There were a couple of new faces at Birkdale Residence today, and I was very pleased to see that almost all the moms chose to stay and participate with their children for the entire class. After singing Hello, I decided to see how many children knew the English alphabet, as sometimes this is a good way of observing any language barriers. I assessed quite quickly that almost everyone could sing the entire song quite confidently, so I decided to put a little bit of my newly-discovered Orff training to use and asked the children to keep the beat of the song using different parts of the body. We started with the feet, and then transferred the beat to clapping the hands and to finish, slapping the knees. It was fun to see who had a good sense of beat and so I decided to then focus on something similar; rhythm. Rhythm relies more on the text and so when singing "I Wake Up My Hands," we experiment with keeping a rhythm on "clap, clap, clap". In the same way, we then transfer the rhythm to different parts of the body. The group was extremely attentive today (except for one or two children who were slightly more interested in other toys around the space), and so I was encouraged by the amount of participation. We used the hands to sing a familiar song about opposites ("Hands Together, Hands Apart") and got sticky with "Sticky Sticky Bubblegum" (lots of body part work today!). Realizing that I had never done a song about "getting clean", I taught the group Bath Time for the first time. I made sure to break down the chorus, showing them all the actions. It was fun to scrub away all the sticky bubblegum. Once we were all cleaned up, I told them we were going on a trip but we needed to take the bus ("Wheels On The Bus"), and when we hadn't arrived, we sang "Hurry Hurry Drive The Firetruck" to help us get closer to our destination. When they found out we were indeed going to the MOON, we stood up and sang "Zoom Zoom Zoom!" For the Instrument of the Week, I decided to briefly review the instruments from the Jam Bag (drum, tambourine, maracas). We started with a new jam song, but one I was hoping most of the grownups would know, "Brown Eyed Girl." It was fairly successful but I found that most grownups did not know the lyrics to the first verse (I will break down the lyrics next week to encourage more participation; that was my error), and we sang two familiar songs to incorporate the instruments a little bit more "Three Little Birds" and "Lion Sleeps Tonight."
All in all, it was a good starting part, and thank goodness because it felt like the last two weeks were a little crazy! I was happy to see the level of participation go up from the last two weeks and I was most thrilled about the number of moms who stayed and sang with us. I even spoke with one more who recommended a song from Barney! I love when moms throw suggestions my way, because it is a great way to get them engaged. One of the residence staff workers told me they are working hard to encourage the moms to stay, and I think they have been VERY successful thus far!