just happens naturally, but for some this has to be a learnt process. They help with listening skills, learning about emotions and social skills.

Rhymes and rhymes with actions will further support this. Your child learns rhyme production, detection and oddity. They will be able to add words and recognise patterns in words. Children enjoy singing them. In nursery it's a social experience as we learn something with our friends and it's a familiar link between home and nursery.

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Speech and language improves with nursery rhymes - the range and tone of words, can all be picked up from nursery rhymes.  Children who know their nursery rhymes are better equipped  to be more confident readers and to develop mathematical skills from counting rhymes to size concepts.

It can be an activity that spans the generations: grandparents and grandchildren can enjoy them together and compare the changes to the traditional rhymes, e.g. Twinkle Twinkle Little Star to Twinkle Twinkle Chocolate Bar. 

Most of all they are fun! Singing nursery rhymes together relaxes you and your baby and baby is learning from the visual and oral experience at the same time as building and strengthening your relationship.

So it seems it is important to know that Humpty did fall and couldn't be put back together again. 

Alison Shires