From Monkeys to Dragons

We had lots of fun with animal songs this week! Some highlights included Listen to the Water, where the kids got up on their feet pretending to be the animals we were singing about, and Five Little Monkeys. One enthusiastic boy insisted we do a Five Little Dragons afterwards, as dragons are his favourite animal. They also enjoyed Sticky Bubblegum, The Great BIG Spider, and pretending to ride bicycles and stop and go in I Have a Little Bicycle. The Redwood director came in towards the end of the class as well and introduced herself to me. It was nice to meet her, and she shared her appreciation for our classes.

Instrument of the Week For the Win!

This week at the Redwood was energetic as always and the kids were particularly enthusiastic. I overheard them asking, "When is the program going to start??" Some highlights included Jelly Fish, which they had a lot of fun with, as well as the Instrument of the Week, which was the Kalimba or "thumb piano." We passed the Kalimba around for every child to play with and, as each child had their turn, most of the other kids sat patiently and listened. I have never seen them so focused before! The Instrument of the Week is such a great tool with this group. They also really enjoyed Circle Scales, in which we held hands and marched into the middle of the circle saying "Hello/Goodbye," counting to 8, and then walking in a circle to Shoo Fly. We had never done such an exercise before and I think it really captured their attention. It also fostered a real sense of togetherness!

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Elephants Don't Have Wrinkles on Their Teeth! That's Ridiculous!

The Redwood was full of energy and enthusiasm this week. The kids loved the songs on their feet, such as I Can't Fly and Five Little Monkeys. We also did Elephants Have Wrinkles, and when I sang, "On their teeth... no! They don't have wrinkles on their teeth!" a little girl got really into it and said, "That's ridiculous!" which totally charmed all of the adults and made for a great laugh.

Huge Turnout!

Wow! Huge turnout at the Redwood this week! We had seven mothers present, which is our best parent turnout yet! According to the Redwood staff, this was due to a Black History Month event happening right before our class, and the staff were able to bring everyone directly to our class afterwards. I received a request for some drumming this week, so we incorporated African drums into the jam and had lots of (loud) fun!

A Real Success

This week was a real success in connecting to some of the older children who are in the Redwood class. About half the class is over six years old, and I tried to really engage them this week with questions and participation. For example, I asked them to explain to me why the cowbell (our "instrument of the week") is called a cowbell. They were stumped until one very bright girl explained it perfectly! It was a wonderful moment that let her intellect shine. We also got creative in Down By the Bay when I asked them to come up with funny rhymes, and the older kids kept making rhymes about "T-rexs" and giggling. A mom even chimed in with one as well, saying "Have you ever seen a T-rex, driving a car?" It was a big hit and such a step forward having a mother participate in this way! It made me feel super happy that she felt comfortable to join in/speak up. Another sweet moment in the class came when a child who is usually quite distracted and likes to do his own thing got really into dancing in the Hello song, and then encouraged another shy child to stand up and turn around. Woohoo!

 

Valentine's Day

What a fun class we had on Valentine’s Day at the Redwood!! The energy was high and spirits were up. People were feeling festive (and dressed the part in pinks and reds), and it was also one boy's 6th birthday! The moms in the class were more energetic than I've seen in the past, and it was a real pleasure to witness. One mom danced throughout the whole jam with her daughter and one of the Redwood staff, and another mom joined her children under the parachute by lying down next to them on the floor. We also finished off by singing Happy Birthday to the 6 year-old in several different languages. What a great class!!

Black History Month

This week at the Redwood we had the most moms present for a class so far! And although they were sometimes in and out of the room, it was definitely an improvement from the previous weeks. The moms who did come all have multiple children, so the parent to child ratio was well represented. Another highlight of this week’s class was bringing in a song for Black History Month, at the suggestion of the volunteer coordinator. We sang Follow the Drinking Gourd and I researched and spoke a bit about its meaning in relation to the Underground Railroad, as well as why we celebrate Black History Month. Other favourites were Sleeping Bunnies (they request it every week!) and singing about different zoo animals in Going to the Zoo.

Button It Up!

It was fun as usual at the Redwood last night! The children enjoyed singing Button It Up and pretending to put on their winter coats, snow pants and hats. Some children were distracted and wanting to play with the other toys in the room, so I decided to pull out Sleeping Bunnies as it was requested when I arrived, and it definitely got their attention and was a big crowd pleaser! They also enjoyed moving around like frogs, dinosaurs and sharks in Johnny Didn't Have Any Breakfast. We had less parent representation again this week unfortunately, but I know that the staff were trying their best to get them to join. The moms who were there however definitely had a great time!

Silly Frog Faces

We had lots of silly fun at the Redwood this week! The children loved making silly frog faces while singing The Little Green Frog, so much that they kept doing it into the next song. We also sang Bath Time, and one girl insisted on changing it to “Shower Time” with lots of giggles. The group’s rhythm improved in the jam from last week as well.

There weren’t as many moms again, even with the staff helping to seek them out and invite them. One of the main staff members told me that it usually takes a couple weeks for all the mothers to start coming as they warm up to the idea. I spoke with Linda and she said she often had this challenge too. Hoping for more next week!

First Redwood Class!

My first ever RSF class at the Redwood last night was very energetic! The children loved the class and sang along with enthusiasm to such songs as The Wheels on the Bus and Shake Your Sillies Out. They also loved playing the instruments from the jam bag and dancing under the parachute. The ages ranged from around 3 to 10 years old and everyone was engaged. As I was packing up to leave, one girl around 5 years said to me, "I liked the music class!" and others wanted to strum on my guitar before putting it away. This is an energetic and happy group and I can't wait to continue classes with them!

Some lessons from the evening included making sure that the moms were present. There were only a couple women in the room but it was hard to tell which ones were volunteers and which ones were mothers. Jo from RSF was at the class with me, and she suggested that next week I reiterate that it is a family music class and to encourage all mothers to join their children in the class. Some women were sitting on chairs, so I will also encourage them to sit on the floor next week. The room was also a little cramped with all the kids that were present (we started with around 7 kids at the beginning, and that grew to around 15 kids towards the end of the class as they filtered in), so next week I will ask the RSF staff if we can move a couple tables to open up the space. Jo also suggested closing the door 5-10 minutes after the start time to encourage the kids to stay in the class as some kids were wandering in and out. 

All in all, the class was a success!