Today was the first day back at Robertson House after a busy holiday season. I took some time over the break to create some goals for the session, yet I realized as I do every time I prepare for a class that I must be prepared to go with the flow and be open to the ideas/inspiration set forth by the people I meet. I arrived about half an hour early to help organize the room and reconnect with the various staff members who were also returning from holidays. I noticed that the room was ready to go and set up slowly reacquainting myself with the large space in which we play. I was lucky to have Jo, my RSF Co-ordinator, attend the first class and found her presence, as always, to be a wonderful calm to my sometimes somewhat excited energy. One little boy was standing outside the door and seemed rather curious and after inviting him into the room I learned his name. After giving him a name tag and explaining what RSF was all about, he excitedly said "I have to go get my mom!" He hurried off and shortly returned with a woman who brought with her three other children. She explained to me that she was the mother to five children and was expecting another (one was napping upstairs). I couldn't believe it. Can you imagine having six children?! I told her how happy I was that her family could join us and told her to sit however she was most comfortable. Well didn't she sit right down on the floor with her beautiful kids and smile! Her energy was incredible and infectious.
I started with teaching some sign language (hello, goodbye and their individual names) and got to know their interests. I discovered that they were familiar with several traditional children's songs and decided to show them the RSF CD and what songs we would try singing that day. We started with I Wake Up Hands and Sticky Sticky Bubblegum. Moving along slowly we also did Wheels On The Bus and I've Been Working On The Railroad. Animal songs are always a hit and so I taught them Sleeping Bunnies, which had us laughing when one of the oldest boys was spooked by the guitar at one particular part in the song. Then I brought out the Bean Bag and asked them what colour and shape it was. I was impressed to see them answering the questions so quickly and confidently. The oldest boy interjected at one point and said "When will you be playing the guitar again?" and I knew in that moment that he was hooked. It was a great feeling.
For IOTW I demonstrated how to play the Djembe Drum. I started by asking them a series of questions such as "Which body part do you play the drum with?" and "Where did you first hear the sound of a drum?" When the second question seemed to stump them I explained that they first heard the sound of the drum inside their mother's belly, and that in fact, it was the sound of her heartbeat. Then I played a steady "heartbeat" on the drum to make my point. I passed the drum around and asked them to try keeping a beat whether it be fast or slow. The we brought out the instruments and played Momma Don't Allow giving each group of instruments a chance to solo.
Overall it was a wonderful start to the year with a extremely attentive group. At the end, more than one child said "That was fun!" and that is always music to my ears.