1, 2, 3 Rhymes for You and Me

Did you know that last week was Nursery Rhyme Week? Over the next few weeks we will be looking at the benefit of nursery rhymes with your little one. Nursery rhymes aren’t only a fun way to spend time with your child, they have a lot more to offer.  They are an important pillar of children’s development and their value to language and learning can not be underestimated. Nursery rhymes teach children to pronounce words and increase their vocabulary. They help to build memory, understand concepts, and teach patterns and numbers. They expand children’s imagination and creativity, develop humour, and can be a great group activity. Nursery rhymes are familiar and can provide comfort in difficult situations. Feedback from the original nursery rhyme initiative has been very positive and encouraged parents to read and sing more with their children. 

In 2016 the Limerick Nursery Rhyme Initiative, a joint project involving the West Limerick Primary Health Care Project for Travellers, the Limerick City Traveller Health Advocacy Project and the HSE CH03 Speech and Language Therapy Services, came together to produce a beautiful nursery rhyme book called 1,2,3 Rhymes for You and Me. The nursery rhymes in the book were chosen by members of the Travelling community in Limerick City and County. The book consists of eight nursery rhymes, because research has shown that if your child knows eight nursery rhymes by the age of four, they will be better readers by the time they are eight years old. The eight rhymes and the drawings in the book were selected because they take into account Traveller values and culture, such as family, horses, faith, home and being outdoors, and show them in a positive light, which the group felt was important.

Earlier this year West Limerick Primary Health Care Project for Travellers teamed up with the Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme (SICAP), both programmes of West Limerick Resources. In a collaborative project, they developed the 1,2,3 Rhymes for You and Me book into a video series. Each rhyme was developed into a video featuring the reading of the rhyme and a craft activity. Children, mothers, fathers, and grandparents took part in the videos and made each video unique and enjoyable. The primary health care workers talk about the benefits of nursery rhymes and give tips on how to read the rhymes with your children.

Building on the success of the book, the video series aims to put a new twist on the initiative and making it accessible to a wider audience, including migrant communities. Visuals and audio in the video help reducing literacy and language barriers and more families will be able to enjoy the nursery rhymes. Nursery rhymes exist in all languages and cultures and many countries share the same rhymes, which makes it a great medium for group activity and is inclusive of children from different cultural backgrounds.

Are you interested to find out more? You can find the nursery rhymes videos on the West Limerick Resources YouTube Channel or follow us on Facebook 1, 2, 3 Rhymes for You and Me.

Top Tips

  1. Parents can do a lot to prevent speech and language delays such as playing with children, speaking to them, reading to them and singing rhymes and songs
  2. If your child knows eight nursery rhymes by the time they are four years old they will be better readers at school
  3. If you have concerns about your child’s speech and language get help early by speaking to your GP, Public Health Nurse or the Speech & Language Therapist in your local health centre
  4. Speech and Language therapy takes time and patience
  5. If you do you have an appointment with a Speech and Language Therapist, it is important to attend and do the homework given by the therapist with your child to see progress.

This article was contributed Stefanie Jaeger Liston in West Limerick Resources. West Limerick Resources is a member of Parenting Limerick, a network of parenting and family support organisations.