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!
This session at the Plaza ended as happily as it began. I’ve enjoyed seeing the abundant energy and enthusiasm of some of the kids throughout the session, but it was particularly gratifying to see some of the shy kids come further out of their shells than they were at the beginning, now participating without much prompting. Though some of the grown-ups were still a bit shy in singing (which is understandable, given the language barrier), they were nevertheless quite engaged in all of the actions and movements, especially when it came time to dance. We had an extra long jam, and one of the staff members at the Plaza made our ABC song even better by accompanying it with the full ASL alphabet. The kids loved the clappers at the end, and it was definitely a good call to give them all the same instrument at the end of the session. Both staff members said they hope that their program gets extended, and if it does, I would love to return!
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.
I received a warm welcome at Robertson House after coming in from the cold wind. One of the staff members told me that some families had moved away, so it was a bit of a small group, but all of the moms who attended were happy to be able to share some music with their kids. They were a bit shy to begin with, singing extremely quietly, but they still engaged with the kids and helped them with hand signs. I did a lot of body part songs, as those seemed to be the ones that kept the parents engaged with their kids, taking time to cuddle them in between verses. Everybody absolutely loved the parachute, bouncing it to James Brown's I Feel Good. I have a feeling everybody left feeling that way too.
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!
The snow outside made for a cozy class at the Plaza, with lots of winter songs like Snowflakes All Around and Button it Up. The kids loved the signs and actions of all the songs, and the parents were getting into it without any prompting! One of the best things about these classes is seeing parents get a bit silly with things. It always brings up the energy in the room. However, the energy may have been too much for some kids, because after Sleeping Bunnies, some of them actually fell asleep! While they took a nap on the mats off to the side, the rest of us had a great jam and parachute, with smiles all around.
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!
This class felt seamless, as the kids were focused and engaged and encouraged by an attentive group of grown-ups. The parents seem to be getting more involved the more they remember the songs. It’s still a bit difficult to get everybody making hand signs for songs like Mr. Sun and Bath Time, but when it comes to identifying body parts and clapping, the kids respond immediately. Sharing was a breeze, and we followed the colour of the bean bag with some colour identifying around the room for What Are You Wearing, with lots of calling out and enthusiasm from the kids. Looking forward to the next one!
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!