Twelve years ago we established a connection with The Lady of Lourdes Baby Home. The home is for children from 2-18 years of age. These children all have at least one parent, but for various reasons cannot live with their parents. Last week some of the younger children came to visit and spent the morning with us. When the visitors arrived, our children were so thoughtful about making their guests feel welcome, greeted them in Japanese and showed them around the various spaces in the ELC. The next day the children began to think about a gift for their new friends from the Baby Home. Eventually it was agreed to make a movie of singing and music,
“We play the music all together, like a band.”
“We are going to play it and then someone can take the video and someone have a camera and show the video.”
“What if we make maybe 10 songs for them. Maybe I’ll make up some songs.”
Singing seems to be a natural language for children, providing a playful and emotionally satisfying context for building relationships. Singing together is a part of our daily lives in E2 and it was apt that the children yearned to share this heart felt joy with others.
The children planned the musical video and our parents were invited to help as it was recognised that the mummies and daddies have many talents too,
“And my mummy very good at dancing with my baby and me and my daddy too. My mummy like drums.”
“My Daddy is good at playing the xylophone. Maybe we could try nursery rhymes with mummy”
“My mummy is good at playing the piano and can play with me.”
The atmosphere in the ELC was one of great collaboration and purpose as children and adults worked together with a common goal of creating a most thoughtful gift for others. It was wonderful to observe the relationships deepen between families as everyone shared this experience.
Everyone was so proud of the concert, which was performed and recorded. The finished movie will be a fine collection of everybody’s talents and ideas, of valuing everybody’s contributions. The project did much for strengthening relationships between our own community of parents, children and teachers and well as forging connections with the wider world.
This encounter has taken the children further along their journey to the inside of how others will act, feel and think. This enables them to deepen their ideas and thoughts, together with others and as individual people. To be able to put yourself into another person’s way of thinking and feeling is an incredible thing to be able to do. Through imagining what life might be like for the Baby Home children; in trying to get an insight into their lives; in questioning; in trying to think about what the Baby Home children might like; in listening to each other; in valuing each other and in working together, the children are building an understanding of how someone else thinks and what their belief systems are which helps us to communicate, to share and exchange thoughts, and to develop abstract and higher-order thoughts as part of a human group. Thus taking us towards our enduring understanding, We need to love and understand ourselves in order to love and understand others.