‘When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I’m gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
I am brave, I am bruised
I am who I’m meant to be, this is me
Look out ‘cause here I come
And I’m marching on to the beat I drum
I’m not scared to be seen
I make no apologies, this is me’
~The Greatest Showman
Most children enjoy performing.
They like to entertain, show off their capabilities, and have fun. When young children hear music they like to dance and move about. They are discovering what their little bodies can do through a vast array of moving sequences. They show off their individuality, their uniqueness, and their enthusiasm for discovery learning.
I have a crystal clear memory of my first ever performance. I was in Donegal with my cousins. Lots of them. My family circle hired a two bed holiday home for a weekend. Near the beach, it modelled a beautiful and typically Irish thatched roof. We travelled in a parade of cars, kids piled in to the boots, overflowing into the back seats. It was raining. Heavily. It did not matter though as we had plans to write and stage a show. All of us. Collaboratively.
Our show, entitled a very original ‘Holiday Time’ was a roaring success. Our audience of mums and aunts expressed their delight with loud cheering and shouts of ‘Brilliant!’ We sang, danced, told stories, and recited poems. I had a solo part. I sang ‘I’m Late’ from Alice In Wonderland. I remember the excitement. The fear. The dedicated rehearsal time. The team work. I especially remember how good it felt to entertain an audience. An audience who loved the act. Who were amazed by your efforts and output. I was an extremely timid ten-year-old girl then. And so this was a massive achievement for me. I was filled with pride. I was thrilled and my confidence soared on that spot as my adoring audience praised my performance.
As an educator, I truly believe that performing and showcasing even the smallest of achievements is vital. Children make steps each day. Some tiny. Some huge. Nonetheless, they make progress. Performances don’t need to be formal affairs. They can be spur of the moment, look what I can do demonstrations. A display of learning, growing, and progressing. Home is where the most fun and creative performances should happen. Performing as a family with silly, nonsensical, and fun rhymes. Performing with household props. Displaying creative thinking by showcasing a newly composed piece of music made from random objects. The home provides a wealth of resources that stimulate creative thinking and innovative play. Most of the time young children have little difficulty displaying these creative acts. As adults, we need to pay attention. Take some time to observe. Watch closely the amazing creative performances our children displays. And, with a little guidance and encouragement, their creativity will spiral to great heights