Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Rhyme times

It’s been lovely to give courses for library and museum staff on using rhyme effectively recently. These are some of the areas of babies’ and children’s learning and development that rhyme times support:

  • social skills
  • physical coordination
  • attention and concentration
  • memory
  • cognitive development
  • understanding of the world
  • numeracy
  • speaking and listening
  • comprehension
  • literacy

This little boy at an Enfield Libraries rhyme time vividly demonstrates their learning potential. He’s learning through fun, and the fun element, for children and for parents and carers, is crucial.

What are other keys to success? Familiarity and repetition greatly aid babies’ and toddlers’ learning and pleasure, so repeat rhymes within sessions, and from one session to another. Aim for variety within each rhyme time: mix chanting and sung rhymes, finger, counting and action rhymes, quiet rhymes and rhymes with lots of noise and movement. Active participation by adults and children is vital. Props, puppets and musical instruments help engagement, understanding and enjoyment. Small babies get more from rhyme times if they face their carer rather than looking outwards. Finally, don’t worry if you’re not a great singer. Babies and toddlers won’t mind; parents and carers will be reassured that they don’t need to be perfect.