How Nursery Rhymes help development

How Nursery Rhymes help development

Developing oral language through nursery rhymes

Nursery Rhymes contribute to the foundational skills young children need in their oral language development. 

Ask any kindergarten teacher about what they wish incoming Kindergartens knew, and you will hear most of them include Nursery Rhymes in their list. They are fun and engaging for young children, and provide a bonding experience when they are read together.

A sense of togetherness

There is a sense of togetherness that Nursery Rhymes provide. As a new mom, I found myself singing Nursery Rhymes when I needed a little song to get a smile out of a little one. When my child  was in preschool, he would come home singing a Nursery Rhyme and I’d chime right in. They were songs and poems that we both knew. Suddenly, we had a common connection between home and school. As a teacher, I find myself using Nursery Rhymes with my pre-k students all day long. When I need to get their attention, I sing Nursery Rhymes. When we practice rhyming words, we chant Nursery Rhymes. When we need a familiar story to retell in our reading lesson, we use familiar Nursery Rhymes. In the first week of pre-k, I’m able to sing several songs with my students who are familiar with Nursery Rhymes. Students who are unfamiliar, learn them quickly and chime in. In just a few short days, we become a team and Nursery Rhymes help develop that sense of togetherness.

Foundational skills in oral language development

We know that listening comprehension comes before reading comprehension. Long before kids can read sight words or sound out unknown words, they are listening to songs, stories, poems, and rhymes. As they are listening, they are developing their comprehension skills. As parents and caregivers read Nursery Rhymes with their children, it’s a great time to ask kids about what is happening in the story, what they think will happen next, or even act out the story they hear.

Creating mental images, based on stories they hear, can be challenging for kids but can strengthen listening comprehension. Television tends to make mental images for us. Kids can sit down for thirty minutes, be entertained with a great story, and see the visual right there on the screen. When they are singing a Nursery Rhyme, for example, there may not be a visual for them to look at. Asking kids what is happening in the rhyme, having them close their eyes and make a picture of it, or pretending to make a movie in their mind will strengthen their listening comprehension.

There might be new language and vocabulary that kids run across when they are listening to Nursery Rhymes. Talk about these words and point them out! Kids will also be introduced to alliteration (a string of words beginning with the same letter), onomatopoeia (words that represent a sound, like woof or honk), and rhyming words. As children are chanting or singing Nursery Rhymes, they learn how to articulate words, practice using pitch and volume as they read and sing, and they are pronouncing words over and over while having fun!

Dramatic play using nursery rhymes

One of my favorite ways to learn about Nursery Rhymes is through dramatic play. Rhymes, songs and stories can quickly be turned into plays, puppet shows or felt board stories. All of these reenactments help deepen listening comprehension. 

Puppet shows are terrific way for your child to retell a story or Nursery Rhyme. Using a store-bought puppet show is fine, but there are very simple ways to create your own puppet theater. Draping a blanket over a coffee table or a few chairs can provide enough space for kids to hide behind, with their puppets or stuffed animals. If they are acting out Hey Diddle Diddle, The Cat and the Fiddle, and don’t have a cow to jump over the moon, use a toy horse and just change out the word. Point out that they’ve just created an adaptation of a Nursery Rhyme and that authors do that all the time! Printing characters onto cardstock and attaching them to popsicle sticks is another way to create characters quickly. It’s fast, easy, inexpensive, and the possibilities for characters and props are endless.

Kids can also just act out a rhyme. Grab a tuffet, a fake spider, and a bowl, and suddenly you have little Miss Muffet happening right in your living room. It’s a great chance to develop those higher level vocabulary skills too, since we don’t often call our “low to the ground pillows” tuffets anymore. Acting out Jack and Jill can be quick, simple, and fun too. A pile of pillows will make a great hill to tumble down. Kids will be able to internalize the new word, tumble, and it may even become part of their vocabulary.

There are many great reasons to use Nursery Rhymes in your daily routine. Aside from providing foundational skills for oral language development, these rhymes are fun and engaging for young children. It’s a time to connect with your child, provide a home-school connection, and simply have a great time learning together. There are plenty of Nursery Rhyme CD’s out there too, so the learning and fun doesn’t even need to stop when you’re in the car! One word of caution – many of these Nursery Rhymes were written during a very dark time in history, and some of the rhymes themselves can be a bit dark and scary. Steer clear of those! We don’t want kids having nightmares of someone cutting of the tails of the 3 Blind Mice with a carving knife. Stick to fun rhymes like Jack and Jill or Little Miss Muffet. And by all means, if you are acting out Jack Be Nimble with your child, and jumping over the candlestick, make sure it’s not lit! Other than that, have fun!


Tips for starting the new school year

    As a Parent, preschool and Pre-k teacher, I saw first-hand how children who started school prepared were able to thrive in the classroom, while children who started school with gaps in their development struggled. I also saw the amazing confidence of children who started school with a strong foundation of skills, and how that confidence fueled their success in the classroom. With the right information, you can ensure your child starts school with the skills necessary to succeed. When summer winds down, it’s time to get ready for a new school year. Buying notebooks and scoping out sales is the easy part. There are less tangible things you can do as well. Here are some Tips for starting the new school year.

Tips for the starting the new school year

1. Re-Establish School Routines

Use the last few weeks of summer to get into a school-day rhythm. “Have your child practice getting up and getting dressed at the same time every morning,” Start eating breakfast, lunch, and snacks around the times your child will eat when school is in session.

It’s also important to get your child used to leaving the house in the morning, so plan morning activities outside the house in the week or two before school.

2. Nurture Independence

Once the classroom door shuts, your child will need to manage a lot of things on his own. Get him ready for independence by talking ahead of time about responsibilities he’s old enough to shoulder. This might include organizing his school materials, writing down assignments, and bringing home homework.

3. Create a Launch Pad

“Parents and teachers should do whatever they can to facilitate a child being responsible,” l At home, you can designate a spot where school things like backpacks and lunch boxes always go to avoid last-minute scrambles in the morning. You might also have your child make a list of things to bring to school and post it by the front door.

4. Set Up a Time and Place for Homework

Head off daily battles by making homework part of your child’s everyday routine. Establish a time and a place for studying at home. “Even if it’s the kitchen table, it really helps if kids know that’s where they sit down and do homework, and that it happens at the same time every day,”. As much as possible, plan to make yourself available during homework time, especially with younger kids. You might be reading the paper or cooking dinner, but be around to check in on your child’s progress.

5. After-School Plans

School gets out before most working parents get home, so it’s important to figure out where your children will go, or who will be at home, in the afternoons. You might find an after-school program through the school itself, a local YMCA, or a Boys and Girls Club. If possible, try to arrange your schedule so you can be there when your child gets home during those first few days of school. It may help your child adjust to the new schedule and teachers. 

6. Make a Sick-Day Game Plan

Working parents also know the trials and tribulations of getting a call from the school nurse when they can’t get away from the office. “Most of our parents, because of the economy, are working,”. Before school begins, line up a trusted babysitter or group of parents that can pinch hit for each other when children get sick. And make sure you know the school’s policy. You may have to sign forms ahead of time listing people who have your permission to pick up your child.

7. Attend Orientations to Meet and Greet

Schools typically hold orientation and information sessions before the start of each academic year. These are good opportunities for you to meet the key players: your child’s teachers, school counselors, the principle, and most importantly, front desk staff. “The secretaries know everything and are the first people children see when they arrive at school every day,” .

8. Talk to the Teachers

Of course, teachers are the reason your child is there. When you talk to your child’s teachers, ask about their approach to homework. Some teachers assign homework so kids can practice new skills while others focus on the accuracy of the assignments they turn in. Ask for the dates of tests and large assignments so you can help your child plan accordingly. For instance, if you know a big test is coming up on Friday morning, you will know to keep things simple on Thursday evening.

9. Make it a Family Affair

Together, you and your child can plan for success in school. For instance, sit down with your child to create a routine chart. Ask your child what she wants to do first when she first gets home from school: play outside or do homework? Her answers go on the chart. “The more kids have ownership in creating a routine for themselves and setting expectations, the more likely they are to follow it,”.


I hope this website provides you with helpful information and great tips for bringing out the best in your child and helping him start school prepared to succeed!




Ten Creative ways to use flashcards!

Ten Creative ways to use flashcards!
It has always been my tendency to think of additional uses for worksheets, flashcards, posters, or any teaching tool. Although materials can certainly be used just once, I’ve found that the best way to get the most mileage from these “teaching extras” is to brainstorm alternative uses. Through brainstorming, I could always come up with something, and my class or my own child (at home) would try it out. The resulting variety was fun for the children, and the parents also had positive feedback. My fellow teachers also enjoyed these variations.
Flashcards are a great example of a teaching tool that can be adapted to many uses. Besides their normal drill and practice value, flashcards can be used in a variety ways.


Here are some ideas.
1. Print two copies of a set of flashcards and make a matching game.
2. Use the flashcards to make a bingo game. Use the flashcards as call cards.
3. Use flashcards for a thematic word wall.
4. Label the room. This works with picture/word cards and plain word cards: just tape the flashcard to the item.
5. Have students put flashcards (words or picture) in alphabetical order.
6. Pick four to six flashcards and have students write a story using those words. This works with picture cards and word cards.
7. Divide students into small groups and have each group create a game using a set of flashcards.
8. Play charades with word or picture flashcards.
9. As a class or in small groups, pick a word flashcard and write or say words that rhyme with that word.
10. Pass out all the flashcards to your students. Play,

I have/ Who has?” For example, a game with a set of fruit flashcards would work like this:
First child: I have an apple, who has an orange?
Second child: I have an orange [hands the orange card to the first child]. Who has a banana?
Another variation would be a spelling game:
I have an apple, who has an o-r-a-n-g-e?
Flashcards and other teaching tools are great for drills, but being creative with them will add variety to their usage.

Making Museums Fun for Kids

 Making Museums fun for kids

I love going to the Museums when I was a child. Now I love it more.I like to roam around museums and take my time to see all there is to see. There are so many different types of museums in existence, that you’d be hard pressed not to find one that pleases you. There are museums for art, information, re-enactments, military and war, transportation, science, open air, virtual and zoos

Though museums have had children’s puppet shows and movies for decades, these new programs — inspired in part by the growing numbers of baby-boomer parents visiting museums with their kids — are much more hands-on and age-specific. Making use of everything from Egyptian artifacts to modern sculpture, the new projects are designed for the entire family to do together.

Follow these steps, and you’ll be prepared.
Most museums now have on line portals which allow you to explore the museum virtually. When looking up your chosen museum, look for such things as:

The exhibits – see what is on exhibit at the museum at all times, as well as special exhibitions being held for a short time.
The history of the museum – there will often be very interesting stories about the artifacts, benefactors, etc., that can make your visit all the more interesting.
Activities – see whether there are talks, displays, tours, special activities that will happening on the day that you visit. Many museums hold regular activities that meet all age group interests.
Fees, food and storage – although mundane, it’s important to know how much the visit will cost, whether or not you can eat there, and whether or not there is storage for coats, bags, etc. You might also need to check about stroller and wheelchair access or hire, and find out about out transportation needs and car parking.

Above all, have fun.