It was lovely to see so many families at the Songs and stories session last week at Stafford Children's Centre when I covered for Nikki. One family had even travelled from Cannock because they know the benefits of the class. Someone else commented they weren't coming because 'it was just singing and reading'.
Well, it's not 'JUST' singing at all .........
We mostly use nursery rhymes which are important for many reasons:
1. Most importantly (to me as a speech and language therapist) is that they help develop spoken language skills. They are a powerful tool in the repertoire of language developers. They show the child the rhythm and flow of language, help connect words to actions and help a child to understand and remember words. They also help attention and listening. A room full of noisy babies will still and quieten when I start singing (No, that's not my awful voice!!) and to add action keeps their attention for longer.
2. Bonding: Singing together helps language development but also interaction between parent and child or carer and child.
3. A Swedish study published in the journal Integrative Physiological and Behavioural Science suggested that singing, not only increases oxygen levels in the blood but triggers the release of “happy” hormones such as oxytocin, which is thought to help lower stress levels and blood pressure. As other studies show the increased levels of both parental and child stress levels in the 21st century, this must surely help.
4. They can be used in conjunction with other communication enhancers e.g. choice making. The ability to be able to make choices is fundamental to human communication. Choosing which song to sing from a variety of props or choosing the next behaviour for action rhymes such as 'if you are happy and you know it'. These are non-verbal behaviours so do not require a verbal response.
5. Increases confidence. Even if they haven't got the necessary expressive skills to join in verbally, they can take part with the actions.
6. There is overwhelming evidence that early learning of nursery rhymes and rhythmic poems, songs, and chants significantly enhances early reading skills and phonemic awareness. In fact research highlights phonemic awareness as a strong predictor of a child's reading success. It helps them:
- to hear rhymes or alliteration
- to blend sounds to make a word (e.g., /a/-/t/ = at)
- to count phonemes in words ( how many sounds do you hear in "is"?)
- to identify the beginning, middle, and final sounds in words
- to substitute one phoneme for another (e.g., change the /h/ in "hot" to /p/
- to delete phonemes from words (e.g., omit the /c/ from "cat")"
Come along to any of our Smart Talkers Pre-School Communication classes and join the fun