Despite my good intentions, juggling work and running the home over the past couple of years has meant Little E hasn't been attending any structured classes outside of nursery. My two days a week at home with her have been reserved for visiting the grandparents, play dates with friends and trying to keep the house in some kind of order. Now I'm on maternity leave I decided it was time to find some classes for Little E to enjoy so I jumped at the chance to try out a Jo Jingles music, singing and movement class locally to us.
Jo Jingles classes are available at 700 centres around the country so they are well established and there is likely to be a class near you. Ours is at he local community centre. The classes are split into a variety of different age levels from 3mths to 7yrs and I opted to try the Jingle Juniors class aimed at 3-5yr olds. When we arrived we were warmly welcomed by Maggie, the class leader. There were 8 children in the class plus Little E (Jo Jingles cap classes at 15 children). Circle time was quickly established with a welcome song and everyone got to say hello to Jo - a stuffed toy.
The class quickly moved into action songs with the children clapping their hands and stomping feet. Each week there is a diferent theme be it colours, shapes, numbers etc and this week was loud vs quiet. So the children were singing in whispers then shouting in big loud voices. Little E wanted to dance during all the music and Maggie seemed happy to let her freestyle it out.
Then the instruments came out and Little E's face lit up. They ensure the children get to play at least two instruments a week and this week she got to play a triangle and a drum. Again we were working to the quiet and loud theme so as the children played Maggie encouraged them to alter the pressure they were using to make a variety of different sounds. I was impressed at how well the children responded to the instructions and altered how they were playing accordingly. Little E loved playing the instruments and insisted on calling her beaters 'wands' which amused Maggie no end.
The next activity was a butterfly song involving fluttering scarves from little fingers as they floated around the room following Maggie and singing along. Too cute for words! After some colour recognition activities as they put the scarves away, it was time for the next installment of Peter and the Wolf storytime. All set to music they read a segment of the story with Maggie pointing out which instruments represented each character. The children received a colouring in sheet to take home relating to the story.
The final part of the session was wind down with the children pretending to be sleeping bunnies lying down on their mats then hopping up and bouncing when they woke up. A goodbye circle song and a squeeze goodbye to Jo and the class was up. Little E was beaming and so excited by the whole experience. Whilst this activity was structured, I was impressed by how Maggie let each child have the freedom to be unique and let their unique personalities shine through.
Now for the important bit - what do the parents have to do? Well, in this age group not a lot. I basically sat next to Little E and pointed her in the right direction when necessary, such as collecting instruments. But that was about it. I did find myself singing along at times but mainly I just watched my little girl having loads of fun. We will definitely be coming back.
There is no joining or membership fee but prices vary depending on where you are in the country starting from £4.35 a class. We attended a free taster class but the usual price for our area is £5.25 a class. You can find out more about classes in your area by visiting www.jojingles.com
This taster session was provided free of charge but all views and opinions are my own.