Drumming circles have existed in many communities and cultures, and can help develop communication skills. Children participating in the School Age Child Care (SACC) program at Buckeye Valley East and West elementary schools got an opportunity to experience that as the Central Ohio Symphony’s executive director, Warren Hyer, brought his drum circle activity to them recently.
The idea to bring drum circles to children and other groups was sparked by Hyer, the symphony’s principal percussionist, when he and his wife encountered a drum circle session at a music convention they attended about five years ago.
Visiting individual school sites, the symphony provided a drumming circle as a fun way to bring kids together, said Buckeye Valley’s SACC director, Beth Kantner. The experiences kids usually participate in during SACC often focus on community, she said, so that children recognize they are not only a part of the Buckeye Valley community, but are part of larger communities also. The drumming experience emphasized that, as children had to come together to create something larger than themselves, teaching the importance and usefulness of community, she said.
The SACC program provides child care services with the goal of keeping kids mentally and physically active said Kantner, who is also Buckeye Valley’s director of Education Management Information System services. The summer program focuses on what it means for children to be part of a community. One of the ways this is accomplished, she said, is going out and participating in their community, such as with visits to the historic Strand Theatre in Delaware.
Each Monday the kids are able to enjoy a free movie at the Strand, thanks to supporters of the Strand and managing director Tracey Peyton. The only request in lieu of admission is a donated canned good that, in turn, goes to the Buckeye Valley food pantry.
The SACC program uses the Ohio State University Extension’s 4-H curriculum. The foundation of the curriculum is the “Experiential Learning Model” where children learn through experience and reflecting on the experience, she said. The drumming circle brought all of this together through the actual experience of drumming, the practice of listening and focus, along with the specific questions about the food donation process at the Strand Theatre that Hyer asked the children, using the Experiential Learning Model.
“Creating a sense of community is a natural function of schools.” Kantner said. “In the SACC program, in order to build on that sense of belonging, we work to link activities such as this drumming experience to home, school and the communities our families are from.”
Laryssa Hook, the Delaware County 4-H youth development specialist, and the SACC staff were also on hand helping the children to reflect on their experience of donating food and being a community member through the process of drumming.
The Central Ohio Symphony is using drumming circles for youth development in many settings in and around the Delaware area.