Thursday, January 28, 2010

Choo Choo, Chugga Chugga Chugga

Conducting a typical 20-30 minute music lesson for a preschool class requires more stamina, mental focus and creativity than many people could ever understand. You've got to be accepting of a moderate amount of chaos and be willing to roll with the whims of the crowd or loose their attention.

I try to be accommodating when a child wants to regale me with an anecdote about last night's bedtime or their halloween costume from two years past, but on days like today (when I have a bang up lesson planned) sometimes I just barrel through and don't stop to entertain comments from the peanut gallery. Sometimes this breaks my heart as a child sits dejected because I couldn't put my class on hold to give them the floor for another rambling tale of a new toy or a video game. Sometimes a simple thing like a child's obsession with everything locomotive stick with me and though I am outwardly leading a song, my brain can't help but ponder the eternal questions of youth.

For several weeks now I've been issued the command by a particular 3 year old to sing "Down By The Station" at each of our 3 weekly music classes. It's not a song I grew up singing, and it's not my particular favorite when it comes to songs about trains. Today I ignored the "request" and continued with my plans. While playing the djembe drum and leading the wee ones in a movement song, my mind was someplace else. This young man, who is so obsessed with this song, had a little embroidered train on the breast of his polo shirt which got me pondering, "Why are certain boys so enamored of trains?"

In my experience, there is a certain type that gravitates towards trains. I think there is an element of thrill seeking for those youngsters who love trains, fire engines, racecars and jets. The sirens and blaring engines both frighten and enthrall. There is power in learning about those things which startle and scare us at first, but trains are unique. I've seen children spend prolonged periods of time pushing a toy train around a circular track again and again. The rigid predictability, the steadfast adherence to a prescribed path echoes the desire of these certain students to control the chaos they sometimes see all around them. Perhaps we as adults just need sit down and play with trains every now and then when the world seems out of our control.

Kid Quote of The Day: "Nick I have a tummy ache!" ~Ava (age: 4) "I have a tummy ache too." ~Jazmine (age: 4) "Hey, I have a tummy ache too!" ~Kayla (age: 4) "I guess there's something going around," I replied, it's called a need for attention.

1 comment:

Anne Deysher said...

Ah yes. Just anytime any preschooler presents with an ailment, it inspires every other child to contribute his or her tale of woe.
I like your thoughts about the value of trains in a young child's life. Not having had a lot of trains in our family, I didn't ever think about the importance of mastering something that could inspire fear but also demonstrate predictability.