The month of poetry falls in April. It is a great time to help our children learn to appreciate and understand poems and various forms of poetry. Children need to know and understand poetry. The Bible itself contains poetry. In fact, 30% of the Bible is made up of ancient poetry. Therefore, exposing our children to poetry will help them understand scripture. Likewise, understanding scripture and reading biblical poetry will deepen their relationship with their creator. Learning a new Nursery Rhyme is a great way to begin.
When I taught kindergarten and preschool, I knew that helping children to learn traditional rhymes would make it easier for them to learn to read. Because there was much more to teach than reading, my colleague and I rewrote the poems to include scientific and mathematical concepts. I have made each of these new nursery rhyme lyrics into a downloadable book. They are called the Mother Goose Meets Mother Nature series and include eight Mother Goose Rhymes.
1. Month of Poetry with Jack and Jill
In the traditional lyrics of this rhyme, Jack and Jill go up a hill to fetch a pail of water. In our version, Jack and Jill hike up a huge hill that is more like a mountain. They go high enough that they are not filling their pails with water, but with snow and ice. When they return back down the mountain, they discover the ice has melted into water. Discovering that it is the temperature that changes the state of the water, they apply more heat, boil the liquid and make steam.
In the nursery rhyme, Mary had a Little Lamb, the lamb’s wool is referred to as fleece. Helping a child to learn about fleece and wool is a great start to children learning about different animal coverings. In our version, Mary has one lamb. Then she has two snakes, and finally three birds. The book purposely follows a sequential order of 1, 2, and 3, so that children will be inspired to continue the pattern with additional numbers and other animals. The three types of animals chosen (a lamb, snakes, and birds) were selected to illustrate fur, scales, and feathers. In science, children discover that God created animals with different coverings for the purpose of adapting each species to different habitats. This book pictures different landscapes to help children identify not just an animal’s body covering, but its habitat as well.
3. Month of Poetry with Humpty Dumpty
In the traditional lyrics of Humpty Dumpty, an egg is sitting and falling off a wall. In our version, the egg is a baby eagle and is sitting on a very high ledge where an eagle nest is located. The eggs are baby eagles or eaglets. The new text teaches children positional words that are also opposites. Children need to understand and use these words in Science so they are able to describe the relationships that objects have to one another and the perspective of their observations. In the story, Humpty decides to go out of the nest and hang his feet over the edge, The other eggs want Humpty to get back in the nest. But, Humpty breaks out of his shell, and flies above, under, and around. Not only does Humpty learn positional words, but he also motivates children to try their best.
We are sometimes afraid of the things we do not understand. Therefore LIttle Miss Muffet must learn more about spiders to help her overcome her fear of them. In this version of the poem, she compares and contrasts a spider to an insect and learns the differences between them. Children learn about the specific number of body parts for each. They also learn the number of legs and eyes for spiders and insects.
Instead of jumping over a candlestick, Jack is trying to jump over his shadow. Before Jack can understand if he is able to jump over his shadow, he first must learn the science of where shadows come from. The lyrics within this rhyme teach students what makes a shadow and that it must move with its source. A great activity after reading this book is to take the children outside and see if they can jump their shadows.
6. Month of Poetry with Jack Sprat
Jack Sprat ate no fat and his wife would not eat lean. In our version, Jack helps his wife to understand the different food groups. In this text, children learn what a healthy diet includes. Mrs. Sprat prepares a well-balanced meal for Jack that includes meat, milk, cheese, fruit, vegetables, and bread. However, Mrs. Sprat will not eat the meat, Therefore, Jack explains that she is missing important protein, and offers her nuts and beans as a substitute. The new lyrics help children learn and understand the science behind a healthy and nutritious diet.
7. Month of Poetry with Peter Peter
Peter Peter put his wife in a pumpkin shell? That is an odd thing to do until you realize that in our version Peter Peter is a squirrel who loves eating pumpkins so much that he wants his wife to live in one. However, pumpkins make terrible homes because they rot and decay. Peter Peter learns all about this process and how new pumpkins can grow.
In this Hickory Dickory Dock nursery rhyme, Hickory is a mouse who learns that his day follows a routine. In addition, his routine follows the hours of the clock. Therefore, he must learn to tell time. Children will learn that telling time is important because it helps us move through our day with purpose.
If you do not wish to use the entire set during them month of poetry, we recommend you use them throughoput the year in the following order.
The Mother Goose meets Mother Nature Recommended Timeline
September: (Routines and Schedules) “Hickory, the Mouse Learns About Time” and “Teach About Time with Hickory, the Mouse”.
October: (Pumpkins) “Peter-Peter Learns About Decay and Growth” and “Teach About Decay and Growth with Peter-Peter”.
November: (Healthy eating habits) “Jack Sprat Learns About Food” and “Teach About Food with Jack Sprat”.
December/January: (Snow and ice, States of Matter) “Jack and Jill Learn About Water” and “Teach About Water with Jack and Jill”.
February: (Shadows) “Jack B. Nimble Learns About Shadows“ and “Teach About Shadows with Jack B. Nimble”.
March: (Animals and Habitats) “Mary Learns About Animal Coverings” and “Teach About Animal Coverings with Mary”.
April: (Insects and Spiders) “Little Miss Muffet Learns About Spiders” and “Teach About Spiders with Little Miss Muffet”.
May: (Life Cycles and Positional Words) “Humpty Dumpty Learns About Positions” and “Teach About Positions with Humpty Dumpty”.
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If you want to read more on this topic, check out the Helpful Professor.