For the past two terms, I have been taking my daughter to Jolly Babies. The Bishopston Jolly Babies classes are held at the Quaker Meeting House on Gloucester Road. Classes are led by Sophie Lincoln who is bouncy, bubbly and full of enthusiasm, not to mention warm and down-to-earth.
Photo courtesy of John Rees
There are about ten babies and mums in our class and because we have done the same class for two terms, it is mainly the same people as last term. This gives the class a really nice, friendly, personal feel and we are all getting to know each other.
We sit in a circle on little mats and start each session with the 'Hello' song, whereby we go round the circle, singing and waving hello to each of the babies individually. I think this really helps everyone feel a part of the session, having their baby personally included in such a way.
A variety of songs and rhymes are sang, ranging from traditional nursery rhymes to funky new songs, all requiring a lot of bouncing of babies! Props such as cuddly toys, instruments and scarves are used throughout Jolly Babies, depending on the songs sang that week, which keeps everything fresh and exciting.
Sophie often brings out a parachute, on which she puts lots of colourful balls. The parachute is bounced up and down along with the balls and babies are free to crawl around underneath. The babies are enthralled by the parachute and balls, each and every time.
Toward the end of the session involves the parents getting up and moving around the room, doing a simple country or line dance, led by Sophie. Funky music is played and as always, lots of bouncing of babies is required (oh, how my arms ache! I always say this is my bit of exercise for the week;-))
Then there is always a burst of bubbles from the bubble machine which the babies are fascinated by. I love to watch my daughter's face: big blue eyes wide and transfixed by the bubbles.
To close the session, all sit down in a circle again and all sing 'Goodbye' to each of the babies. I am always proud if my daughter decides to wave goodbye!
Sophie is easy-going and adapts sessions to potentially tricky situations. For example, when it is time for instruments to be put away, if a baby wants to hold on to their instrument for a while longer, she tells the mums that it is fine.
Or, if a baby does not want to sit in the circle and instead wants to crawl right up to Sophie when she is leading a song and take the large cuddly toy she is holding (usually my child), she laughs about it and adapts what she is doing to accomodate the situation. Such a relaxed, easy-going attitude helps the parents feel relaxed, too.
Jolly Babies requires pre-payment for a term in advance. I have just paid for next term which was £18.50 for six sessions, which I think is reasonable and that I get my money's worth. My daughter will do just one more term of Jolly Babies and she will then be ready for 'Music with Mummy'. This is the equivalent of Jolly Babies but for toddlers.
Jolly Babies was the first music group I have taken my daughter to and I have really enjoyed doing this class with her. It has been lovely to see her gain such enjoyment and have so much fun in such an interesting, warm and friendly group.
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