Preschool teacher turned YouTube sensation Ms. Rachel taught an internet troll an important lesson about body-shaming.
“Finishing my second masters in education while someone comments I’ve gained weight and should lose weight and try to be prettier if I’m going to have a show teaching toddlers,” Ms. Rachel — real name Rachel Accurso — wrote on a recent Instagram video.
In the clip, Ms. Rachel, who is known for radiating positive energy on her "Songs for Littles" YouTube channel, looks downcast as she stares at a computer screen.
“Real comment I got…” she captioned on her post. “I have better qualifications to teach than being thin and pretty. And that’s not where my value is!”
Ms. Rachel’s followers couldn’t agree more.
“Your body is nobody’s business. Thank you for teaching kids what REALLY matters — kindness, empathy, helping others, being a good human,” one person wrote. “And just know… it’s THEIR own insecurities they’re projecting on you, nothing to do with you.”
Added another, “Nobody speaks to my digital coparent like that!”
Other responses included, “The Mommy Militia has been activated, we ride at dawn,” and “We tolerate zero Ms. Rachel slander. You’re an angel on earth!”
Ms. Rachel is best known for her educational video series and she regularly gets stopped in the street by starstruck toddlers — and their parents.
Alongside her cast, which includes her husband, Broadway composer Aron, Ms. Rachel uses music to make language learning more fun. Her songs are also designed to encourage movement, listening skills and social emotional growth. Since launching her YouTube channel in 2019, Ms. Rachel has amassed more than 6.2 million subscribers.
Earlier this year, Ms. Rachel announced she was temporarily taking a break from social media for her mental health. The decision came after some people took issue with Jules Hoffman, a nonbinary musician featured in Ms. Rachel’s videos.
“Hurtful videos and comments, no matter how much attention they get, will not bring you want you want. Only love can do that,” Ms. Rachel wrote on Instagram at the time.
Who is Ms. Rachel?
Rachel Griffin Accurso, known online as Ms. Rachel, is a New York City preschool teacher turned YouTube and TikTok star who is making a big impact on children around the world.
Alongside her band, which includes her husband, Broadway composer Aron, Accurso produces a popular YouTube channel for toddlers and preschoolers with educational videos and music classes called "Songs For Littles."
Accurso began the channel after her son, Thomas, was diagnosed with a speech delay.
"His first word was at 2 years and 8 months and it was 'mama' and I had waited for that for so long," Accurso told NBC News' Gadi Schwartz. "As a parent you want to do anything you can to help them and it's not our fault when our child has a speech delay. A lot of things I teach are things I wish I had known for my son."
Ms. Rachel on YouTube
Accurso, who has a master's degree in music education from New York University, brings her viral videos to life in her one-bedroom apartment’s recording studio.
"I needed experts to help me," she says. "I thought, 'Wouldn't it be great if there was a show that really encouraged language development and worked on these important milestones and was slow-paced and a real person and very interactive?'"
She says she could not find a show that met her son's needs, so she decided to make one.
"I kept searching for this show for him and we couldn't find it, so I was like, maybe we can try to create it and maybe it would help more kids," Accurso says.
Ms. Rachel's "Songs For Littles" channel
Ms. Rachel's "Songs for Littles" YouTube channel has more than 6.2 million subscribers and over 3 billion views.
The channel's description explains that parents can expect "toddler learning videos and baby learning videos that help children learn to talk, learn letters, numbers, colors, animal sounds and more."
Ms. Rachel's success can be credited to the simplicity of each video.
She employs close-ups of her mouth, building in pauses for responses and using sign and body language to encourage speech and language.
Accurso's mission is simple.
“It always comes back to — am I helping?” she says.
Ms. Rachel's cast
While Ms. Rachel is the star of the show — with help from puppets, Georgie and Herbie, operated by Aron — there is a cast of musical and technical professionals who help “Songs for Littles” come to life.
Notable Ms. Rachel cast and crew include Beth Jean, Jules Hoffman, Natalie Kaye Clater, Frida Matute, Alexa Smith, Keisha Gilles, Angelo Soriano, Simon Kafka and Dennis Stowe.