Ella Jenkins: Early Early Childhood Songs

Music review by
Shana Kirk, Common Sense Media
Ella Jenkins: Early Early Childhood Songs Music Poster Image
Friendly sounding songs even babies can enjoy.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that singing traditional nursery rhymes is often the first step in a child's musical education. Jenkins allows kids to do that and so much more. She enriches the experience by creating name-that-tune type games on the second half of the CD. And as another added bonus, in line with Jenkins' aim to educate culturally as well as musically, the tune "London Bridge" is fitted with Japanese words.

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What's the story?

Over the past four decades, Ella Jenkins has made herself legendary among music educators by recording her own preschool music classes. EARLY EARLY CHILDHOOD SONGS, originally issued in 1982, is an informal musical game session with a class of 3- and 4-year-olds. The first half is completely instrumental, meant to be a purely listening session, but could also serve as karaoke-style backup music for sing-alongs. On the second half, Jenkins begins a tune-guessing game by playing a few bars of the melody for the kids to guess before they start singing the words. She also directs some simple movements to accompany the songs (great for antsy back-seaters).

Is it any good?

For a collection of nursery rhymes, this is quiet and unobtrusive. These simple little ditties teach and reinforce the skills of singing on key, imitating rhythms, and memorizing words. Plus, Jenkins' multicultural approach ensures that even the adults can learn something new. For example, in line with Jenkins' aim to educate culturally as well as musically, the tune "London Bridge" is fitted with Japanese words.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the different instruments they hear and try to identify them. They can also play the tune-guessing games together, in which a bit of the tune is first played on an instrument, before Jenkins sings the lyrics.

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