It was the first day of summer school in Allentown and, amazingly, I was approached by three different schools to play for the kids. These are all schools I played for last year, as part of a district-wide tour, so it was nice to have these folks reconnect with me this year.
The first session was at 10 am at Jefferson and it was for about thirty kids, K – 5th grade. The second school was at 12:15 at Jackson for the incoming K’s and the third was at Ritter for the general K – 5th graders. Each group had it’s peculiarities with the K – 5’s spanning the little kids with the ‘mature’ kids, so I had to gauge the material appropriately. The K’s were pretty homogeneous, so that was a bit easier. Those kids still lacked some social skills, this being their first day in a school situation. There were some runners, some kids uncomfortable but, all in all, they were a great group to play for.
Each session ended with my conversation of “what happened”, my way of trying to get the kids to reflect on the songs, the singing, the dancing, the playing of instruments, so that there would be some retention. At the last one at Ritter, I followed up with asking the teachers what happened, to let the kids hear what the adults observed. There were some great comments: We had fun, we could get silly, we played as a group….. It was nice to hear that those things are important, especially with so much “seriousness” in our community.
I am glad that I got to be part of their first day at summer school, create a little community for the kids and teachers right off the bat and establish some connections that might last for the next few weeks.
It was a long but productive day.