Determining the origins of such famous tales before they were written down doesn’t seem possible, however, many have made guesses relating to early roots. “Ring Around the Rosy” may talk about the swollen cysts that afflicted the sick through the Black Death. You might be recalling early Welsh king in “Old King Cole” who drowned in a swamp 1700 years back, and in poemas infantiles “Little Miss Muffet” the daughter of your bug expert in Shakespearean England, or possibly a queen beheaded to be with her Catholic faith in “Mary Mary Quite Contrary.” These stories already went through so many changes in the centuries these meanings -if they did originate during these long-ago dark circumstances -are mostly obscured.
“Many of the songs were not originally for kids,” says Kay Vandergrift, Professor Emerita of Children’s Literature at Rutgers University. Most of those songs were portion of an oral-based society that relayed news, spread coded rumors about authority figures, and solved its moral dilemmas (for youngsters and adults) in rhyme and song. And existing nonsense rhymes that were section of this oral tradition could be used or adapted to create references to current events. It was within the nineteenth century, when Victorian society sentimentalized childhood and romanticized “quaint” times from the past, that a lot of nursery rhymes were written down and presented as for youngsters only.
How are these poems-inhabited by kings, queens and peasants of your rural past predating electricity, television and computers-still tightly related to twenty-first-century kids and parents? If we are so far removed through the world that hatched these rhymes, how come we still read them? Some of the reasons people sang nursery rhymes to each other inside past remain top reasons to do so today. Here are four major causes nursery rhymes might be beneficial for kids:
1. They are great for the brain. Not only does the repetition of rhymes and stories teach children how language works, what’s more, it builds memory capabilities that can be applied to all kinds of activities. Furthermore, as Vandergrift highlights, nursery rhyme books tend to be a child’s first experience with literacy: “Even before they could read, children can sit and learn the way a book works.” This also includes the pictures and music associated with nursery rhymes: it is just a full visual and oral experience.
2. Nursery rhymes preserve a culture that spans generations, providing something in accordance among parents, grandparents and kids-and also between people who do not know each other. Seth Lerer, Humanities Professor at the University of California San Diego and expert within the history of children’s literature, says that reading nursery rhymes to kids is, simply, “to participate in a very long tradition … it’s a shared ritual, there’s almost a religious quality into it.”
3. They are a fantastic group activity. Susie Tallman, that has put out several award-winning nursery rhymes CDs, and it is a nursery school music teacher, describes how singing nursery rhymes allows all kids-even shy ones-to feel confident about singing, dancing and performing as they are so easy to grasp and fun: “It builds confidence in front of my eyes,” she says. “They really start to see the connection between movement, rhythm and words.” She has also had kids of various ages collaborate on making music videos because of their favorite nursery rhymes.
4. Most important is because are fun to convey. Lerer downplays lifespan lessons that some rhymes contain, arguing that while parents might consider them important, children probably tend not to register them.