Nursery Rhymes (page 2)
Adults who love poetry and music will find themselves reciting poetry and nursery rhymes and singing those unforgettable nursery songs to the very young. Children’s interest in a world of sound can be enhanced through different qualities of tone, varying pitches, and rhythmic movements. Adults working with young children should share with them the many delightful Mother Goose rhymes and the chants of early childhood.
Using Nursery Rhymes with Infants
It is quite natural for infants to move their bodies to the rhythm of nursery rhymes and chants. Howle (1989) reminds us that rocking frequently accompanies singing experiences, and lullabies are certainly no exception. She suggests that sensory stimuli, such as touching, rubbing, smiling, warmth, and cuddling, aid in mental development while promoting a loving relationship between parent and child. Howle also believes that these early music experiences prepare the child for later development in music, speech, and movement. Additional benefits include the development of communication skills. Young children respond directly to the adult who is singing, and this attention can prompt the adult to begin talking to the child. This encourages speech development, listening skills, and the ability to hear rhyming words (Howle, 1989). As children grow older, the appeal of rhymes seems to increase. Young children care little about the origin and meaning of nursery rhymes; their value lies in their delightful rhythms, repetition, good humor, nonsensical words, and imagination. Children receive much pleasure from listening to and attempting, in their own inimitable ways, to repeat the chants and rhymes while moving their bodies to their interesting rhythmic patterns.
It is desirable to say and to sing these rhymes over and over again and to include the family in this sharing process. If children are provided with these experiences, they will soon spontaneously participate in these fun episodes. This activity establishes a good foundation for children’s lifetime reading and musical tastes.
Selected Characteristics of One- to Two-Year-Olds
- Enjoy listening to certain sounds, such as the fluttering of the tongue, and enjoy imitating them
- Answer questions like "What does the cow say?" by making the appropriate sound
- Can point to or put hands on body parts on request
- Rock or sway hips to a familiar tune, although not necessarily in time with the music
- Like to play peek-a-boo and hiding games
- Continue to reproduce sounds or combinations of sounds to explain wants and needs (for example, may half-sing, half-say, "Bye-bye," when they want to go for a ride in the car)
- Generally enjoy being held and sung to
- May "mouth" the words of a song or whisper them while others sing
- May choose to join a group socially but not to sing
- Will often refrain from singing any of the words to songs like "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" because they are concentrating so intently on doing the actions
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