Fond Farewell

Today was the final day at the Gooch Centre and I was sad to say goodbye. I feel like this group of kids really took a lot away from the program because they were all such strong and enthusiastic participants! We sang all of the classics that we've learned over the 7 weeks and it was amazing to see how well they all know the songs now. I lost them for a bit when we were singing "Everybody Knows that I Love My Toes" but then won them back with one of their favourites "What Are You Wearing?" Today they all pointed out to me that my turtle was not a real turtle but rather a puppet. They still had fun singing the song though! We did the caxixi for the IOTW which is great because all age groups can enjoy the caxixi. Once again, it was a very loud jam session but I didn't push it too hard. We all sang a nice final goodbye song and all of the moms were really excited about getting their certificates. I'm grateful to have had the opportunity to build relationships with the kids and parents and staff people at Gooch over the last 7 weeks. It's a wonderful and welcoming community that I was really lucky to have been a part of.


Caught in the Crowd

Last Thursday was a little bit of a chaotic day at Gooch. The group was quite large and I noticed that there were also a lot more parents than usual--which is great! We sang some new songs such as "Everybody Knows That I Love My Toes" and the "Turtle Song", they really liked the puppet! We also tried out "Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes" for the first time. We did the Singing Bowls for the IOTW and they really seemed to enjoy them, even though it was a little tricky to pass the instruments through the crowd. Next week is the last class and I'm really going to miss this group!

Singing Bowls:

Monkeying Around

There was a very calm energy at the Gooch centre today. The group was on the smaller side (compared to the usual big group) and most of the kids were ones that I recognized. It is amazing how well they are all getting to know the songs. They sang along to "Wake Up My Hands" and "Little Green Frog" with ease. I decided to take advantage of the small class size and do more movement today because it is normally difficult to get such a big group moving in a small space. We did "Five Little Monkeys" for the first time and they all jumped around and laughed and had a blast the whole time! When the monkeys "went to bed", we became sleeping bunnies. The kids love this song and had a lot of fun waking up and going back to sleep. We did the singing bowls for the IOTW and two other staff members helped me pass them around. The kids LOVED them!

It was one of the little boys' birthday so after we sang the goodbye song, the group went over to the table to sing happy birthday and have cake. The mom asked me to play guitar and sing with the cake, which I was more than happy to do! This was a really nice way to end the class today and the kids were singing "ABCD"--one of the songs we did during our jam session--as the grown ups passed around the cake. It's really exciting for me to see music extending outside of the circle!

I love working with this group and can't wait for next week--I've already had a request for the "Turtle Song"!

Parachute up and parachute down!

We had a lot of fun at the Gooch centre on June 5th. There were a lot of kids and moms that I recognized but a significant number of new children too. The energy was great--they're really starting to get to know me now so the kids approach me right away; it's nice to be building some relationships. We did "Wake Up My Hands" and "Little Green Frog" to start off because they are starting to get familiar with them, and then they got really excited for "Old MacDonald": I had animal suggestions left, right, and centre! For the IOTW, we did the cowbell which worked out really well. I held one and had the kids come up one at a time (passing around the circle doesn't bode well with this group) to try it, and Rosa (one of the staff members) held the other one. The jam was nice and loud with this group but it was the first time that there were no tears when we were putting away the IOTW and the jam instruments... progress!

Their favourite moment seemed to come with the parachute. They got so excited that every single one of them got under the parachute and it was all grownups on the outside. I played and sang "Shake it Baby, Shake it" while they were under the parachute (I have now decided not to use the CD player for the parachute anymore, as it's too difficult to wade through the crowd to get to the CD player... it breaks up the momentum). They loved it when we shook the parachute to the bottom and the top and cheered every time! Overall a great day at Gooch, not too overwhelming in terms of size, and all of the grownups were really supportive, as usual.


Today was a more relaxed day at the Gooch Drop-in Centre. The number of kids (25) was a lot more manageable and there were a lot more adults present too. There were a few new kids that I hadn't met yet, but most were kids that I had already met, and I'm excited to be learning their names and starting to get to know moms better too. We started out with an energetic "I Wake Up My Hands," and sang the "Little Green Frog" again--they remembered it well! Movement was a bit hectic, as it usually is but I can tell it's improving, especially with the staff members helping out.

One of my favourite moments today came when I brought out the Gong for the IOTW. I asked the kids if they knew what it was; one thought it was a cymbal (close!) and one little girl knew its name and proudly announced it. I demonstrated how to play it and gave a little bit of history, and then Yufeng (the program coordinator) had some other really interesting information about it too! She explained to the kids that in China, sometimes the Gong was used to signal the closing of big gates that allowed entry and exiting from big cities. This was really cool! I definitely learned something too!

I had the kids line up to try the Gong one at a time, which worked out pretty well. Our jam session was a lot of fun--I played "Three Little Birds"--and it was great to see how well the kids were sharing the instruments. They played their instruments through the whole jam session, enjoying every moment! No tears today when putting the instruments away--hooray!

Overall, I had a lot of fun with the kids today, and it was a much calmer session.


It was nice to be back at the Gooch Family Drop-In Centre today. There were some new faces (both kids and grown-ups), as well as a big group of kids and parents that I recognized from last week. We started out with the "Hello" song, and I realized right away that singing to each individual child wasn't an option with over 30 kids. Instead, I sang hello to girls, to boys, to moms, to dads and to grown-ups. I did the turtle song with them--having brought in the puppet--and they had a lot of fun with it. We did the song as a call and response and the response was huge! It's wonderful how much participation there is in this group. The instrument of the week was a little bit of a challenge today. We did the Guiro, and they loved it! The only thing that's a little bit tricky is making sure each child gets to try it and gauging how many kids still need to play it while I'm singing its accompaniment song. Yufeng and the other staff members helped out a lot with passing and tried to ensure that each child got a chance. I brought in 3 Guiros, which is usually plenty but with the size of the group, I really think I will need to start bringing 4-5 of each instrument, if it's possible. For the parachute today, I wasn't able to get over to the CD player so we sang "Red, and Yellow, Green and Blue" and then I got the kids to 'pretend to sleep' underneath while we sang "Twinkle Twinkle." This helped to calm the group before our goodbye song.

It was a really fun and energetic day overall, and I'm looking forward to joining them all again next week!

Warm Welcome

It was a great first day at the Gooch Family Drop-In Centre! It was fun getting to know all of the staff there, some parents, and the kids too. There were 19 kids in total, most were aged 3-5, with less than five kids under the age of 1. The littlest children were accompanied by their mothers. I tried to introduce them to some classic songs today like "Wake Up My Hands," "The Little Green Frog" and "What Are You Wearing?", and I must say they're an enthusiastic group! I was completely thrilled by the group's response to all of the music. They were all singing along and the kids were all trying their best to do the actions while they sang. Since it is such a big group, things got a little bit hectic when we stood up to to sing "Down by the Station" and travel around the circle. However, there were a few grown-ups who really helped out and got all the kids moving in the right direction. I brought in the chime bars for IOTW and the kids loved them! There were a few tears from one or two kids when they had to share but with all of the adult support in the room, I am confident that this will improve. They loved the parachute and even pretended to sleep during "Sleeping Bunnies" without my prompting. Yufeng, our Gooch contact, asked me if I could sing a special song for Mother's Day so I came up with a variation of "I love you, You love me," that suited the theme, and all of the moms seemed to really enjoy it.

Overall, it was a great start to the session and I'm looking forward to next week!