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Rhyme time and a very interesting documentary

So today for work we were all asked to take part in a short survey about our favourite and most memorable nursery rhymes. There were so many to choose from, and I remembered loads of them too. It is strange though, as out of about ten nursery rhymes that I knew and could recite, I only ever sing about four with Milo – I wonder why this is?

Nursery rhymes are incredibly important to a child’s speech and language development and so I decided today that I would make much more of an effort to vary his nursery rhyme diet. Here’s a list of rhymes that we are now using:

Incy Wincy Spider (in the bath)
This Little Piggy (at massage time)
Row your Boat
Humpty Dumpty
Baa Baa Black Sheep
Twinkle Twinkle (at nap times, although this now seems to be Milo’s cue to start crying. He is not brilliant at napping!)

I don’t think it is a nursery rhyme as such, but we spend a lot of time singing Wheels on the Bus (making up most of the verses, i.e. the Milo on the bus goes dribble, dribble, dibble). It seems to calm him down when he gets a little fractious.

I was trawling through BBC iplayer trying to find something interesting to watch during a feed today and came across this episode of Horizon. In “Who Do You Want Your Child To Be” David Baddiel goes in search of how best to educate your child. Here’s the blurb:

David Baddiel, father of two, sets out to answer one of the greatest questions a parent can ask: how best to educate your child.

Taking in the latest scientific research, David uncovers some unconventional approaches: from the parent hot-hosing his child to record-breaking feats of maths, to a school that pays hard cash for good grades.

David witnesses a ground-breaking experiment that suggests a child’s destiny can be predicted at four, and hears the three little words that can ruin a child’s chance of success for good. He also uncovers the neurological basis for why teenagers can be stroppy and explosive and has his own brain tinkered with to experience what it is like to struggle at school.

Through it all, David’s quest remains true: to maximise his child’s potential for success and happiness.

David Baddiel - Who do you want your child to be? The next Ferrari superstar of course!

Fascinating stuff, and David raises a lot of questions that Milo’s dad and I are really starting to think about already with regards to schooling, success and happiness (is happiness the greatest success of schooling?).

What was  interesting was a short section on  research that is being conducted to enable us to better understand how language and reading comes about and what we can do to encourage it. Something that has obviously been understood by primary school teachers for a long time is that rhyming and rhythmic coordination, repetition, singing etc… are all crucial to helping children’s language systems develop and to help them develop a strong sound structure in the brain.

This and especially watching the research being carried out on how babies (even those a few hours old apparently) can grasp basic maths, made for a good hour’s viewing!

For further information on reading with your child or how to pick great nursery rhymes, take a look at the Booktrust, Bookstart and Booktime websites. The National Literacy Trust also has some very useful info. Try Michael Rosen’s Laureate site for some Poetry Friendly Classroom tips.

Milo’s auntie Gina is coming at the weekend. She is a speech and language therapist with a vast knowledge of all things rhyming. I imagine Milo will be having a lot of fun watching us all singing and doing the actions to some new favourites!

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Thanks for these great links – lots of thought-provoking stuff.

    March 26, 2009

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