Five weeks ago I got called to be the Primary chorister in my ward (in charge of Singing Time for children's combined Sunday school). That Sunday the bishop said he would like to meet me after church, I knew for a calling--we had been in the ward for 4 months without any duties. The ward chorister (leads the music during the main service) was released that day, so I thought I might be doing that. I brought it up in my son's nursery class, and the teacher said Primary needed one too. So when the bishop asked me if I would do it, I wasn't surprised. I admit, I was enjoying going to Relief Society (women's meeting) again after nearly 4 years of not being able to go, but I was happy to take the calling.
I was also nervous for a few reasons. First, we don't have junior and senior Primaries, so I have to come up with fun activities suitable for children both young and old. Second, I also do a short singing time for Nursery, where my son is. He is finally getting used to it, so I was afraid him seeing me there and leaving would start him crying again. Third, we share a Primary with the deaf branch. There are 3 deaf children (and others who can sign because their parents are deaf), and although there are interpreters in Primary, I have to make sure my activities are always visual and inclusive so they can participate. Furthermore, toward the end of the year, the Primary puts on a program, and we have to learn all the songs in sign language too.
The following Sunday I just watched the substitute. I was very impressed with how involved the children were. They weren't misbehaving and the older ones didn't act as if they were too cool to participate. I relaxed a little.
The next Sunday was my first Sunday leading. When we did the Article of Faith (#10, the hardest one), I brought out visual aids I made, and I could tell it definitely helped the children--and adults--remember the words better. For the wiggle song we did "Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes" backwards. It's harder than you think and very funny to watch. I even made the adults join in and tey had trouble doing it! Then for the main activity, we were learning a song to sing in church for Christmas. I had words and pictures printed from the previous chorister, and I scrambled them all up, first verse by verse, then all together. The children had to put the words in order and then we sang them. It went very well, some adults and even children complimenting me later. However, there were no deaf children there that day, so I hadn't experienced that yet.
The following week the deaf children were there. Our wiggle song went well, naturally, since the children get to move around and be loud. For learning the song, I had dug through my mom's old Bible flannel board set to find pictures matching the lyrics. I gave each class a set of pictures and asked them to figure out which lines they belonged to. Then someone from that class put it up on the flannel board. The deaf children enjoyed it too, to my relief. However, once it was done and I put away the words and just pointed to the flannel board pictures to guide them through the song, the translators had a hard time keeping up. I didn't think to give them a book to cheat from.
Last Sunday the children sang in church. Hardly any were there and they did mix up the words some, but they sang loudly. I left afterward because Caden was sick and Justin had to work. Luckily the previous chorister was there and subbed for me.
So far I am really enjoying my calling and the kids. The real work begins next week as we start learning new songs, in English and ASL. Good thing I already know them in English!