Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Afterschool Activities in Edinburgh: Jo Jingles

Since moving to Auld Reekie, we have been partaking in activities of the afterschool kind. No, this is not as glamorous as it may first appear as it usually involves me dancing about like an arse or waiting round the corner in a coffee house. Seeing as the only fun that was to be had oot-in-the-sticks was of your own doing, the concept that you can actually do things is quite fun. So taken were we with this idea that within a week of moving here we had signed up B for 6 activities and 8 for A! It was then, as I stood back and admired my children's busy, educational and productive schedules that I realised that I would be the person taking them to said activities...

So this post is the first of series of reviews where I'll review of some of the activities we've undertaken so far (this Autumn term has brought some new ones). Not driving all over the place has meant that we've passed noticeboards and signs for various activities to sign up to and some extensive tinterweb research revealed a multitude of activities for babies in the city. Unfortunately, quite a few of these are obviously designed for first time mothers, you know when the enthusiasm is still fresh and so they were scheduled during the school run. Either that or they are all on at the same time causing the dilemma "what do I choose?", do I sacrifice the music session for the gym sessions? etc etc...

So first up is Jo Jingles. According to their website Jo Jingles is the "the leading provider of structured and interactive music and movement classes with an educational slant for children from 6 months to 5 years of age".

Jo Jingles provides music lessons that are 45 minutes long for children from 6 months old. Whilst I think 6 months is realistically quite young for these classes, the idea is good. Children like music, and I think for their speech development singing is an excellent thing to do. I have sung to my children from day 1, and we often sing together in the house.

I attended Jo Jingles classes for a term with my daughter, but despite the glowing testimonials on the website I am afraid to say I don't think these are the best music classes there are. The main problem for me was the 45 minutes of the class - much of it was taken up passing around instruments. An hour would have been better so the class want so rushed and frantic but by half an hour I was bored silly. Also it's quite clear that Jo's recent foray into classes for younger babies has got some teething issues and the experience is probably better suited to toddlers who can interact with the songs rather than B's age group who are still part potato.

In a class they do aim to do a range of activities from static singing to walking around and using instruments. The singing ranges from with a CD to just voice, with some songs being action songs. From a teaching point of view they have quite clear rules and boundaries and routines and they do follow themes and the teacher we had did try and explain what we were doing and why. Overall, the experience is a bit manic, you run in, pay your dues, sing a couple of songs and run out again all the while desperately trying to engage your potato headed baby with the music and actions. For very young babies, buy the CD and sing them at home without the distractions.
If you've had a different experience, please share it with us.

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