Following National Nursery Rhyme Week, the children of Portland House Nursery have enjoyed visiting Lindley Library for their weekly Rhyme-time session. As well as joining in with their favourite nursery rhymes, they have been learning some new ones. These sessions have helped to build children’s communication and language skills. This month, our Stay and Play sessions have been focusing on nursery rhymes. Parents have taken part in activities based on Five Currant Buns in a Baker’s Shop and Incy Wincy Spider. They were given nursery rhyme books to encourage them to sing together at home with their children. The top 10 nursery rhymes. Hickory Dickory dock! Little Miss Muffet Round and round the garden, Like a teddy bear Incey Wincey Spider Baa, baa, black sheep Jack and Jill went up the hill Oh the grand old Duke of York Twinkle, twinkle, little star Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands But why do we sing nursery rhymes? Nursery rhymes are essential for early learning as signing has the ability to teach a range of important skills such as speaking, reading, linking items and words and movement. Babies want to communicate with you but don’t know how, which is where nursery rhymes come into play. They teach the child set rhythms and noise patterns that they can later repeat as they further learn the words. When words rhyme they are often are easier to learn as they enquire a similar mouth movement. For example, sets of words such as more, door, floor, four and saw all have similar mouth movements so, once one word is learnt, the others will follow more easily. As the child is growing up nursery rhymes should be sung to them so they can learn a larger range of words, which will help when they want to start composing sentences. When performing a nursery rhyme it helps if there are things you can relate to, for example when singing “baa baa black sheep” it is good to have a toy or picture of a sheep so they can relate the word to the object. Once children understand how to say the words they will start to sing along but will not start a nursery rhyme on their own. They need the rhythm to start so they can speak in tune and at the same pace. Most of the time they will only join in at the chorus, as that is the part that is most memorable. As their confidence grows they will be able to sing more and more of the nursery rhyme. You will be able to get to a point where they can perform on their own and this should be encouraged as it increases confidence, plus they will enjoy the positive reinforcement when sung well. Nursery rhymes are great for learning and building personality so embrace them and have fun with your rhymes!