A most fruitful and fulfilling day of being donkeys. Working with Bec and her fantastic live music (guitar & djembe drum) we had 3 different sessions across four classes - using the Donkey costumes we’d made with the kids yesterday - exploring some movement and drama based on the character of Donkey in the Jub Jub Tree show. Some pre-planning discussion with teachers confirmed that, especially with the younger classes, crawling around on all fours was a movement exercise that would be achievable while also stretching their capabilities. Warming the kids up with singing Donkey’s song as Donkey puppet greeted each of them worked particularly well once we changed the usual lyrics of “Hee Haw, I haven’t met you before” for each child to re-establish earlier meetings with them – eg:“Hee Haw, I have met Katie before!!etc”. We then modelled yesterday’s lovely fluffy donkey ears and droopy donkey tails (eliciting a fresh bout of giggles from some) before inviting the kids to don the costumes they’d made. Then the kids were asked (physically modelling again) whether Donkey moves by standing up tall, slithering along the floor like a snake, or crawling along on all fours… It was great to see how enthusiastically so many of the kids crawled around the classroom, doin’ the donkey do (“Hee Haw, I crawl along the floor.” etc) - not to mention how much they enjoyed seeing the artists, teachers and Ed assistants, crawling around with our own bums in the air! Reminding the kids about greedy Donkey stealing and eating the Jub Jub leaves in the story, (referring back to the 2d book where appropriate), we then used the drum “Donkey Creeping” rhythm refrain from the show, and practised creeping… Bec had the inspired idea of bringing along “Jub Jub leaf” lollies today, so we placed them on a fake turf ‘platter’ at the base of each class’s Jub Jub pot plant - much to the delight of many of the kids – and they got to creep up to the lolly leaf and have a good gobble and munch (“Hee Haw, I just want to eat some more!” etc). Today’s session was a good example of how effective sensory experiences allow multiple access points for engagement to suit different kids’ needs & interests – some kids loved dressing up, some loved moving, some were motivated by the taste reward of the lolly(!), and some really got into drumming along with Bec and/or enjoying the rhythmic vibrations up close.
In terms of planning and delivery… all in all, a “Goldilocks” day: not too much, not too little, JUST RIGHT!”
[ps - *note to self: When addressing a staff meeting directly after a workshop remember to detach your donkey tail (so as not to appear “silly”)! ]
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