The last class of the session at Birkdale was full of energy and positivity, with lots of spring sunshine coming in through the windows. Though the kids weren’t the most focused during The Hello Song, Roly Poly worked its magic, and from that point on everyone was engaged with the music and actions. We went on a bus ride, a rowboat ride, and a rocket ship ride. We turned into sharks, frogs, and monkeys. But at the end of the day it seems like Put Your Finger in the Air is the fan favourite at Birkdale. Hopefully I’ll be able to come back soon and sing it with everybody again!
Even though the class was surprisingly small today, the kids who did show up had more than enough energy for the whole room. They also played very well with each other, much to the delight of their mothers. During Sleeping Bunnies they both cuddled each other while lying down on the ground, and similarly spun and walked and jumped together during songs like Walk and Stop. However, one of the kids had to leave early, which meant a private class for the one who remained. He was as excited as could be! By that time what remained was the instrument of the week and jam, so I took the opportunity to go through all the instruments in the jam bag with him one by one, though he seemed most interested in the drum. Hopefully next week we’ll have a larger group!
Things were off to a bit of an awkward start, as one of the kids was mid-way through a serious crying session when I arrived at Birkdale. However, once her mom arrived, things calmed down, and we were able to focus on songs. It was a bit of a shy class, from both kids and grown-ups, but I found that with enough variety there was something for everybody to latch on to. One kid was very into clapping and body parts songs, and another, who seemed completely disengaged throughout the class, instantly perked up for the instruments and parachute, letting out a smile I hadn’t seen all class. It’s good to know that even if you can’t capture everyone’s attention in the same way for every song, that everyone can find their own joy throughout the class.
We had a “small but mighty” group at Birkdale today, but everyone was so engaged, the class felt very full. The parents seem to really enjoy and appreciate the program, and the kids are such balls of excitement and energy that it brings everyone’s energy up, especially the Birkdale staff! One of the kitchen staff periodically visited the room and clapped along with our songs, which were about motion today. Songs like Wheels on the Bus and Little Red Wagon gave way to a big train ride around the circle, which made the kids even more eager to bring out the “instrument train” at the end. Let’s hope the word spreads for next week!
Nobody had shown up by the time I arrived at Birkdale, so the staff made a couple of rounds of announcements until we had some latecomers. Despite the extra effort needed to get people to come out, the ones that did were enthusiastic from the start and were very clearly engaging with their kids, and not just watching from the sidelines. We had a slightly older sibling in the group, and his energy and participation set a great example for kids and grown-ups alike. Sometimes the older siblings are a bit apprehensive about engaging with the material, but this one came ready to sing, and the enthusiasm was infectious. Hopefully we have a larger group next week!
What a joy! In contrast to last week, we had lots of parents this week, and they were truly enthusiastic and happy to be there. It’s amazing to see parents light up when they see their kids singing along, and even more amazing to see them singing together. Everything was jovial, and even when things got a bit noisy they didn’t take too much time to calm down. The big hits this week were Put Your Finger in the Air and The Hokey Pokey. There was zero fuss during our sharing activity and the post jam clean up. I hope every week can be like this one!
Today was a smaller group at Birkdale. Hopefully it’s just a matter of getting in the swing of things and letting parents make room in their schedules to come every week. The kids who attended were very engaged, but also easily distracted. In these instances, it’s always helpful to have the grown-ups double down on their engagement with the songs and lead by example, but since there were no parents the Birkdale staff had their wrangling hands full and often resorted to calling out to kids to sit down or listen in the middle of songs. I made a point of asking them not to do this, as it just adds to the distraction and makes it harder for the other kids to engage with the songs. However, there were still some great moments today, especially with all the clapping songs. The kids seemed to really want to keep the rhythm, and if I asked them to show me how they could clap that brought them back into focus every time. A good thing to keep in mind for future classes!
Coming off of last week’s surprisingly low attendance (even the staff were surprised), today felt like a triumph. There were lots of kids who were excited to sing and were clapping along from the get-go. Though there weren’t as many parents as I had hoped, the staff were very engaged with the kids and helped keep them focused. It’s clear that the staff at Birkdale really care about the kids and the program, and they said they’d make an effort to get more parents out next week. Things started getting a bit hectic when it came time to get the kids standing in a circle, but it was good practice because they sat back down in a circle without much fuss. We passed around all the instruments in the bag as I introduced them, and everyone sang along to their ABCs. I’m very excited about this group!
A lot of parents were out with their kids on Friday, so unfortunately the start of the session was a bit under attended, with only one child and one parent. Luckily, they were both quite engaged, especially with hand signs and motions. The intimacy of the session also made for a great one-on-one introduction to all the instruments in the instrument bag, and more focused and direct communication. However, I’m very excited to be joined by the rest of the regular group next week!
Today was my last class with the Birkdale staff, kids, and caregivers. I got to finish off strong with some of my regulars and meet a new little friend and mom as well. The kids enjoyed the Elephants Have Wrinkles movement song as well as another rendition of Jingle Bells done with body bells on the wrists. We had a high energy jam session and finished with Sleeping Bunnies under the parachute.