Whoa, today was a busy day at Birkdale. My apologies if my blog is shorter than usual, I am pretty tired after an eventful morning! There were a couple of new faces today and not many moms were able to join us. Luckily I had 3 amazing shelter staff available to participate and as we sang the Hello Song, two new siblings walked in with their mom. I was about 15 minutes into the class when the oldest sibling threw a complete tantrum when his mom decided to leave. I kept the class going but it was hard to compete with this meltdown, let me tell you! The shelter staff took turns trying to do damage control and bringing the mom back into the room, but to honest at this point, I wasn't paying attention. I had a class to run! I slowed things right now and did my best to keep everyone's attention by using props (turtle puppet, and rolling the ball). We also sang 2 songs about the beautiful sunshine today (Mr. Sun, Trees Need The Sun), and sensing that the group was getting restless, we stood up and marched around the room (Elephants Marching). Sticking with the animal theme we then sang a silly song that allowed us to stick out our tongues (Little Green Frog). The IOTW was the Tingshaw Bells from Tibet and I couldn't have chosen a more perfect instrument for today. It allowed us a chance to be quiet and focused as I demonstrated how to create the ringing sound by tapping the bells gently together. They LOVED the fact that I was able to come up close to then ring the bells directly over their head. After making sure everyone had a turn, we put them away and brought out the Jam Bag.
The meltdown was at about a level 10 by now and Elizabeth was called to assist, so we sang over the commotion (Three Little Birds, De-Oh, Head And Shoulders). I took a risk in bringing out the parachute, but played a compilation of slow tunes instructing all the children to lie down and look up at the colours overhead. It seemed to help calm the somewhat erratic energy of the group and as the little lad was taken out of the room with Elizabeth, I put away the parachute. Due to the challenges during today's class, I decided to ask the group "What songs did we sing today?" I wanted to remind them of all the fun that we had singing about all the beautiful things outside (like the sun, trees and animals). The group seemed to respond well and yelled out things like "frog! turtle!" etc. It also helped focus the group once again for the Goodbye Song, which we sang all together.
As I packed up my things, one of the shelter workers said "wow, that was crazy today" and all I could think was "yea, but man, am I glad there was no strike because I would have missed seeing you guys!"