I know the answer to my question before I ask it.
They know I'm going to ask it too, and they're prepared. They've already started moving the chairs around the classroom as if they were setting up for a Kindergarten business meeting.
"Today on the agenda, we'll discuss where the Play Dough went. Justin said it was Alison and everyone agreed. Also, we're considering cutting out nap time and..."
The jokes sound better in my head and I snicker to myself as I close the main door to my classroom. "What do you want to do this afternoon?" I ask, already opening the warped CD case from my local library.
"Frozen Musical Chairs!" They shout as I sit in my "Master Chair."
For those of you who have been living under a rock since Justin Bieber came on the music scene, Frozen is a musical movie by this company called Disney. They're a small humble company with only a few dollars to their...
Okay, that money doesn't include the movie that came out in 2013 but the internet says it made 1.3 billion in the box office.
Reader: Wait, aren't you going to include the merchandise, spin-offs, and—
Nope! No time for questions, let's get back to the kindergartners and their unwavering obsession with this damn movie.
They all sit in the chairs, sitting by "my best friend in the whole world" and waiting with shining eyes to hear their favourite song.
You'd think musical chairs would be an easy thing to do.
Step One: Find a seat.
Step Two: Get up when the music starts.
Step Three: Sit when the music stops.
You're not building IKEA furniture, it's just three steps. Maybe a fourth if you want to be technical.
Step Four: If you do not have a seat, you're out of the game.
After explaining the rules to a group of 3.5 to 5 years old, I lay down some ground rules, because this is Musical Chairs, not the Hunger Games.
Rule One: If you do not get a chair, you are out. (Sidenote, you must continue to dance on the sidelines or be my partner so I can dance too and control the music)
Rule Two: I want to hear singing! (Sidenote, if I'm going to play this CD every night I want every person in this daycare hearing us. And yes, I know every song!)
Rule Three: No pushing your friends off chairs (Sidenote, I don't care if Ella is not your friend Carlos, you're still out!)
Meanwhile, in my head...
And then I ask the stupid question of:
Does anyone have any questions?
And all their hands go up at once:
"Can I do the music? I don't want to dance!"
"What if I have to pee?"
"My mom's here!"
"Can we build a snowman later?" No Jimmy, it's 17C (62.2F) outside!
My answer normally is the following: No, go pee then, go home, and no.
After saying goodbye to the crying one that had to go home early and promising in earnest that: "Yes, Alice, we will play it again tomorrow, I promise," I sit back in my chair and start the soundtrack, skipping over the first song called Frozen Heart.
Only the hardcore Frozen fanatics know this song; they're the ones who bring their five foot Elsa doll for Show & Share. She wears Frozen everything, she has an Elsa AND Anna costume which she wears for every costume day (and then you have to delegate an argument between a Batman, a Wonder Woman, three Spidermans and six Elsas that everyone is a superhero in their own way).
"Do You Want to Build a Snowman?" A question I sing to the kids on a daily basis, even to the older kids who are totally over Frozen because it's a dumb kid movie (even though I have photographic evidence of you as Elsa for Halloween, Laura!). I normally stop the music twice in this song, depending on if a parent shows up or if the phone starts ringing. Normally a crowd of 13 Kinders will thin out to 11 (some drop out early because they just want dance without the restrictions of chairs).
"For The First Time in Forever" IS THE BEST FROZEN SONG EVER, AND YES I KNOW ALL THE WORDS TO THIS SONG, AND IF I DON'T HEAR YOU SINGING, YOU'RE OUT! I basically turn into Senator Palpatine saying over and over, Do it! I pause the music only a couple of times before moving onto the next song.
"Love is an Open Door." I like this song well enough, it's cute and I like forcing the children who are out to dance with me—and if they don't want to dance I start singing to them. Normally the "boy/girlfriends" start dancing together and it's super cute. Finally, I have my final 8 and the game truly begins...
Let the games begin!
"Let It Go," clearly an amazing song by Idina Menzel who voices Queen Elsa (and sings for her too, clearly). The song, and movie, won so many awards and is a favourite among many people (and also hated; while doing research I found an article about several people who believed it pushed homosexuality onto young children. I don't believe this, but whatever you believe in is for you to own; I won't ever push my beliefs on another person or preach on this site).
I don't have to remind them to sing, they just start on their own and even mimic the dance moves from the music video. Throughout the song I hit the pause button several times, losing more than half of the original 8. One child normally goes home at this time and I have to leave for a minute, the parents just nod their heads and acknowledge the fact that I'm just feeding their child's obsession as if I were a drug dealer living next door.
When the CD player closes in on the last few chords of the glorious song, the children who are "out" starting chanting their best friend's name. There are three type of players:
Player One: Cheater, Cheater Peter
This child likes to hold the back of the chair, easy to pull out when the music stops or slide onto when I move my hand. I tell them to calm themselves, I was just adjusting my glasses!
Play Two: Doesn't Want To Listen
This is normal a child that doesn't listen to me, not because of a behavioural or hearing problem—it's because their brain is filled with other things. They can't hear me ask them if they want cantaloupe for snack but they sure can hear me if I whisper to my ECE that our cook is making cupcakes for snack today.
Player Three: The Diva
This child can be either girl or boy, it's not a sexist role. They're the one who sings and dances with such effort that you know they're going to be a drama major in school and beyond. (They're also the one dancing as if they're on Dancing With The Stars!)
I love watching them have fun. I love that they're so passionate about something other than Paw Patrol, Shimmer & Shine, and Peppa Pig (although all the obsessions with Marvel, Star Wars, and DC I fully support and probably am teaching future nerds the ways of The Force).
It's something I can use to teach a different kind of love, a love that isn't based on a love between a man and woman. It's a love that everyone has, love for your family, love for your flaws, and a love for a family that might not be yours. We spent some time talking about different families, how some families have two moms, or a blend of two families.
There's a lot of art you can use for expressionism; during a recent ice storm (during April, I might add) we made ice storms on paper with A LOT of glitter, different shades of blue, tinted white with tiny hexagons and shades of tissue paper. All while listening to the instrumental version of all their favourite songs.
Since I'm trained to do Behaviour Management, I also use Elsa as an example of anxiety. That being anxious and fearful are natural responses to stressful situations, and it's good to tell someone about them... to let it go.