Teaching young children nursery rhymes has many benefits:
- They help children to develop early communication and language skills, both verbal and non-verbal.
- Often nursery rhymes are recited as part of group, this helps the children to develop their social skills.
- They help children to develop their cognitive skills by learning the words, tune and rhythm of the nursery rhyme.
- They help children to expand their imagination.
- They provide children with a sense of achievement when they have learnt the rhyme and they become confident learners.
- They provide children with a sense of belonging and help to strengthen relationships with their family, friends and preschool staff.
- They help children to develop their vocabulary and develop their literacy skills.
- They can be link across generations, nursery rhymes are enjoyed by grandparents, parents and children alike.
- Nursery rhymes are fun!
Types of Nursery Rhymes
List of Lullabies
Tips for Preschool Staff when helping young children to acquire english as an additional language:
- Ensure everyone feels welcome.
- Build your relationships with the child and their family.
- Make sure you are pronouncing the child’s name correctly.
- Help the child learn the names of staff and children.
- Learn Key Words in the Child’s Language.
- Ensure the child’s ethnic diversity is reflected in the Preschool environment, e.g. posters, toys, dolls, books.
- Be consistent in the language that you use.
- Group rhymes and songs are a great way to encourage confidence.
- Emphasis to parents the importance of maintaining their own language at home.
- Praise and encourage all attempts to communicate.
See also Play is the Universal Language.
Play is the universal language and the children connect and interact together easily and fluidly through Play activities. Sometimes two children can be chatting to each other and they are speaking to each other in their own language and while they cannot understand their verbal language their non-verbal language is their shared, common and mutually-understood language.
At this early stage in the term we have focussed on helping the children settle into Preschool and getting to know the staff and the other children. There is an extra layer of complexity to this process this year because so many children have english as their second language. We are currently focussing on helping the children learn each other’s names by naming children as we play together, introducing and re-introducing children and playing naming games. We also have photos of the children around the room and the children often walk around the room pointing at the photos and repeating the names.
The children communicate very well with each other but where we have experienced some difficulties is when staff are communicating with the children or the children are communicating with the staff. Building relationships with the children and their families is key at this stage because quite often we are relying on non-verbal cues to understand a child’s needs.
See also Tips for Preschool Staff when helping young children to acquire english as an additional language.