Monday, 22 July 2013

Cat Avalon Update - Mumbai

This begins our fourth week at Avalon. The children are learning the songs well. After starting off with simple songs to gauge their ability, I’ve moved on to longer songs with more words to challenge some of the older kindergarten classes.
One of the ‘hits’ that always goes down a storm is a variation on the favourite children’s story book ‘We’re going on a bear hunt.’ Add in a drum beat and you have immediately introduced the concept of beat and pulse and the kids are speaking rhythmically without realising it. I say a line and they repeat it. I’ve realised that to get the most out of the kids, you have to give 100% every time. This may seem obvious but if I’m the least bit tired I try not to show it as this rubs off on them and they become disinterested. For this reason, I have perfected my bear growl and facial expressions for the disgusted look I need when having to go through ‘thick oooozy mud.’ Having a class of 20 or so 5 year olds screaming their fiercest bear growls back at me is an exhilarating experience…no lie!
‘Drop in the ocean’ one of my most memorable songs from school is perfect for the senior kindergarten children. I have acquired a backing track for it so this adds a bit of interest and texture for them. I’ve come up with actions for it which helps them to remember the words and I’m sure that when it’s showcased next month the parents will enjoy it. I’ve received great feedback from both teachers and parents so that’s really promising.
With the junior kindergarten kids, I’m taking things slower as they are slightly younger and it takes them a while to remember longer phrases. Consolidation is key with the younger age group and I worried at the start that doing the same thing over and over would become tedious, but it’s necessary for them to put on a good show at the open day. I’ve mixed ‘Oats and Beans’ with a variation on the bear hunt to ‘we’re marching through the jungle’ for these little ones so they have a varied repertoire and are also learning the basics of rhythm and pulse.

Nursery progress is slower again but as they are still learning the basics of English and also in a different accent, there is a bit of a barrier. By now they are familiar with me, however, and my slots are shorter. We’re singing ‘Kum Ba Ya,’ ‘Little Johnny Dances’ and ‘Kye Kye Kule’ -  a West African traditional song, a bit like head shoulders knees and toes. I’m hoping to expand their song repertoire a little further but for now we’re just having fun making silly faces and singing at ‘little johnny’ to dance on different parts of our bodies. Such fun! 

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