Thursday 3 July 2014

School Summer Concert: To Be, or Not To Be?!

Last week Sasha's class teacher called me in to let me know that Sasha hasn't 'exactly' been participating in rehearsals for her class summer concert. The concert features a fair amount of singing and dancing, which Sasha actually loves; she's just not a fan of the waiting around, listening to other people, being herded into lines and having to repeat things over and over. So she 'opts out' (refuses to join in) and reads or plays in the classroom instead. The teacher told me, in a very nice way, that she thought it was unlikely that Sasha would take part in the concert later this week, and she didn't want me to turn up, sit through the whole concert and wonder the whole time where Sasha was.
Random pic of Sasha trying on a hat at school open evening
I did take the positives from this; it's refreshing that the teacher had thought of my feelings, and not just battled on trying for 'inclusion'. I can't tell you how many assemblies, or plays, or masses, or sports days, or other events I've had to sit through, watching other people's children participating, sometimes reluctantly, sometimes joyfully, but always there, but Sasha has been missing. Or there, but not taking part. Such as the last assembly I attended, when the Head asked Sasha's whole year group to stand up and sing the school song. The others all did, and they sang beautifully. Sasha remained seated.

I've wondered many times whether there was any 'point' in being there, and I've often pretended there was something in my eye, as the tears threaten to spill.

After the teacher spoke to me, Sasha sang through all the songs from the concert during a play date with a friend. Turns out that even though she hadn't been rehearsing, she still knew it all off by heart. It's amazing what she can pick up from a distance when it doesn't appear that she's paying attention! 

So this week it's been on one minute and off the next, as Sasha struggled to cope with various aspects of the rehearsing. One of the biggest barriers for her was wanting things to be exactly how she wanted them. For example, the teacher originally rehearsed with them all in a line for one song, which Sasha loved, but when the teacher changed her mind and put them in a square (for good reason), Sasha couldn't get past the fact that she had enjoyed it in the line and so she wanted the teacher to change it back. The teacher, meanwhile, was busy trying to direct 120 other children to sing and dance on cue; no mean feat for her and she certainly couldn't alter it to fit Sasha.

So yesterday Sasha appeared to have been convinced to take part, and even this morning as I took her to school she seemed to be ready for it. I still had my doubts though. By the time I arrived at school along with all the other parents for the show, Sasha was adamant that she was not going to join in. It was agreed that she could sit with me for the performance instead, and we found a spot on the floor at the front where Sasha could see her classmates perform.

From almost the start Sasha was enthralled and the look of delight on her face at watching the others was priceless. She was moving my hands to get me to clap along at relevant points, and she sang all the words of the songs out loud. She would tell me what was coming up next, and when it was the turn of her class to perform their special song, she got very animated. She joined in confidently with all the singing and the actions, from the comfort of my knee. When the song was over, she sighed slightly and said 'mummy, I wish I could have joined in.'

There was no point in me saying 'but you could have'. It's true that the school did everything to try and include her, but it was a mountain that was just too big for her to climb. Enjoyment and disappointment were mingled together for us both.

The finale song was 'Counting Stars' and this put us both back in a buoyant mood. It was a fabulous concert; the last one for us in that school as Sasha leaves the Infants to move onto the Junior school after this term.

Once back in the classroom with Sasha ahead of her classmates, she quickly got changed and then proceeded to treat me to a very special solo of the finale song, and then a repeat with actions. I'm sharing these videos with you (they're really short, promise!) as proof that she could do it, and to highlight what a big achievement it was for her to even stay in the room for the concert. I will treasure these clips always.

I'll be honest, I did think twice about writing this post, as I definitely don't want to take anything away from all the other mummies who got to watch their gorgeous children perform this afternoon. I loved watching them too, particularly Sasha's classmates who I know so well now. I just wish she could have managed to get up there with them.

Linking up to the Small Steps Amazing Achievements linky over at Ethans Escapades. It may not be quite the same achievement as all her peers but to me it's still pretty amazing.

Ethans Escapades