For a little over a year I’ve been doing some subcontract work as a children’s performer for a company called Hey Dee Ho. They’re an educational music provider for kindergartens, preschools and playgroups.
Presenters for the programs come from a range of backgrounds, but are mainly childcare workers, performing arts students or musicians looking for a little extra work. We get tshirts! (Jasper lives it, especially the green face that must be singing “ho” as far as he’s concerned).
Every week we go to whatever centre(s) we’re contracted for too present preprepared sets of songs and activities. Each week has it’s own theme, such as dinosaurs or the beach or building a house, with songs and games to match. We use and hand out finger puppets and have a bag of instruments everyone gets to play and do different dances and so on.
Not only that but each term had it’s own overarching educational theme, starting with sign language for term one then moving onto foreign languages, sol-fa (tonics) and spacial awareness for term four (when the kids are older and more coordinated)! The programs are designed to be flexible enough to work for a few age groups (basically two to four) so kids at the one centre get to expand upon the previous year’s program each tine they do the sessions.
We have a main training session each term, with extra follow up, advice and online examples as necessary to prepare each weeks show and use an mp3 player for the songs. I find that a bit awkward compared to just playing the guitar, but it dies keep my hands free and while the programs aren’t quite as out and out fun as my own stuff 😉 I can’t fault them from a development perspective and the kids do all really enjoy the classes, even the felt board illustrations.
The business has franchise operations around most of the country (I think they only just started in WA and don’t have anyone working the NT) and also do some stuff in China. I’ve learnt heaps from presenting their programs and the Big Boss, Jenny, and all the other high ups and presenters are good people too. Overall, I’m proud to be their competitor!