Wow! We had a very special last class at the Redwood last night. After a three-week hiatus due to renovations, staff training and illness, everyone seemed happy and excited to resume the program. The children were calmer than I'd seen them in weeks, and they seemed eager to suggest songs when I announced that I'd be taking requests. Song suggestions included Shut the Door ("Can we do the spooky song??"), Old MacDonald and Sticky Sticky Bubblegum. I also made sure to add all their favourite movement songs, such as Shake Your Sillies Out, The Hokey Pokey, Zoom Zoom Zoom (We're Going to the Moon) and Walk and Stop. We also enjoyed a quieter/more pensive moment when we brought out the Ting Shaw bells as the Instrument of the Week. It was nice to see the calming effect it had on the group and they shared the instrument with each other very well!
At the end of the class the staff and I gave out participation certificates and instruments as prizes, and we applauded each child when they received them. This felt very significant as I'm not sure how often they get to feel celebrated. After the presentation we also ended up having an impromptu dance party while Ngasseu gave out popsicles. One of the most special and heart-warming moments of the night, however, came when a mother in the class (who has four children) thanked me for giving out the certificates. She said (referring to the certificates), "These are so thoughtful. We have other programs that come here but you are the only one that gives these out. I'm going to keep this as a memory for my children. Do you know if I can get them laminated? I loved the program." She said this with such gratitude and authenticity. One of the volunteers also told me that the class was one of the highlights of her week. Though our time at the Redwood was sometimes chaotic, I'm grateful that I got to see the deep impact the program had on the children and community. It was an honour to teach there this winter. :)