A Victorian-Style Rote Learning System, Pt. 5

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A Victorian-Style Rote Learning System, Pt. 5

Michael Knox Beran points out that long before children begin school, parents create a learning system with the primitive poetry of the nursery rhyme. Before a two-year-old understands the meaning of nursery rhyme words, he or she delights in the rhythm and rhyme of the verse.

“Poetry provides an abstract system of order and harmony,” writes Beran. “The rhythm and the rhyme scheme are logical structures that a child can comprehend even before he understands the words themselves.”

What a child discovers, then, is not only aesthetically pleasing but critical for cognitive development. Rote poetry learning systems teach kids a great deal about order, measure, proportion, correspondence, balance, symmetry, agreement, temporal relation, and mood. Grasping these concepts in a rote learning system is the most fundamental kind of learning, “for these are the basic categories of thought and the framework in which we organize sensory experience.”

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