There is a wonderful YouTube video of a daddy reading Polar Bear, Polar Bear what do you hear to his 4 month old baby.  The baby giggles and anticipates the story and the sound effects that his daddy is so good at making.  I love this clip and use it in training to remind us all that you are never too young to enjoy good story or rhyme.

Stories and rhymes are so important, and have been used from primitive times when camp fire tales would teach the young about the world, stories that inspired generation upon generation and aided the survival of our species, to modern day with gossip blogs and e-readers.

We can see the importance of using story and rhymes in our settings.  Imagine Myriam, who is able to ‘read’ by reciting Dear Zoo, despite not recognising any letters, or Jack, who loves to stamp his feet and join in with The Grand Old Duke of York…   And Lewis who is often heard shouting, “Oh help, oh no, it’s a Gruffalo…” as he runs around the woods.

Good stories and rhymes…

  • help develop listening and attention skills
  • encourage language development
  • help children notice phonemes and play with sounds
  • extend vocabulary and help children understand the meaning of words
  • provide interesting contexts for learning
  • present children with different scenarios to consider
  • help develop empathy
  • reinforce rules or boundaries and develop social learning
  • are fun!!!

Think about the times that you participate in stories and rhymes with your children.  Can you include more opportunities throughout the day, both inside and outdoors?  Can you act out different stories and dramatise them to prevent long periods of sitting still – just as you do for We’re going on a Bear Hunt.

Consider how you organise books and create a stimulating book area.  Could you make it an inviting den by covering it?  Could you include resources, props, real objects, puppets and toys or story sacks to really engage the children?  Does your range of books include: stories and rhymes from around the world, fiction, information, recipes, board books and touchy-feely books? Do they challenge stereotypes and are any in home language of the children in your setting?

Remember the importance of role modelling and perhaps introduce a Drop Everything And Read (DEAR) time in your setting! Books should and can be everywhere, from the bath to the buggy or pushchair.   You will find that the children love listening to stories and rhymes and that they all live happily ever after…    The end.

About the author

Tamsin Grimmer is an experienced early years consultant and trainer and parent who is passionate about young children’s learning and development. She believes that all children deserve practitioners who are inspiring, dynamic, reflective and committed to improving on their current best. Tamsin particularly enjoys planning and delivering training and supporting early years practitioners and teachers to improve outcomes for young children.

You can contact Tamsin via Twitter @tamsingrimmer, her Facebook pagewebsite or email info@tamsingrimmer.co.uk

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