Submitted by Lennard Fruehling, Youth and Family Support Services Coordinator
After walking into the room it took a couple of minutes until all the children had taken off their shoes, washed their hands and had a quick snack, and then the program quickly started with an opening song led by the lead facilitator, Nejama Ferstman.
There was a loud musical “hello” that was sung to everyone in the circle and as the call of “hello” traveled through the room, faces became brighter amongst the 11 children between the ages of 5 and 10 as every child was individually welcomed by the song. There was already a real sense of community in the room, and it was only the first session of the new Musica program at ICA.
Nejama Ferstman believes that music is a universal language, and seeing all the children from various cultural, ethnic, and religious backgrounds creating rhythms, chants, and songs together demonstrates how much connection there is between all members of the group, created in such a short amount of time.
The Musica Program was designed with the intention to provide a safe and welcoming space for all children to grow, to collaborate with one another, and to practice their attentiveness and increase their capacity for emotional self-regulation and expression. Through many music-based activities, Ferstman, the ICA team, and the many children in the group bring the group into rhythmic harmony, visible in the big smiles on the childrens’ and facilitators’ faces.
“She is so so happy. Every time she asks me: ‘When am I going back to the program?’” says Leila Safari, one of the children’s mothers about her daughter Pantea. Pantea is seven years old and just recently joined the program. Upon asking Pantea what she liked about the program, she said “I like all the music, and all the different instruments. But… I think that the music program is not long enough!”
Stay tuned for more updates about our youth programming!