The Importance of Nursery Rhymes



Nursery Rhymes are the main ingredients that keeps a Pre school environment alive and fun for the children. Music is food for the soul, that is what they say right? Well nursery rhymes fulfill that goal in the lives of our children.

These simple songs feed the child with the rhythm and melody of our language and music. Rhymes are the first introductory steps the child gets to actually putting words together and making a sentence. Observe the young toddler who is just over a year and a half old, they haven’t started really talking yet, maybe a word or two, to express their wants and needs. But if your child has been listening to songs especially simple nursery rhymes for a while they have started singing after you most of the time.

I remember one of our young ones, just about a year and a half, then, they learnt this rhyme about traffic lights, the teacher taught them this rhyme because she wanted to teach them about colours, and relate it to something they may notice in the environment. Well my dear one and a half-year old learnt this rhyme so well that during the Presentation Day for Parents, she stood out; so small, yet so confidently belting out her rhyme. She got a standing ovation.

Traffic Lights , Traffic Lights

When You see a Traffic light

There is something you should know

Red means STOP

Yellow means READY

And Green means GO!

Her Mum was so proud of her little girl and said to us that every time they passed by a traffic light she would recite the rhyme and even told her Dad when the lights were always about to go Red to STOP!

So why are these rhymes so important for our children to learn?

  1. Rhymes introduce children to a rich use of Language
  2. They learn new words and meanings of the words through the rhymes and actions that they use. (For example the song Three blind mice{holding up 3 fingers and covering their eyes} See how they run, They all ran after the farmer’s wife {running feet}, Who cut off their tail with a carving knife {miming pulling a tail and cutting it off}, Did you ever see such a thing in your life? { miming seeing with hands moving out from the eyes/face} As Three Blind Mice. {the 3 fingers} Children love singing this rhyme and they get it. Doesn’t make much sense really, does it?  But the children do get the meaning of the words and enjoy singing it.
  3. These rhymes help children learn the structure of putting words together to make sentences. A child who sings lots of nursery rhymes will be able to speak and construct sentences.
  4. Rhymes tell a story and give children the structure of telling stories, they have a beginning, a middle and an end. Children learn to mirror this and they develop story telling skills
  5. Rhymes are enjoyable, they make children happy, they sing, move around and dance and all these are food for the soul.
  6. Rhymes can be used to teach children social skills and are one of the best ways to help them learn concepts you are trying to teach them.

So as a teacher, or intending teacher, as a parent or intending parent, start putting together your arsenal of nursery rhymes they will help you to lay a good literary foundation for your child or children. These rhymes are hardly ever forgotten. I remember when I was growing up, my father used to sing and hum, Row, row, row your boat. This rhyme has stayed with me, as it had stayed with him. ‘I used to ask myself is life a dream?’ Well is it? This is something you could even discuss with the older children. Let’s give our children food for their need to acquire language. Rhymes are one of the strong ways to get lots of language practice for the child.


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