This little piggie went to market.
This little piggie stayed home.
This little piggie had roast beef.
This little piggie had none.
And this little piggie cried, “Whee whee whee” all the way home.
There is nothing on earth as precious as baby toes. They are so little and soft and squishy and I really just want to eat them up. I spent endless hours tickling, rubbing, and holding my babies toes. They may have always worn hats, but they rarely wore socks because I wanted easy access to their little piggies.
Why is it important for parents and caregivers of very young children to play games, sing songs, and repeat chants over and over with their infants and toddlers? Infants build trust with the people around them who respond in caring, nurturing and consistent ways. Engaging with a child using her piggies as props and a soothing , sing-song voice to repeat the “Piggies” story over and over reaffirms the child’s nascent understandings of the world as a safe and caring and consistent place.
The “Piggie” story serves another purpose because it follows a predictable pattern. Children come to expect that the piggie who comes after the roast beef-eating piggie never gets any roast beef. The last piggie always runs home screaming, “Whee, whee, whee.” This repetition also creates an experience that is predictable which may be one of the most important systems we have to support early mathematical concepts. It is within the repetitive structure of the young child’s day and routines where she develops expectations. Trust is built when the expectations are met. Feelings of confidence and security emerge as she predicts the next part of the story and she finds that she is correct.
It is important that parents and caregivers establish routines that are repetative and engaging. If at the end of the day, when you remove shoes (?) and socks, you tell the Piggie story with both the child’s right foot and then the left foot, you should try to continue that routine evening after evening so it becomes a part of the child’s routine. This “bonding” interaction will eventually become a part of the whole evening and the routine will be incomplete without it.
So, is there value in the Piggie Story? You betcha!