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Poetry & Quotes for Early-Years Recitations

Poetry & Quotes for Early-Years Recitations


When I think about what I want my girls to take with them from their childhood and their homeschool life, I love the thought of their heads being filled with beautiful ideas and words. Having poetry and quotes in your heart at your disposal is a gift. That is something that can be drawn upon in a time of hardship, or a moment of happiness, or when writing and needing just the right words to say, when encouraging someone else, or when you need to draw from the wisdom of others. 

The songs and poems we memorize in childhood can sometimes stay with us for LIFE! My mom had a well-worn children's poetry book that she read to me often when I was a toddler. At 18 months old I had There Once Was a Puffin memorized and recited it for my Grandma on a cassette tape. I still remember it! (Oh there once was a puffin, just the shape of a muffin...)

Simply Charlotte Mason has a really nice system for practicing memory work. You write down all of your beloved poems, quotes, and religious verses onto note cards and spend just a couple of minutes each day reading them aloud. As you learn them, you shuffle them back further into the system so you practice it less often. So clever. Watch the video which explains it better than I can in words!

The important part - but the fun part - is deciding what matters to you so much that you'd love to keep it with you forever. What memory gifts do you want to give your children? When the poems or verses are new to them they may not show much excitement about them. But once they know them? The verse becomes like a friend! They are excited and proud to recite it.

I decided to get more official with our recitations so I bought a little notecard holder and some dividers - ready to fill up with cards full of beautiful words! The blank cards starting back at me meant I had some work to do. I thought I'd share some of the things we will be memorizing, in case you're looking for some new recitation material too!


Be Content

Be content with what you have;
rejoice in the way things are.  
When you realize there is nothing lacking,  
the whole world belongs to you. 

- Lao Tzu


Nature's first green is gold

Nature’s first green is gold, 
Her hardest hue to hold. 
Her early leaf’s a flower; 
But only so an hour. 
Then leaf subsides to leaf. 
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day. 
Nothing gold can stay. 

- Robert Frost


In the end what matters...

In the end what matters is not how good we are but how good God is. Not how much we love Him but how much He loves us. And God loves us whoever we are, whatever we’ve done or failed to do, whatever we believe or can’t. 

- Desmond Tutu


We are made for goodness.

We are made for goodness. We are made for love. We are made for friendliness. We are made for togetherness. We are made for all of the beautiful things that you and I know. We are made to tell the world that there are no outsiders. All are welcome: black, white, red, yellow, rich, poor, educated, not educated, male, female, gay, straight, all, all, all. We all belong to this family, this human family, God’s family. 

- Desmond Tutu


Simplicity, patience, compassion.

Simplicity, patience, compassion. 
These three are your greatest treasures, 
Simple in actions and thoughts, you return to the source of being. 
Patient with both friends and enemies, 
you accord with the way things are. 
Compassionate toward yourself, 
you reconcile all beings in the world. 

- Lao Tzu


Lift Someone Up

If you want to lift yourself up, lift someone else up. 

- Booker T Washington  


Be Kind

Be kind whenever possible.  It is always possible. 

- Dalai Lama


Better for Others

Don't do anything for selfish purposes, but with humility think of others as better than yourselves. Instead of each person watching out for their own good, watch out what is better for others.

Philippians 2:3-4



No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. 

- Aesop


A Few Caring People

Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever have.

- Margaret Mead


I'm Nobody!

I’m nobody! Who are you? 
Are you nobody too? 
Then there’s a pair of us - don’t tell! 
They’d banish us, you know. 
How dreary to be somebody! 
How public - like a frog
To Tell your name the livelong day
To an admiring bog! 

- Emily Dickenson


Winter Moon

How thin and sharp is the moon tonight! 
How thin and sharp and ghostly white
is the slim curved crook of the moon tonight! 

- Langston Hughes


Who Has Seen the Wind?

Who has seen the wind? 
Neither I nor you. 
But when the leaves hang trembling, 
the wind is passing through. 
Who has seen the wind? 
Neither you nor I. 
But when the trees bow down their heads, 
The wind is passing by. 

 - Christina G. Rossetti


Tree House

A tree house, a free house, 
a secret you and me house, 
A high up in the leafy branches  
cozy as can be house. 
A street house, a neat house,
Be sure and wipe your feet house
Is not my kind of house at all -  
Let’s go live in a treehouse. 

- Shel Silverstein


Hurt No Living Thing

Hurt no living thing; 
Ladybird, nor butterfly, 
Nor moth with dusty wing,
Nor cricket chirping cheerily, 
Nor grasshopper so light of leap, 
Nor dancing gnat, Nor beetle fat, 
Nor harmless worms that creep. 

- Christina G Rossetti


Do Not Give Up

Let’s not get tired of doing good, because in time we’ll have a harvest if we do not give up. 

Galatians 6:9


I Never Saw A Moor

I never saw a moor,
I never saw the sea, 
yet I know how the heather looks, 
and what a wave must be. 
I never spoke with God,
nor visited in heaven, 
yet certain am I of the spot
as if the chart were given. 

- Emily Dickenson  

If you'd like to get started on the recitation system yourself, I've linked supplies below!

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