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Who is Ms. Rachel And Why Do Your Children Love Her?

By Orgesta Tolaj


24 September 2023

ms. rachel

© msrachelforlittles / Instagram

Bright, colorful, fun, understanding, and kind. These are all words that you might want your child’s teacher to be described as. And that is exactly what this lady is offering.

Dealing with children can be quite tiresome and it can become a bit more troublesome if the child is having speech problems. However, there is a way for your child to advance further with their speech impediment. That is what Ms. Rachel is aiming to do. But, who is Ms. Rachel and why are kids so mesmerized by her content? Let’s dive into it together!

Who Is Ms. Rachel?

Ms. Rachel, whose real name is Rachel Griffin Acursso is a content creator who kick-started her career on Youtube. She mainly deals with children’s content creation and helps children take the first steps when it comes to talking. She used to be a New York City preschool teacher who has now become a prominent YouTube and TikTok personality, significantly influencing children globally.

© msrachelforlittles / Instagram

The creator grew up in Springvale, Maine, which Ms. Rachel says had given her trouble choosing her career path, but she had a strong affinity for working with children and helping others. Her journey towards combining these interests with music began when she took a job involving children at a Boys & Girls Club, although it would be some time before she merged these passions.

In 2009, she spontaneously moved to New York City after being inspired by a Mark Twain quote about regretting not pursuing one’s dreams. She supported herself by working as a nanny and taking on various odd jobs. Less than a year after her move, she crossed paths with Mr. Accurso at a Unitarian church on the Upper East Side, and they connected as kindred spirits.

How Did She Get Started?

Rachel Griffin Accurso unknowingly transformed into her alter ego one spring morning in Manhattan while rushing to grab pastries on her way to a recording studio. The sun’s heat prompted her to remove her jacket, revealing her signature attire of blue jean overalls, a pink T-shirt, and a matching headband. At this moment, she became the friendly woman from her popular children’s videos, known for joyfully pronouncing words, babbling when necessary, waving, and singing to engage her young viewers.

Together with her husband, Broadway composer Aron, she creates educational content and music classes for toddlers and preschoolers under the name “Songs For Littles” on YouTube.

The inspiration for starting this channel came when Accurso’s son, Thomas, was diagnosed with a speech delay, prompting her to create content that could help children with speech and language development.

What Does She Do?

Ms. Rachel’s “Songs for Littles” YouTube channel boasts an impressive following, with more than 6 million subscribers and over 1 billion views. The channel focuses on toddler and baby learning videos designed to aid children in developing their speech, learning letters, numbers, colors, animal sounds, and more.

Ms. Rachel’s success can be attributed to the simplicity of her videos, which feature close-ups of her mouth, strategic pauses for viewer responses, and the use of sign and body language to encourage speech and language development. Her primary goal is to help children learn and grow.

While Ms. Rachel takes center stage in her videos, she collaborates with a team of professionals, including her husband Aron operating puppets Georgie and Herbie, as well as a cast of musical and technical experts, such as Beth Jean, Jules, Natalie Kaye Clater, Frida Matute, Alexa Smith, Keisha Gilles, Angelo Soriano, Simon Kafka, and Dennis Stowe, who contribute to bringing “Songs for Littles” to life.

Why Do Kids Love Ms. Rachel?

Ms. Rachel has a strong foundation in child development. In her videos, she employs a sing-songy and enthusiastic tone while carefully enunciating words, a speech pattern known as “parentese.” Although this manner of speaking might be somewhat annoying and jarring to adults, research has demonstrated its significant benefits for children.

One of the most important studies is a research conducted at the University of Washington found that children whose parents were coached in using parentese displayed a notably larger vocabulary compared to children in a control group. Parents in the coached group estimated their 18-month-old children knew approximately 100 words, whereas those in the control group estimated their children knew only about 60.

Is Her Content Actually Good for Your Kids?

Dr. Cara Goodwin, a child psychologist, points out that there is no current published research saying that Ms. Rachel’s content is bad for children. However, she explains that scientific research often lags behind popular trends and may take years to catch up.

Dr. Goodwin does reference a 2007 study on ‘baby media’ published in the Journal of Pediatrics. This study examined shows like “Baby Einstein” which shares similarities with Ms. Rachel’s content, such as music, a leisurely pace, object labeling, sign language, and puppets. The research suggested that for every hour of baby TV watched by children aged eight to 16 months, they knew six to eight fewer words. However, this study’s findings are still questioned to this day.

Another study, published in the British Journal of Psychology, found that children who watched “Baby Einstein” did not show any significant language learning from the videos. Instead, the study highlighted that the most significant predictor of vocabulary comprehension and production in children was the amount of time they spent being read to.

Concerns Regarding Her Content

US-based educator Jerrica Sannes recently sparked controversy on social media by criticizing the creator and her show. Sannes argued that the most successful preschool shows are not necessarily the best for children but rather those that can captivate a child’s attention beyond what is naturally sustainable. She further asserted that such shows may give parents and caregivers a false impression that the content is genuinely “educational.”

The Other Side of The Story

While some do not agree with Ms. Rachel’s work style, certified speech-language pathologists have commended Ms. Rachel for integrating genuine therapeutic techniques into her videos, supporting her goal of enhancing toddlers’ communication skills. Ms. Rachel’s dedication has resulted in more children being able to participate in activities such as story time and preschool games with their peers. Her content, which covers everything from teaching first words to expanding vocabulary, is considered a valuable use of children’s screen time.

The Importance of Speech Therapy for Kids

Speech therapy is quite important for children because it:

  1. Enhances Communication. Speech therapy equips children with the ability to express their thoughts and feelings effectively, enabling them to communicate more clearly and accurately.
  2. Improves Social Skills. Speech therapy aids in the development of essential social and pragmatic language skills, which are crucial for interactions within their community and daily life. Strategies like video modeling, role-playing, and therapy apps can be used to enhance social skills.
  3. Enhances Reading Skills. Speech therapy addresses speech delays that can impede a child’s listening, reading, and writing abilities. Developing literacy skills can greatly assist in communication and expression.
  4. Reduces Communication Frustrations. Speech therapy focuses on strengthening speech muscles through exercises that involve repeating sounds and imitating the speech therapist. This helps children communicate more effectively, reducing frustration in their interactions with both peers and adults.

What are your thoughts on the matter? Do you believe that educational content, such as Ms. Rachel’s, can have a positive or negative impact on young children’s development? We would love to hear your insights and experiences in the comments below.

Orgesta Tolaj

Your favorite introvert who is buzzing around the Hive like a busy bee!