Hallowe’en at Massey!

We had a great Halloween celebration! The baby in class looked absolutely adorable in her Halloween costume, and instantly put a smile on everyone’s face. The smiles kept going as we sang spooky songs, starting with finger plays featuring creaking doors, pumpkins big and little, and very scary spiders. Halloween wouldn’t be complete without singing about dressing up and what we were all dressed up as. We came up with our own spooky ideas with ingredients for our scary witch’s brew. Along with the creepy sounds of the thunder tube, we created sound effects with our voices with If You’re Scary and You Know It. We had fun dancing to a Halloween classic, The Monster Mash. I love how grown-ups can’t help but be caught up in the Halloween fun themselves!

Dazzling at Massey!

This week we learned some Halloween songs to prepare for a spooktacular Halloween class next week. We sang about pumpkins and very scary spiders before leaving Halloween behind…until next week!

There were several new participants, so those who already knew the songs sang extra enthusiastically, and those who just joined learned as we went along. We did songs with a lot of actions as well as some lap rides, which are always a favourite of the babies, though tiring for the moms as the babies grow! All the babies loved the parachute as the colours and motion dazzled them.

Small and Mighty at Massey

We had fun singing songs we had already learned, as well as some new ones. It is great seeing how well the participants (and in some cases the young baby!) remembered the songs we had done before. Even though they are sometimes shy to sing, the actions give them a way to participate as they gain more confidence in singing. The baby we had with us loves lap rides and being lifted into the air, so we concluded several animal songs with some animal lap rides and chances to fly! Using the chime bars, the participants jammed along with new songs as well as familiar songs using patterns they had been taught or their own rhythmic ideas. This was a great introduction to playing pitched musical instruments as a group.

Small and Sweet at Massey

Today’s class included both a mom who had attended several classes already, and a mom who was participating in her very first class with her baby. It was lovely to see both the mom who had previously attended gaining mastery over the material and now singing familiar songs to her baby with confidence, and also the mom who was new to the class trying out new songs and fully engaging with her baby, despite not knowing all the words. One of my favourite moments was seeing one of the moms holding her baby and looking into her eyes and singing right to her – I  could tell she didn’t know all the words to the song but she was still taking that moment to be close with her baby and sing to her with the words she did know. One of the moms received her CD as this was her third class. It felt great to know that not only are they learning songs and movement in class with me, but that they also will have many of these songs brought in to their own homes through the CD.

Smiling Faces Making Music at Massey

We had a lot of fun kicking off the Fall session at Massey Centre. The moms seemed eager to learn the songs and involve their babies or toddlers, helping the little ones do the actions and move to the music. All the grownups were attentive and enthusiastic participants, doing the actions with gusto, learning the words to new songs, and even adding some of their own variations and improvisations to the music! Some of the little ones were shy to start, but by the time we brought out the instruments to jam with the babies and the at-first-hesitant toddler were completely comfortable and happy to be making music together. I loved seeing the moms coming up with their own rhythms to jam to along with the songs. A highlight for everyone was parachute time at the end. While the grownups had fun watching the boundless energy of a toddler thrilled to move in, under, and around the moving fabric of the parachute, the babies had wide-eyed smiles as they watched the colours of the parachute dance.

We had a great time! Was SO impressed by the moms (and also by the friendly staff!). They were all wonderful participants and I’m looking forward to a great session!

Rain Rain Go Away

The weather outside was quite dreary and many of the people who normally drop in to the Massey Centre were not around. I was joined by one expectant mother who had not been to the program before. She entered quietly and asked if anyone else was going to come, then sat in a rocker in the corner. The two present staff members and I sat around her and started singing. We sang through a few songs which were unfamiliar and talked about how they might be useful in connecting with her baby. Our sing along session quickly evolved into a full on jam session with instruments for all. The one participant who was present suggested some of her favourite songs and we sang through them as she taught me some new melodies for some old classics.

There was one expectant mother and two staff members. At first she was quite timid but soon came out of her shell by singing and suggesting songs to sing. She said she hadn’t been singing to her unborn baby yet and I encouraged her to do so while teaching her a bunch of songs.

I brought snack with me to the program which is being stored in the RSF locker at Massey. The new intake social worker came by to sing with us as well as Alina who has been assigned to the RSF sessions. They tell me that they had received excellent feedback about the program from the previous week, but that due to the weather, none of those participants were around this week. They also were very excited about the snack program saying that it would be an added incentive to attend the sessions.

A new session begins at Massey Centre

A brand new session with RSF began today at Massey Centre. Although somewhat small, the group showed great enthusiasm. It took a little while to get the group started, but once everyone realized what they were in for they were eager to participate and we made it through a variety of songs, ranging from action songs to popular melodies. We finished off with a great jam session in which everyone was playing along and singing.

There were four participants in total with two staff in attendance. One woman with her baby and two expectant mothers – one due this month and the other seven months pregnant. Normally I would have everyone sit in a circle on the floor, but under the circumstances we sat in chairs arranged in a circle. We sang to the one baby as the prenatal mothers held their bellies and commented that their babies were kicking a lot throughout the session.

Alina was there to meet me at 2:05 and brought the instrument bag with her. I was asked to go to the room and wait while she got the participants. At first, I was not too optimistic, since the last couple of weeks had been problematic, but the group came in right on time and the session went off without a hitch.

Participate in New and Exciting Ways

Great fun was had by all this week – the ocean drum was a big hit. It was wonderful to see some of the younger babies start to participate in new and exciting ways, including clapping along and bouncing their heads to the beat. Some expecting mothers are starting to drop in; I’m always glad to have new people. Here’s hoping they come back, either next week (our last class), or for the new session. Parting is always such sweet sorrow – the babies are becoming increasingly aware of the content of the sessions, and show their displeasure when we end certain sections, and the class itself.

These guys can really play – I love this location!

Aha! Gotcha!

It was great to see the core group of mothers and children as well as some new faces! Our core group does a great job of setting the example – because we’re pretty far into the session, the material is slightly more advanced than might otherwise be suitable for someone who’s showing up for the first day. The confidence shown by the regular attendees bleeds over, and provides a little cover for the parents who are new and shy.

It’s interesting to watch apprehension bleed away, and see new parents catching themselves having fun. I almost want to stop and say “Aha! Gotcha!”

It’s also fun watching the babies get stronger and learn how to participate. Seeing very young children clap along for the first time is always a fantastic experience, and everyone notices and cheers.

Autumn at Massey Centre

October 25

A core group of parents and children seems to be appearing, with newer people dropping in to find out exactly what’s going on.  It’s great to see parents gaining confidence and skills, while the children relax and learn. The jam session remains by far the most fun – the parents really seem to get into playing the instruments for all they’re worth.

November 1

The core group of parents and students are still enthusiastic, though parents seemed to be a little tired today. That’s alright, I have enough energy for everyone!

Even though Halloween has already passed, I did an entire Halloween program with them today – what fun! Parachute dancing to Thriller was… ahem… thrilling?

I’m too punny!

November 15

Only three students today – though I was told one of our regular parent/kid combos was sick. I was very glad to see someone from outside the core group return today, this time with less apprehension than the first time she came in.

My regulars are certainly committing themselves to being here, and are doing very well.

November 29

Animal week was a success!
My regular crowd showed up today, albeit a bit behind schedule, and a great time was had by all.  Interesting to see the babies reactions to the hats, which confounded them at first, but stayed on their heads remarkably well after the forgot about them.
Cute explosion!
Glad to see one mother who started attending classes a couple of weeks after we started at the Massey Centre returning, and coming out of her shell a little bit. Her baby? Totally out of the shell!
Loved seeing a pre-natal mother attend for the first time today! Very glad she showed up, and hoping she’ll return.