Have you ever noticed how young children seem to be constantly repeating themselves? They try to stand, fall down, and try again. They build puzzles and blocks in the same ways, testing their knowledge and skills and learning from their mistakes. During childhood (and especially between the ages of 0 and 3), neural pathways are constantly being built. If you take a look at pictures of neural connections by age (see below), you’ll notice that at birth there are fewer neural pathways, then there is an explosion of them, and then they start to taper off as the lesser-used pathways fade away. The more times a pattern is repeated, the stronger that neural connection will be. Therefore, the more repetition a child can have of important life and educational skills, the stronger those connections will remain in his or her brain as he or she ages.
Some adults may become bored by the repetition of songs and activities in storytime because their neural pathways are so strong. However, it is important to remember (and communicate) the strengthening of these neural connections for children - repetition creates stronger brains! Also, inserting Early Literacy tips can help engage the adult brain while the child's brain gets the repetition it needs to succeed.
Repeating songs and rhymes from one storytime to another (like a hello song or a fingerplay) are great because familiarity feels good to children of all ages and developmental range. This is especially true for children who fall onto the Autism spectrum, and why not work to include them in your everyday storytime, as well?
While, at times, it might seem tedious to repeat the same things over and over again, know that this repetition is helpful for children’s brain development. Soon, they’ll master those songs and activities and you can throw something new their way that you can build up through more repetition!