If there is one school lesson that remains buried deep in our mind is the nursery rhymes. We think we have forgotten about them until the time we have our children and it all comes back. There is a good chance that these catchy tunes were used to as a learning tool for our parents and theirs. If rhymes still continue to be used as a learning tool, is it so because of tradition or are they effective?
Benefits of nursery rhymes
Language: The child learns a language through rhymes. The language used is simple, with repetitive words strung together in a catchy tune. Add actions to it and the child learns to correlate a certain word to a specific action. As and when the rhyme becomes familiar, the child is more likely to concoct his own tune using the words he has learnt. Most teachers at pre-nursery schools agree that the most effective way to get a child to speak in a language other than what he speaks at home is through rhymes. Most children say their first words when they turn a year old. As they grow, they experiment with stringing words together. Nursery rhymes are in simple sentences and offer a good chance to begin sentence formation.
Cognitive skills: Nursery rhymes help build memory. It is often said that a child’s mind is like a sponge and absorbs every detail offered. When a song is on repeat, here a rhyme, the child develops the ability to recite what she has heard. Rhymes are also a place to start for learning to count and colors. Rhymes like “Baa Baa Black Sheep” introduce the concept of a story with characters to a child.
Motor skills: If memory power is boosted by rhymes, so is the development of motor skills. Most of the nursery songs are sung with hand gestures. Rhymes like Itsy bitsy spider demand the child to move his finger like a spider’s. Through rhymes, the child can also be taught to point out at different body parts.
Emotional skills: Who doesn’t remember the rhyme “If you’re happy and you know it”? Isn’t it a song that we associate with happiness even after we grow up? Rhymes are a powerful tool in explaining and understanding emotions.
If rhymes were not an effective tool in boosting memory in children, then as an adult, while reading this article, the mention of a single line from a particular rhyme wouldn’t have had you singing the whole thing in your head.