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From the desk of Mrs. Sonya Toet Principal Summerhill Nursery School


Nursery rhymes are a fun and engaging way to introduce young children to language and literacy. Rhymers are Readers is a program that promotes the use of nursery rhymes in early childhood education to improve children’s reading readiness and language development.

At Summerhill Nursery School, Midrand, learning to Rhyme to Hickory Dickory Dock was easy when we explored through fun making clocks, finger puppet mice and clapping syllables.

This was all part of our “Rhymers are Readers” exploration series led By Teacher Renilla

The importance of Nursery Rhymes in Early Childhood Centres. In 1945 the average Primary School child had a vocabulary of 10,000 words. Today, children have a vocabulary of 2,500 words. Parents are just not sharing Nursery Rhymes and reading to their children anymore. The bread-and-butter of traditional early childhood literacy has fallen away.

Repetition, memorising basic structure and patterns are some of the key concepts taught in Nursery Rhymes.

Our Summerhill Nursery School teaching staff have each worked on a Nursery Rhyme to bring it back to life in its rightful place, the Early Childhood setting. Monthly, we unpack a rhyme to reinforce its importance through; crafting, cooking, listening, colouring, finger play, moulding and so much more.

Watch as we use these rhymes and songs to enhance language development, reading skills, math concepts, creativity, comfort and support.

Here are some benefits of using nursery rhymes in the classroom:

  • Language Development: Nursery rhymes expose children to new vocabulary, help them develop their listening skills and teach them about word families and patterns. Through repetition and rhythm, children learn how words sound and how to pronounce them correctly.
  • Phonemic Awareness: Nursery rhymes also help children develop phonemic awareness, which is the ability to hear and manipulate sounds in words. This skill is essential for early reading development.
  • Memory and Recall: Repetition in nursery rhymes helps children remember and recall information. When children memorise nursery rhymes, they are learning to remember sequences and patterns, which is a critical skill in reading and math.
  • Social and Emotional Development: Nursery rhymes are a fun way to engage children in learning and can help build positive relationships between adults and children. Singing nursery rhymes together in a group can help children develop social skills like taking turns, listening, and following directions.

In the South African context, nursery rhymes are an excellent tool to use in multilingual classrooms. By introducing children to nursery rhymes in their home language, teachers can help promote and maintain children’s mother tongue while developing their second language skills. Nursery rhymes are also a great way to introduce young children to the sounds and rhythms of the English language.