This has always been a good gig – the summer Kids’ Camp at Allentown’s Jewish Community Center. The preschool kids are always bright and there is a good amount of engaged teachers, too.
This session brought in the entire daycare, with infants, toddlers and young, active preschoolers. It made for an interesting audience, and though I play to the preschoolers, I love to see the reactions of the younger children, especially when I witness their engagement at any level.
Before the main core of kids came in, the infants came in, in strollers with their caregivers. I went over to play guitar and sing for them and the reactions were wonderful. The teachers got out their Ipads and recorded some of the rapt attention and one child clapping her hands and feet to All God’s Critters. It was a shear delight for us all.
As the kids gathered for our set, the older kids sat on the gym floor in front of me while the toddlers sat on mats around that area. The energy of the teachers adds a whole lot to the situation, as they help guide the younger kids with hand-motions, singing, etc. since the kids have little idea of what’s going on. It also gives me a chance to play to the adults, as well. During Bear Hunt, two young girls were laughing and rolling on their backs when I did the “what’s that?” I said an aside to the teachers, “That’s what the girls used to do when I played in bars.” Part of my success is the attention to the adults in the audience. Not necessarily planned but instinctive.
The 45 minutes went quickly and I had them up dancing with puppets, instruments, etc. when I noticed the attention of the toddlers start to wander. At the end, we talked about what we did, and the older kids were surprisingly in tune. It was a great session and appreciated by the teachers and the JCC administrators. I was back on the road by 10:30 in the morning.