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Early on, babies reveal how much rhythms are a part of their very being. Just a few weeks after birth, rhythmic patterns of sleep and eating become clear to sleep-deprived parents.
Rhythmic songs help infants and toddlers enjoy group time. Seated together on the floor in infant seats, 8 to 10 month olds bounce up and down as a teacher pounds out the familiar and strongly emphatic rhythms of a nursery rhyme. Hearing rhymes adds to the pleasure of babies’ vigorous body bouncing. Children with high energy levels can especially benefit from adults reciting a rhyme in time to bouncing, running, or jumping.
Toddlers love rhymes and repetitive rhythms. At group time, even shy toddlers who only whisper the words often participate in the bodily motions of “The Wheels on the Bus.”
Promoting Language Learning
Preschoolers who reach Kindergarten without recognizing rhymes have a more difficult time with early school literacy experiences. Some preschoolers struggle to understand that two words rhyme when they end in the same sound. However, research shows that even young toddlers practice their own made-up rhymes such as “oogie, woogie, poogie” over and over. Teachers can support emerging literacy by emphasizing rhyming poems and games.
Becoming aware of rhyming sounds boost brain activity and a child’s early literacy ability. Adding singsong rhyming words to requests for attention is an effective way for teachers to get toddlers to listen to what they say. Rhymes and rhythms add zest and humor and increase toddler cooperation in the classroom.
Kristin Rude is the Owner and Center Director of FasTracKids, Del Mar. She previously taught in the Del Mar Union School District. Kristin obtained her teaching credential from the University of San Diego and has her Masters degree in curriculum and instruction with an emphasis on second language learners. When Kristin is not working, motherhood keeps her plenty busy with her 2 children, Connor, age 3 & Katherine, age 2. She looks forward to having her own children beneﬁt from the FasTracKids program. Spending time with her family, golﬁng, traveling, and continuously learning are among her favorite activities.