An article published by news.com.au today has addressed an issue happening in childcare centers around the nation that seems to be baffling some parents and members of the community…

Many centers around Australia have started replacing words within songs that could potentially be deemed to be offensive. Like the work ‘black’ in the song ‘Baa baa black sheep’.

News.com.au reports:

Staff at childcare centres in the south-eastern suburbs told the Herald Sun the lyric was being changed because of concerns over the racial connotations of “black”, and to reflect a multicultural community.

Kindergarten teachers have told the Herald Sun a centre in Melbourne’s east had also considered changing the line “one for the little boy who lives down the lane” in case it could be deemed sexist.

But really, is this just political correctness gone crazy?

At my daughters pre-school they sing ‘Baa baa rainbow sheep’ and whenever I have tried to sing this song to her at home with the original lyrics (‘baa baa black sheep’) I am quickly corrected by my 3 year old, they have also added to the song so now when we sing it it goes like this

Baa baa rainbow sheep, have you any wool?

Yes sir, yes sir, three bags full

One for the master and one for the dame, and one for the little boy who lives down the lane,

and one for the little girl who lives down the lane

It is quite confusing as why would they have three bags of wool but four people to give it to?

So I’ve made my own amendments to the song, since it isn’t in it’s original form anymore anyway I throw in different animals and replace names… this is one of my favourite renditions and my three year old thinks I am hilarious (someone has to!):

Ooh ooh silly monkey, have you any bananas?

Yes fish, yes fish, three trees full

One for Mummy and one for Daddy and one for the little monkey who is a silly banana

I know, I know, seeing it in written form isn’t as humorous and it doesn’t really make much sense – but neither does a rainbow sheep, has anyone ever seen one of those?

Has your child’s pre-school changed lyrics in any songs? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

  • Interesting that the same people who have issues with changing the color of the sheep seem to have no problem with changing the “little boy who lived down the lane” into a little girl. Race trumps gender in the hurt feelings category, I guess.

    Here’s a novel idea: maybe we could all just grow up and start worrying about things that actually matter. Things like child abuse, world hunger–stuff that actually destroys our society versus the WORDS that someone uses.


  • I think changing nursery rhymes like that is so overboard. The world has gone rediculously politically correct. :/


  • Nawww, that is just silly, we sing it as I was taught & we just sing the song again to change it to girl,


  • lol that is cute how you changed the lyrics. i also don’t know how people got through their lives while being taught the original version! stuff is getting rediculous now days and every body finds ways to get offended by anything.


  • In reality children don’t become racist due to a nursery rhyme. They become racist (in my honest opinion) from learning about different people from their family member opinions and the media reporting about “racist incidents”. I taught both my girls has had black sheep and I’m pretty sure thats how they still sing it on preschool! My children know that everyone isn’t the same skin colour and they understand that the world is made up of many different people with different looks and cultures and languages. They are keen to learn about the world and the people in it and don’t need these silly over the top changes.


  • My child is not at preschool age yet, but I think they have gone too far.


  • I had a conversation with some children I know, aged 9 & 11, about this pc stupidity recently.
    When I told them about the lyric black sheep being changed to rainbow sheep, they said, “sheep aren’t rainbow though. How are sheep being racist because of their colour? Some sheep are black.”

    I’m glad they’re able to think for themselves & were equally outraged as I was.
    Then I said to them, “what about my hair? Is my hair racist?” My hair is black.
    They laughed hysterically saying, “racist hair.”
    Haha we all had a good laugh at the absurdity of this.


  • That is just pathetic really.. I’d rather they just don’t sing it


  • this is just gone too far ridiculous ill still be singing baa baa black sheep!


  • This is just so crazy, what is it exactly we are protecting our children reform. Hurt feelings, feeling different and feeling left out are all part of growing up. It’s now we develop our since of self. This just makes me feel exasperated.


  • I find it confusing and ridiculous. It’s not only schools…. I was at a meeting the other day when I was asked to put points on the marker board….???? yep, they were talking about the white board!! ….and I had a choice of green & blue markers to write with…. sorry, no black. Sigh.


  • There is no way that baa baa black sheep is going to become a victim of this political correctness be, in all my years working in childcare baa baa black sheep has always been the most requested song.
    However I do like to link the song to the book where’s the green sheep and ask the children to choose what color to sing by picking a picture of different coloured sheep to help the toddlers learn their colours


  • ONE kindergarten, and all this hoo ha? Baa-me!


  • Honestly! It’s utter ridiculous behaviour! I am teaching. My children the real version – so they both know it. It didn’t have a adverse effect on most of the world growing up -why change it now?


  • My nieces were taught that at least 25 years ago. She is now 31. I can remember the eldest one “correcting” me when I started singing it to her one day and asking her Mum about it………..You rarely see black sheep. I distinctly remember my Dad telling a relative of ours that he had better not let the ram in with the ewes. They had the last laugh as the ram had been neutered. He had been bottle raised and been a pet for a couple of years before going into the paddock with the others full-time. His wool was much sought after.


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