We finished off our session on the circle carpet where it began, but with new familiar faces and more engaged parents. Even Daniel, one of the shy ones who often refused to participate, joined in clapping a few times, and I even saw some smiles. The best part of the class was seeing the parents engaging with the kids and encouraging them at times when they weren’t being super responsive. Though this group occasionally had challenges in terms of participation, seeing the connection between parents and kids via music is ultimately a goal met. The kids loved their final gifts, too, and were all happily high fiving me in the end.
It was nice to see parents coming out consistently after a few poor attendance weeks. They’re still a bit shy, as are some of the kids, but the very engaged ones help carry us through the songs, and set a good example. I tried to throw in as many vocal encouragements for the grown-ups to participate, and they started to work towards the end, but hopefully in time everybody will be able to be into the swing of things right off the bat. I think next week I’ll switch to the carpet on the other side of the room, as the big couch near the current carpet can be a bit distracting. Though the kids seem to be having a great time on the couch, it would be better if everyone was having a good time in the circle together.
What a finale to our spring session at Ernestine! Spirits were high for Paisleigh’s birthday party, and balloons were everywhere (however, next time, it would be a good idea to keep balloons out of the music room). The kids were extremely high energy, perhaps even more so than normal (maybe some of them got into the birthday cake early). The repertoire was almost entirely animal songs to keep with the birthday party theme, but by Paisleigh’s mom’s request, we still had Zoom Zoom Zoom (this time with the parachute). By the time we finished, everybody was ready for some cake, but the kids weren’t ready for me to go. I look forward to returning next time!
The staff at Birkdale really worked hard to get the parents to stick around for our session on Thursday. I really appreciated it, as it made both my job and their jobs much easier, and allowed everyone to focus on the music more. Unfortunately, we had one child who was particularly… scream-y, which overwhelmed things at times, but luckily his mother was there. I imagine things would have been much more difficult without her. It took a bit of time to get the parents to sing, but a few gentle encouragements certainly helped. Though most of the kids aren’t singing along yet, they’re responding quite well to the hand motions. Hopefully they’ll be singing along soon.
Today was a particularly chatty session with the kids. They had lots of questions: “What’s that thing on your guitar?”, “Where do you go after Rainbow Songs?”, “When can we do Sticky Sticky Bubblegum?”, “Where’s your yellow thing?” (my guitar pick). Luckily a lot of those questions came before we started singing, but eventually they started to interrupt songs, so in between songs, I tried to turn the tables as much as possible by asking the big kids lots of questions that would help lead us into the subjects of songs. Though I had to do a lot of thinking on my feet, I’d always prefer the extra engagement rather than none at all! And it’s a joy to see how much curiosity the kids have.
Things started off a little sparsely today, with only one parent, but she was enthusiastic and responded well to encouragement when one of her kids was being a bit shy. Gradually, with enough enthusiasm from the grown-ups, he started to participate a bit more (and the other kids were fully engaged the whole way through). The big change came when a whole group of kids showed up about halfway through class, just in time for sharing, IOTW, and the jam. It was the perfect time to have a lot more bodies and voices in the room, but next time the perfect time would be for the whole class!
We had a couple new folks join us at Ernestine this week, and both mother and daughter were friends with one of the mothers and daughters already in the class, so it made for a lot of shared enthusiasm. They both got into the swing of things seamlessly, as if they had been present for all the previous classes (even picking up on the lyrics without any prompting). We did a lot of songs around the room today, and the kids were better about not jumping on the couches. Though I loved the explosive energy early in the session, things are a bit more manageable now, which makes for an ultimately better class.
There was a bit of a mix of enthusiasm to start things off at Birkdale. Some kids ran to sit in the circle as soon as I arrived, but others were a bit more shy. One seemed reluctant to participate, and wouldn’t join us in the circle, so I encouraged his mom to participate even more to set an example for him. The more she sang, the more she clearly enjoyed being in the program. It’s always great to have more people actively singing, as it brings the energy of the room up in general, but it didn’t seem to translate to the shy one. That’s okay though; the music is for everyone, and now his mom will have lots of songs to sing to him until next week. Hopefully soon everyone will be out of their shell.
Ernestine is bringing the energy, week after week! It’s so great to see the enthusiasm for the program amongst kids and grown-ups alike. Not only do the kids remember the songs from previous weeks (and request them!), but they seem to be able to learn lyrics and actions for the new songs in record time. Sometimes the energy can take them around the room and onto the surrounding couches, but today the Cabasa was able to rein them in for Instrument of the Week. One of the kids kept repeating the name, “Cabasaaaaa, Cabaaaaaaasa”, well into the jam. What a fun group!
Things started off a bit patchy today, as some of the parents were in and out of the room for the first little bit of class. Luckily the staff were very engaged and helped keep things focused. However, there were some tears, and some excursions around the room, which had one of the parents talking to her child and telling him to focus on the music. I encouraged the grown-ups to lead by example and engage in the music as much as possible, and sure enough, by the end of the class, we went from tears to smiles and laughter, and the kids wanted even more songs. Hopefully we can start with that kind of energy next week!