Multicultural Rhymes that Bind

Multi-RTB

Twinkle,Twinkle Little Star (in Mandarin)

一闪一闪亮晶晶,满天都是小星星
挂在天空放光明,好像许多小眼睛
一闪一闪亮晶晶,满天都是小星星

 
On Friday mornings, at the Multicultural Rhymes that Bind at Ellerslie Baptist Church, the program is a mix of Mandarin and English children’s tickle, action, and bouncy songs and lullabies.

My first encounter with the large group, about 70 people, brought me far away from my daily English speaking life. I was welcomed immediately by all the smiling faces, and was in awe of the group and how important learning my language was to them. The room was bursting with grandparents, moms, dads, toddlers and babies, all singing Twinkle,Twinkle Little Star in Mandarin.

The demand for the program was so overwhelming, it had to be split into two. The second location is at Edmonton Intercultural Centre (McCauley School) on Tuesday afternoons.

Multicultural Rhymes that Bind is a one-hour program. The partner agencies often extend it a second hour to provide other learning opportunities for the families, ending with a fun arts and crafts activity to encourage fine motor development in the children. A healthy snack is provided afterwards to give the families a chance to develop friendships and share their stories.

It all started when, in 1997, Miranda Fung, a community health nurse, saw a huge need to form a Cantonese-speaking parent group in the Chinese community. Cantonese was the language of communication at that time as few people were speaking Mandarin. She formed partnerships with Capital Health and Multicultural Health Brokers Cooperative to help with the expansion of the program. Miranda then became a trained facilitator to provide the Rhymes that Bind programming, and a partnership was formed with the Centre for Family Literacy.

The families communicate their love of the program continually to the facilitators through comments made at the end of the session.

Some of my favorite comments are:

Because I love it! It is good for my whole family.

We feel less isolated as a family. RtB helps us integrate into English-speaking community.”

My child feels less stranger anxiety, he has learnt to make friends and laugh and have fun.

RtB shares the harmony of songs and I enjoy the beauty of music.”

I feel like a hero as a parent because I know all these songs I can sing to my child.“

Having the opportunity to be a part of Multicultural Rhymes that Bind adds a unique dimension to my job. I am thankful to be able to provide the opportunity for other cultures  to do Rhymes that Bind.

Please check our website for all the Rhymes that Bind locations in Edmonton.

hashtag: #RTB_Edm

 

Love on Mother’s Day

I miss those days of Mother’s Day gifts handmade from a variety of things – pipe cleaners, construction paper, lace, paper dollies. All held together with a ton of glue!

Homemade coupons for a cup of tea or a foot rub. There were so many treasures that were perfect for any mother! I had many favourites. One of them was a melamine plate that could be drawn on. My son drew us holding hands. He told me that “this is you and me, walking to the park.”

Cards that said, “I love you, Mom’’ or “You are the Best’’ in big bold letters.

The excitement near Mother’s Day when the “secret” was coming in the door! The scurry to the bedroom to hide that special gift which was tightly wrapped with tape. On Mother’s Day, my son yelling “close your eyes” until the treasure was safely placed in my lap. I loved those times.

Learning the gift of giving.

Breakfast of a bowl of cereal with milk on the verge of flowing over the top, scrambled eggs with a chunk of egg shell, well done toast with smeared peanut butter.

The days of impressing me with those handmade gifts are gone; my son is an adult with a life of his own.

Last week he asked me a couple of times what I wanted for Mother’s Day. I knew he was struggling to come up with an idea so I told him to come and cook something on the barbeque and spend some time with me. That would be the greatest gift he could give me.

And oh, yes I asked him to help me clean my windows!

I hope that you had a wonderful Mother’s Day too!