Do What I Do
By: The May Team
Location: Special School and First Redeemer Methodist Church, Community Outreach; Lusaka, Zambia
Today we saw dance, song, and smiles come together to help children and parents communicate. We were able to introduce music and circle time with the children and their mothers at the community center. It was amazing to see them interacting in a new way surrounded by others in similar circumstances. Looking around the circle the thing that shined the brightest was their smiles. Despite their handicaps, each child was dancing in their own form. Music is truly a universal language.
One of our favorite songs that we have learned here is titled, “Do What I Do”. It starts with the leader in the center making her own moves while everyone cheers and imitates. She then chooses a child or parent for the next turn, who then comes up with her own move. This was amazing because the families were having a great time while learning to work on speech and language skills with their child. Many mothers in Zambia have not thought of music as an educational tool. Today they were learning how to use music with their children to encourage language growth through repetition, imitation, movement, interaction and early turn-taking skills.
At the end of the afternoon, we were able to pass out donated items to all of the children at the community center before they left. Each child was able to get a toy, book, or pair of sunglasses. Many of the families don’t have any toys or books at home, making it difficult to find ways to interact and teach language skills to their children. The families were so appreciative of something so small. We were able to make recommendations for them to use these items at home to better elicit language production. We also noted, many of the children use adult feeding utensils, which are too large, making it difficult for them to develop adequate feeding skills while maintaining safety. We were able to educate mothers on use of safer feeding strategies and provide them with donated children’s utensils something they do not have easy access to.
Today we not only danced and sang with our feet and our mouths, but with our hearts. We are overjoyed about the beginning of this partnership with the community center. We can’t wait to see how it continues to grow and impact those in the community!
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