Perfect way to harmonise with your musical babies
WHEN it was suggested that I might like to join a session of ‘musical babies’, I was a bit worried that it might be like pass the parcel – if you are holding the baby when the music stops, you have to take it home.
I jest. As with all educational activities, even the fun ones, there is serious intent, so it was fascinating to be part of the session at Charville Children’s Centre.
Having been a great admirer of these little oases since their introduction nationally as Sure Start centres in 1998, I was pleased to be invited to join the advisory board for the Hayes children’s centres last year.
The session began with a musical greeting in which every baby was introduced and we all sang hello to them by name. Their surprised faces and smiles of recognition were a joy to see, and a wonderful example of their learning communication and social skills.
The circle of mums, plus one dad (hurrah) reclined on beanbags, babies on their laps, but the board’s chairman, David Brough, and I were glad to be on chairs. Sitting on the floor would have been no problem, but getting up again ...?
Being on your own with a baby can be very isolating, so parents were clearly enjoying the chance to socialise too. They also take home with them rhymes that they may not have learned themselves as children, but which will help their babies’ development, particularly with concentration and speech.
There’s so much more to children’s centres than people realise and I really wish they’d had them when Fisher Junior was a baby. The range of services include health and employment advice and there are always non-judgmental staff ready to listen.
You can be sure of a welcome. In fact, after my session, when the music did stop, I’d gladly have taken one of the babies home with me. I won’t tell you what Mr F said to that.
MY days as a teacher (in Ealing) are long past, so while writing about my experience at the children’s centre it seemed timely that a message from an ex-pupil popped into my inbox.
Now a teacher herself, she thanked me for ‘inspiring her’ to go into the profession. Against the modern climate of teacher-bashing, I admit to feeling very moved.
For Hillingdon borough centres, visit www.hillingdon.gov.uk/childrenscentres
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