Jr. PrimaryWe reviewed I know that my Savior Loves Me. We sang Popcorn Popping and Once there was a snowman. Then I started teaching He Sent His Son. I know that we are supposed to be talking less and singing more so now instead of saying the words and having the kids repeat them I sing the words and the kids sing back. I had Preston subdued with my light up wand so there was no crying today - hooray! and I had their complete attention. The trouble is, with so many Sunbeams and no kids over five in the Jr. Primary it really seemed like the only people who were singing were the teachers.
During Sharing Time the president called me out into the hall and asked if they could do anything to help the children sing more. I have been doing singing time - in different wards - on and off since I started college. I've even taken classes in conducting and teaching music so that I can be the best teacher that I can be. Still though, this felt like the moment of reckoning and that I had failed. I know full well that there are two factors here that contribute to why the little ones aren't singing their hearts out.
1. They are only 3. I know that by summertime they will be singing. I know that right now they are watching and listening and some are even singing the new songs at home. They will sing the songs they know from nursery, but they are careful about they new stuff. So the important thing here is patience. They sing when they are ready.
2. There are no "older" kids in Jr. Primary. When there are older kids that sing, it really helps the little ones to sing. They want to be like the older kids, and when they are singing the younger kids really sing much better. We have no room for older kids in the room and we don't have anyone in Jr. Primary older than 5. So no older kids, and no readers and it really affects the singing.
I tried to explain this to the president, but I still felt like I was defending myself. I know the answer is patience and persistence. It's a lot of new songs for those little ones all at once, not only are they learning the new songs but they are learning the regular primary songs that we sing all the time that they weren't exposed to in nursery. It's a lot for them, but they are quick learners and I know that before too long, they will be singing confidently. I guess I had a "bang my head on the piano" moment today, kind of frustrating.
As the older kids were coming in from classes my pianist was playing IKTMSLM (Sorry for the abbreviation, it's just a really long title). Some of the kids started to sing and do the signs. So without singing, I signed with them. By the time we were ready to start opening exercises we had gone through the whole song twice while the kids sang softly and I signed with them. It was really cool.
The older kids picked up He Sent His Son really quickly. We went through it several times. I noticed two boys in the back (one of them was my son) who hadn't opened their mouths at all and I handed them the words and gave them the opportunity to sing in front of the entire group. They did it, reluctantly, but they sang. After that there wasn't a boy on the back row who wasn't singing. I guess I put fear in their hearts that they might have to do a solo.
At the end they had worked so hard, I let them pick a song to sing before sharing time, they picked Love is Spoken Here. My pianist had the music playing as soon as Sam said the name of the song. She knows them so well, it is their favorite song, she already knew what they were going to pick.