As I was driving to school with my daughter, who is a senior in high school, I was singing, “To market, to market to buy a fat pig, home again, home again, jiggety jig.” I asked her if she remembered that song, because we used to sing it when she was little. She said it sounded familiar. I have been singing it as part of my circle time in my parent-child classes. We sing it and the parents bounce their child on their lap–always a fun activity. Not too many parents sang along with me. I’m not sure if they didn’t know it or just didn’t feel like singing along. A few told me they had forgotten about it. It got me to thinking about the power of these nursery rhymes. They have been repeated over centuries, sung to children at play or children falling asleep. Every culture has them. I remember feeling when my girls were little, and I still feel it now, a connection to parents going back through the ages, like being woven into the fabric of time. Our little ones are trying to find there connection to the earth, finding there way into life here and now. These little rhymes help to ground them.
Suzanne Down wrote a wonderful article about nursery rhymes in the Gateways Journal, which is the journal of the Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America. It is entitled, “The Healing Art of Nursery Rhymes.” She talks about the child leaving the heavenly rhythms of the cosmos and coming into earthly life. Nursery rhymes can help them find rhythm in a fun and healthy way. Also, more than the meanings of the words, “the power of rhyme, rhythm and repetition … together heal inner chaos and make order within the cellular level.”
You can just say or sing them, but they are more fun with movement and interaction or, of course, with puppets.