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Fact Sheet - Baby Rhyme Time

Are you keen to review or run Baby Rhyme Time sessions at your library? This fact sheet provides supportive information and ideas about delivering a quality First 5 Forever Baby Rhyme Time program.

What is Baby Rhyme Time

Baby Rhyme Time, or a similarly named session, is a fun, interactive half hour program for babies aged 0-24 months and their parents and primary caregivers. It facilitates adult-baby interaction, pre-literacy support and communication development through simple songs and action rhymes. Some libraries may wish to add shared book reading to their Baby Rhyme Time session. A promotional video about Baby Rhyme Time is available at the First 5 Forever web page.

Aims of Baby Time

  • Model best practice in communication and pre-literacy activities for babies from birth
  • Create a supportive environment for parents and primary caregivers to interact and engage with their baby
  • Provide positive key messages on the important role parents and primary caregivers play in their baby’s language and early literacy development
  • Increase skills and confidence of parents and primary caregivers to use language and early literacy activities at home with their baby
  • Introduce the library as a free, safe, welcoming place that offers a range of programs, services and resources for 0-24 month old babies and their families
  • Reduce parents’ and primary caregivers’ social isolation by building relationships with other families, library staff and community service providers supporting very young children

Recommended skills to deliver Baby Rhyme Time

Library staff, early childhood educators or local community Artsworkers can run a Baby Rhyme Time session. To deliver a quality program, the following skills are recommended:

  • An ability to communicate well with babies and their families
  • Familiarity with a range of simple songs, active rhymes and appropriate books for babies
  • An awareness of early childhood development and how Baby Rhyme Time sessions support a baby’s communication and pre-literacy skill development
  • An ability to share key messages, ideas and strategies with parents and primary caregivers about their important role and how to support their baby’s communication and pre-literacy skill development
  • Enthusiasm, empathy, and a flexible nature to observe and respond to what’s happening before, during and after Baby Rhyme Time sessions to ensure maximum engagement of babies and their families
  • Knowledge of library resources and local community services that support families and their babies

Helpful tips for running Baby Rhyme Time

Consider these tips when reviewing or preparing your Baby Rhyme Time session.

Before the session

  • Create a space that invites parents and primary caregivers to engage and interact with their babies on the floor and while seated on chairs

Beginning of the session

  • Welcome parents, primary caregivers and babies
  • Introduce yourself and why Baby Rhyme Time is important
    “Learning to sing, talk and share books with your child from birth gives them the best chance to develop communication and pre-literacy skills.”
  • Invite parents and primary caregivers to switch their mobile phones to silent to encourage their active participation
  • Include a consistent start song to provide structure, familiarity and positive associations around the session for babies

During the session

  • Use simple songs and active rhymes that are appropriate for babies and encourage face-to-face interaction between parents/primary caregivers and their baby (e.g. Row, row, row your boat). Babies learn best when they can see the face of someone special.
  • Include messages (i.e. communication and pre-literacy messages) for parents and primary caregivers about the choice of content and ways to repeat these ideas at home as part of everyday activities (Refer to key messages for parents and primary caregivers).
  • Regularly repeat the simple songs and active rhymes in the session and at subsequent ones – babies learn best through repetition as it allows them to start to initiate communication and predict what’s happening next.
  • Slow down the pace and be aware of tempo. Babies need time to be able to respond and engage with their parent or primary caregiver
  • Include physical actions (e.g. clapping, finger plays or props to hold) to encourage interaction and build motor skills. It also supports kinaesthetic learning styles. (Borrow simple songs with props from State Library).
  • Throughout the session provide encouragement to the group, as well as to individual parents, primary caregivers and babies, to reinforce positive messages and behaviours.

End of the session

  • Include a consistent finish song to provide structure, familiarity and positive associations around the session for babies
  • End with an important take home message for parents and primary caregivers around the benefits of singing simple songs and rhymes, talking with your baby, responding to your baby, and sharing books
  • Hand out a Baby Rhyme Time take home sheet (e.g. with words to a simple song from the session).

Following the session

  • Put on a morning tea to provide time for parents and primary caregivers to connect with each other and library staff
  • Ensure library staff are available to provide additional information about programs, resources and services for very young children
  • Offer advice and support to parents and primary caregivers about their role in supporting their baby’s language and early literacy development

Positive First 5 Forever messages for parents and primary caregivers

Parents and primary caregivers play an important role in supporting their baby’s communication and pre-literacy development. Messages to share with them include:

  • Babies learn from the important people in their lives. Parents and primary caregivers are their child’s first and most important teacher
  • Learning starts at birth. It’s never too early to sing and share books with your baby
  • Nurture your baby’s love of language by sharing rhymes, singing songs, telling stories or playing with them
  • Everyday opportunities are the best for learning – point out, name and talk about what your young child can see or hear (e.g. during bath time, when going for a walk, while shopping)
  • Sharing and talking about books provides the best learning. It’s OK to read slowly, skip pages, talk about the pictures and not finish a book
  • It’s important that your baby can see your face when communicating. Crouch down or lift up your baby to let them know you are listening
  • Babies need time to communicate. Pause and then copy and respond to your baby’s sounds/babbling/noises and gestures. It helps them to practise sounds and encourages early turn taking
  • Babies need to be able to hear the important people in their lives talking. Switch off the TV, radio and mobile phones to help make this happen
  • Make comments about what your baby is doing, rather than asking too many questions, as this gives them information from which they can learn

Accessing further support

A video demonstrating a quality Baby Rhyme Time session is at First 5 Forever web page.

Send a sample of your current Baby Rhyme Time session to the First 5 Forever Co-ordinator at State Library to receive supportive and constructive feedback from a Speech Pathologist who is consulting on First 5 Forever. Video footage should record the Baby Rhyme Time session from start to finish and capture the interactions between the facilitator and the group.

Contact us

If you have questions, feedback or ideas regarding key messages for parents and primary caregivers, email first5forever@slq.qld.gov.au or phone 07 3840 7927 to speak with the First 5 Forever Program Co-ordinator.

Last updated
16th July 2015