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Nursery Rhymes and Education

Updated on March 17, 2014

History of Nursery Rhymes

The history behind nursery rhymes reflect different events in history that are still depicted in words through children's nursery rhymes. Many nursery rhymes have continued to exist since the time of Shakespeare. They have been polished by children into a form that is almost unbreakable. When children recite and preform those rhymes, they are developing listening and speaking skills in a joyful, nonthreatening context. These rhymes serve as being meaningful, memorable and active for the brain. Preschool and kindergarten children can memorize nursery rhymes and use the patterns to make their own imaginary story. Nursery rhymes are basic cultural literacy ,enhancing children to understand the language in context.

Nursery rhymes help in a child's development ,because they support the assertion that music and rhythm increase a child's ability in understanding language and associate the symbols in everyday life. For instance ,kindergarten children become better readers when they develop an early sensitivity to the sounds of language. Although these rhymes are short in length, they are very powerful in meaning since they are full of alliteration and rhymes, that help children memorize phonemic awareness.

While the famous song , Twinkle ,twinkle rhyme teaches children how words can be used to draw a picture in the imagination; the words of this rhyme create a comparison between the twinkling of the star to a diamond thus providing a perfect illustration of clever imagery and excellent use of the English language. The composers of this rhyme were two sisters called Ann Taylor and Jane Taylor, who first published this song during 1806.

"Twinkle Twinkle Little Star"

Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are.
Up above the world so high,
Like a diamond in the sky.

When the blazing sun is gone,
When he nothing shines upon,
Then you show your little light,
Twinkle, twinkle, all the night.

Then the traveler in the dark,
Thanks you for your tiny spark, He could not see which way to go,
If you did not twinkle so.

In the dark blue sky you keep,
And often through my curtains peep,
For you never shut your eye,
Till the sun is in the sky.

As your bright and tiny spark,
Lights the traveler in the dark.
Though I know not what you are,
Twinkle, twinkle, little star.

Twinkle, twinkle, little star.
How I wonder what you are.
Up above the world so high,
Like a diamond in the sky.

Twinkle, twinkle, little star.
How I wonder what you are.
How I wonder what you are.


Baa, baa, black sheep,
Have you any wool?
Yes sir, yes sir,
Three bags full.

One for the master,
One for the dame,
And one for the little boy
Who lives down the lane

Let's take the example of the poem " Baa,baa black sheep". This song is mostly associated with wool and wool products with the sheep, in addition to the sound that a sheep would make. The first grasp of language for a child is to imitate the sounds and noises that animals make.The history and origins of this song goes back to the Middle ages. Researches refer the historical background to the Plantagenet King Edward I and the export tax imposed in Britain in 1275, in which the English Customs Statue authorized the king to collect a tax on all exports of wool in every port of the country. While other researches shows that this song is connected to the English history related to King Edward II in 1307-1327 ;it was said that the best wool was produced in England but the cloth workers from Flanders(medieval country in West Europe),Burges(a city in central France) and Lille( industrial city in north France )were better trained in the complex finishing trades such as denying and cleansing.The kind inspired Flemish weavers and cloth dryers to improve the quality of the final English products. The earliest publication of this rhyme was dated in 1744,while the music was published in the early nineteenth century making it a song for children.


The history and origin of the rhyme Humpty, Dumpty was believed to be a large armor. During the English Civil War between 1642-1649, it was used in the Siege of Colchester(a city in North East England). Colchester was fortified by the Royalists and was placed to siege by the Parliamentarian. The town of Colchester was a walled town with a castle and many churches ;it was protected by the city wall. On the adjacent part ,was St Mary's Church. A huge cannon ,colloquially called Humpty Dumpty,was placed on the wall next to St. Mary's church .So we conclude that they historical events detailing the Siege of Colchester are a reference to the cannon (Humpty Dumpty) as follows: St Mary's Church is fortified and a large cannon is placed on the roof which was fired by one eyed Jack Thompson(a gunner who was in charged of the great cannon). A shot from the Parliaments hit the church town which supported the great cannon. The top of the tower had been blown off, damaging the wall beneath Humpty Dumpty .The huge cannon fell to the ground ,as the huge top of the building tumbled away.


Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall

All the king's horses and all the King's men

Couldn't put Humpty together again...

It is essential to have Nursery rhymes Book at home, because they are fundamental building blocks of reading. When kids start getting use to the existence of these books, both parents and teachers will understand any problem that the child will be facing when contacting into the world of education. These books contain strong vocabulary and pictures which are basic elemenst in language development.


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    • profile image

      Walid Yh 

      4 years ago

      Nice article.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Verrrryyy inteeeeerrrresting!

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      I always enjoy singing these songs to my kids, but never knew the true historic meaning behind these nursery rhymes. Fascinating article!


    • profile image


      4 years ago

      This article is amazing thanks for sharing such important history behind nursery rhymes

    • Soraya Y profile imageAUTHOR

      Soraya Y 

      4 years ago from Atlanta

      I'm here to help.Kids and education are my passion !

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Anything that helps with a child's positive development is good in my book. :)


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