Our final class at Ernestine was delayed a bit following dinner, but had the usual attendance and the same amount of happy engagement from the kids. We were able to fit in a lot more songs this time around, because it took less time to get everyone sitting in a circle and participating. I took requests, from which the overwhelming consensus on the class favourite was Sleeping Bunnies (in fact, one of the parents requested that we do it a second time, during the parachute). Unfortunately, it’s hard to say goodbye, especially when it seems like the kids are just starting to be comfortable with the songs in a group setting, but hopefully there will be a little more music in their lives in general now (and they can continue to practice their rhythm with their clappers, which made for some fun high fives at the end of class). I’ll definitely miss this group!
This week’s class at Ernestine was a sunny affair. With the time slot moved back to accommodate dinner, everyone was on time and ready to sing. People were singing together more than in previous weeks, parents were engaged, and we didn’t have the usual struggle to get everybody sitting in a circle. The kids are starting to eagerly anticipate certain songs now, and even throw out requests. One spontaneous request was for “hot potato”, which I incorporated into the class when it came time to pass the beanbag around. There was a charming moment when the beanbag was tossed gingerly across the room, then brought back by its recipient to continue making its way around the circle without leaving anybody out. I’m sad that next week is our last, but I’m excited to bring out the clapper instruments for the kids to take with them.
This week was less chaotic than last: nobody crawled on my guitar, very few tears, and lots of participation from parents. The group is still having a bit of difficulty sitting in a circle around the carpet, but that’s only because they’re eager to be closer to the guitar, which doesn’t seem to hamper their focus or participation at all. The oldest one in the group knows all the songs at this point, which is great, but she tends to make a point of singing ahead of the rest of the class, so I’ll emphasize the importance of singing as a group more next week. This week started a bit late because of dinner at the shelter again (and people filtered in throughout the class), so next week we’re going to begin at 6:30 instead of 6, which should work better for everyone.
Things got off to a bit of a late start on Wednesday, as the beginning of class coincided with the end of dinner (the shelter coordinator said that dinner would start a bit earlier next week). Though we were only expecting 5 at first, by the end of The Hello Song our little room was completely packed! This group was particularly difficult to get focused for certain songs. A few of the kids were quite taken with my guitar, and often abandoned the circle to either run around or try to play with my guitar. There were a few moments where I had to pause the class until everyone was sitting down again, and the parents and shelter coordinators were very helpful in that regard. One highlight of the class was The Itsy Bitsy Spider, which was met with cheers. We had one very eager older sibling in the class, who knew many of the songs. Going forward, I’ll ask her to help lead / get the other kids focused. Hopefully next week there will be a bit more of a break between dinner and music, to give everyone time to digest and calm down a little (but not too much!).