The week started with the most Spring-like weather we had seen in a while, and it wasn’t long before extra layers of clothing were discarded and the children discovered the stream trickling through the garden. While the older children got to know each other working hard to build a stepping-stone path into the bamboo forest, the little ones just got straight to the point.
We gathered inside to listen to Prokofiev’s narrated symphony Peter and the Wolf, with some hysterical dramatization by Bridget our resident thespian. And then we spent some time sharing our thoughts on the symphony, the instruments we could identify, what instruments the children played themselves and exploring the music basket.
Clare’s art space offered an oasis of calm and creativity in the midst of all the hustle and bustle where the children could come and make the projects that she had prepared for the day, or just find a quiet moment of introspection.
We had gathered enough discarded plastic bottles and other items to upcycle into wonderful instruments, including single string guitars, shakers, castanets and even a new instrument the trumpazoo (a hybrid of a trumpet and a kazoo!) And so day two saw a great deal of industrious energy going into the conceptualising, designing and making of instruments.
After all that we needed a well-deserved break and took our lunch down to the river to enjoy in the sunshine together.
On Wednesday the groups each got to choose what they would like to present to their parents for the mini-concert on Friday afternoon and planning started in earnest. The biggies decided they were going to start a band and write the lyrics and music for their own pop song. Angela’s group decided to create their own orchestra and choir and perform some classics. And the pre-school group and I began to workshop some songs we were all familiar with – we finally settled on a rousing performance of I am the Music Man.
Another lunchtime spent exploring the river left just enough time in the afternoon to make our own bubble wands and experiment with the perfect bubble recipe.
Our fourth day together was packed with rehearsals, a last trip to the river and an incredible obstacle course that spontaneously sprang up on the lawn.
And before I could believe it Friday had arrived and we had time for one more rehearsal. With just enough cloud cover and drizzle to justify a fire in the fire place and some roasted marshmallows and hot chocolate before we all joined in to make our beautiful Stone Cottage presentable to welcome our parents for a funtabulous performance that I enjoyed so much I completely forgot to photograph!
We all went home at the end of the week filled with a sense of our achievement and the strength of working as a team. I was amazed by how the children bonded so quickly and easily into a cohesive community; recognising and welcoming the qualities that each of them brought to the whole. Their insight into themselves and their peers was an honour to behold and I look forward to our next week together.