Using Nursery Rhymes to develop children's knowledge and understanding of the past

Primary History article

By Penelope Harnett, published 1st December 2005

Nursery rhymes are good sources of evidence about the past and their potential for developing children's understanding has been discussed in earlier editions of Primary History (Woodhouse: 2005, 2001; Cooper: 2005; Primary History : 2000) They may be used as starting points to provide information about past ways of life and also to raise questions about people's lifestyles which could develop into further historical enquiries. Through listening to rhymes children are introduced to different games and activities which children played in the past. In doing this, present day children may begin to appreciate some of the continuous threads which link them with children in the past as they enjoy and participate in similar activities.

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