Monday, July 6, 2009

My Summer Job/Cuteness Overload!!

The beautiful JCC campgrounds. The kids have access to an amazing playground, swimming pool, ball fields, pavilions and tons of beautiful shaded areas, in addition to the brand new JCC indoor facility.

This group was SO EXCITED to have their picture taken while they ate lunch. Cuteness overload #1.

This post contains an overwhelming amount of the most adorable Jewish children you'll ever see. The cuteness is so palpable, I bet even my dad will find these kids adorable :)

For the second summer in a row, I've been working for the St Louis JCC as the Music Specialist for their preschool camp. Basically, my job is to sing Jewish and children's songs with kids ages 3-5, while simultaneously basking in their cuteness, eating my fair share of icey-pops, and receiving at least 10 excited hugs a day. The other staff is an amazing group of teachers and teenagers who love children and day camps as much as I do. It's an honor and a pleasure to work with them, especially when they're not afraid to act silly with the kids and sing in the "monster voices" the kids have come to love so much.

Cuteness overload #2

I couldn't love the job more if I tried.

Did I mention I play my autoharp? I brought my guitar home from NYC to attempt to play that, instead, but chickened out when I remembered that I'd had my autoharp (a used gift from my rabbi a few years ago) repaired the summer before. The kids are FASCINATED by it, and ne'er a day goes by without at least one child sweetly requesting to play it. I'm always amazed at how gentle they are when they use their one finger (my rule) to strum the strings lightly. I think Dr Sims, my college elementary music ed professor, would be mighty proud to see my autoharpin' skills put to such good use. I'm clearly the cool kid on the block :)

I'm also amazed at the amount of songs these kids are able to pick up. We sing a lot in Hebrew, learning names of colors, body parts and family members in addition to the liturgical pieces we sing. They've also learned the sign language to Shalom Chaverim, which I find completely adorable when we sing it at the end of every music lesson. And seldom does a day go by when I don't sing "I'm Bringin' Home a Baby Bumblebee..." which the kids can not sing enough of (though their counselors and music teacher are pretty much over it...)

So, in case the pictures didn't quite overload you with cuteness, I've included some videos. The first is "Good Morning, Boker Tov", which is the way we begin every music lesson. I tell the kids the firemen across the street love to hear them, so they should sing nice and loud...but not scream (as they love to remind me!)

video
Cuteness overload #3

The next is a version of Hinei Mah Tov that the kids are addicted to...it's become such a part of our routine that they remind me if I "forget" to sing it.

video
Cuteness overload #4

I should also mention that these kids are going to be the next generation of American Idols...we have our own "American Idol" time everyday, when the kids can get up and sing a song of their choosing to their group members. I love that the kids are learning how to sing in front of others and how to be polite, respectful audience members. To hear some of them sing "LMNOP" during the alphabet song is too precious for words.

And, upon asking them what holiday was coming up on Saturday (Independence Day), the kids shouted "SHABBAT!!" at the top of their lungs. Instead of singing "Yankee Doodle", we sang Shabbat songs. I adore these children, and this job.

To say that I'm excited to one day lead Tot Shabbat services for my congregation is an understatement. I love, love LOVE this age group and the amazing things they can do.

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