Are you fascinated that your kids sing English rhymes? Do you think only video games are teaching kids bad behavior and values? After reading this post, you will be able to understand that English rhymes are not less than video games in teaching our kids.
One of my relatives often feels proud and ask his kinder garden kid to sing rhymes in family gatherings. She claims that her kid can sing English rhymes because of the International standard at their Kindergarten school whereas government run or aided school kids can sing rhymes only in regional language.
One day I decide to find out which one is better, English rhymes or local, regional rhymes. To my surprise after some initial analysis, I found that most of the popular English rhymes are not meant for kids. Nursery rhymes are expected to be quite simple and carry moral meanings with messages to teach kids important virtues in life. But strangely, many of them restrict kids from trying out new things by inducing fear in them. Let’s check out some of the famous English rhymes to understand clearly this.
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(none) for the little one who lives(cries) down the lane.
This rhyme was written in the 13th century during which King Edward introduced Wool Tax. During that time, sheep rearing is the big business in England, and the total number of sheep outnumbered the people in the country. So King Edward taxed wool, and this is the background for this rhyme. One-third of each wool bag went to the king (the master); another one-third went to the church (the Dame) and remained went to the owner of the sheep, and none went for the poor shepherd (the little boy who cries down the lane) who had tirelessly raised the flock of sheep. Until the sixteenth century, the last rhyme line read “none for the little boy who cries down the lane.” It was changed to “one for little one” to make the song more suitable for kids.
Let us look at another song
Jack and Jill went up the hill
To fetch a pail of water.
Jack fell down and broke his crown,
And Jill came tumbling after.
This rhyme is believed to refer King Louis Jack—who lost his crown and later followed by his Queen Marie Antoinette, Jill, (who came tumbling after). Whether the rhyme refers to them or not, what moral does this rhyme teach our kids? Does it tell that don’t climb the hill? Or fall without thinking if someone else is doing so.
London Bridge is falling down,
Falling down, falling down.
London Bridge is falling down,
My fair lady.
Why teach children about bridge which falls. This rhyme at the end actually, asks the watchman to smoke and stay awake to safeguard the metals. Does it sound like children rhyme? There is another belief that this rhyme refers actually to the practice of burying children alive under the foundations of the bridge during construction those days.
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
What good moral does the Humpty Dumpty teach kids? All it does is nothing but restricting the kids to stay at home and do nothing by inducing fear.
Ring-a-ring o’ roses,
A pocket full of posies,
We all fall down.
This rhyme is really about one of the deadliest disease plagues. The opening words, “Ring around the rosy,” represent the skin lesion associated with the disease that appears as a rosy spot surrounded by a ring. The next line, “Pocket full of posies,” means people carrying scented herbs and flowers in front of their noses to cope with the plague because of their superstitious belief.
Learning of values and beliefs start from the kinder garden and up until grade 5. This learning happens unconsciously in kids. By making kids memorize these English rhymes we indirectly teach them negativity and to behave in a negative mindset. Contrary to that, when I went through the regional rhymes, they have a positive approach and, more importantly, it taught important virtues and moral values. What is the point of teaching English rhymes just to show off others?