These Marvine afterschool sessions are tough. It’s been two weeks since the last one and found myself moved from music room to a class room (surprise!) and attendance is already down to three girls, two of whom are new. Such is the challenge.

The bright Maryalice (one word….) returned with Jaidale and Kilianys joining in. My cultural shortcomings are up front when I am confronted with these new names. I have to ask them to spell it out and struggle when I talk to them. No boys this time, and for that I’m grateful. Perhaps we’ll get some focus today. No Gabriella, Melina or Leeanne.

Kilianys started out pretty shy so I made sure that she was encouraged to add to the conversation, and, thankfully, she came out of her shell and felt good about participating. Mission accomplished.

Since I have to work on the theme of “What I’m going to be”, I took advantage of a quiet time in the beginning (instead of immediately playing music), each girl listed two possibilities including nurse, horse rider (equestrian – we’ll work on that term later), teacher, Spanish teacher, veterinarian. Nice possibilities. I also told them I was a postal worker, a cook, a dishwasher and worked construction.

We worked on what a nurse does (K’s mom is one): take care of kids, grandpa and grandma, put a broken arm in a sling,  sew up a cut with needle and a big band-aid, give flu shots, check your heart and blood pressure, push your grandma in a wheelchair. This will give us a base to work from, though it seems I’ll have provide quite a bit of set up. There’s very little focus with a small group, an afterschool situation and no teacher support. I’m still a babysitter, too.

We picked up on horse tender next. We talked about where: farm, barn and new word, stables. The work involved putting on a saddle, new word “reins”, feed the horses hay (?) and carrots, have babies (new word “foal”), brush and clean the horses. A start. Semi-urban school with no rural experiences, it seems.

Veterinarian: a doctor who cares for pets, dogs, rabbits, cats, kittens, puppies, kangaroos (?!), pandas and cheetah (baby). I accept all input and I can often use the quirks in the song for spice.

It seems we got some good head-work in early. So I shifted to some play. I opened up the bag and decided to do Giant with the thundertubes and they immediately came up with a new sound, as a vocal chamber. So we also worked up marching in a circle to the beat, playing the tubes, vocalizing, freezing when the music stops, marching in the other direction. We were simply going with the flow. By now, all three girls were involved, coming up with new ideas. I did have the thought that if an educator was walking the halls at the moment, and happened to listen in, he/she would be aghast. But this is how I work. It’s about the creative process.

The girls were champing at the bit to play with the puppets, so, for the last ten minutes, we did Old MacDonald. The trick, at this level, is to get the child to animate the puppet’s mouth with the singing. This was new to them (2nd/3rd graders) but they easily picked up on it after some work. I’m not sure that culturally they’ve had the chance to do this at home. Just a thought, referring to my early childhood as a reference, I remember using my hand as a vocal puppet (Ninger was his name) with my sisters.

It was a particularly rainy and grey day, I was a little depressed coming in and the session was intense so I left a little dazed. But, it’s work like this that makes the time worthwhile. It remains important to keep this journal for reflection and a record for where I have to go for the next session.