It’s hard to think of preschool and kindergarten without thinking of crafts, crayons, and (of course) nursery rhymes. Even now, songs like “I’m a Little Teapot” or “Ring Around the Rosie” can get stuck in your adult brain, leaving you reaching for a bottle of Advil. Does Hear-Tech make mindplugs? And some of these songs are old… like “Middle-Ages-Lords-Eating-Oversized-Drumsticks-While-Watching-Court-Jesters” old. Why did our teachers drill these catchy, and at times irritating, songs into our young minds?
The Surprising Meaning and Benefits of Nursery Rhymes by PBS Parents writer Michael Sizer provides the fascinating answer, highlighting four pros of learning nursery rhymes. Firsthand, these tunes help brain development: building visual and oral skills and increasing memory capabilities. Another benefit is preservation of culture and history. Back to the Lord binging on oversized drumsticks, many nursery rhymes have rich histories and have been passed on from generation to generation. Teach them to love history and cherish culture. Nursery rhymes are also an excellent group activity. Outgoing and shy children alike can learn the tunes together and have a shared musical experience bonding with their peers. Lastly, and equally important, many of these songs are just plain fun, especially when they include tongue twisters and old language like, “Peas porridge hot/peas porridge cold”. Let your child unleash their inner silly… it’s good for them.
Michael Sizer concludes with a reason nursery rhymes are still relevant to the modern child: “One should not let any supposed deeper meanings or origins to nursery rhymes obscure their true value: the joy of a child’s discovery of an old, shared language.” These songs, old and new, have numerous benefits: they are good for the brain, preserve a culture, teach history, provide opportunities to bond, and be a joyful, shareable experience.
So, by all means, bust a rhyme.