The last day of the month of October was very busy for us as a family. We admit that we really encouraged our child to join the Halloween Night at the Museum because we find it as an avenue for our child to exercise different skills. Personally, it is also the very few times Mommy can dress up our child without our child complaining.
We arrived at Manila Ocean Park early to register for the Halloween Night at the Museum. After getting a ticket at Zoocology for P150, we proceeded to the restroom found at Manila Ocean Park's Concourse area to change to our costume. Both mother and child wore a Halloween costume in the spirit of Halloween Night at the Museum. Based from the billboards we saw about Halloween Night at the Museum, the event will start at 3pm. Thirty minutes past 3 pm, there were only a handful of kids in the Concourse area. Finally, about 15 minutes before 4 pm, the Halloween Night at the Museum formally started. The host for the event is Ms. Mary of Manila Times.
When Halloween Night at the Museum started there were only a number of kids who were present. I can say this because the same kids joined every contest.
By the fourth game more kids have arrived. When it was time for the kids to go Trick or Treat around Manila Ocean Park and its stores, the kids participating for Halloween Night at the Museum had to be divided into three groups because there were too many kids to go around just as one group.
In my opinion if your child has special needs, it will be alright to bring your child to this kind of event. Of course, your judgment of the readiness of your child, safety and security will also affect your final decision. However, in my case, we are constantly looking for different avenues where our child can practice improving his social skills. Exposing him in events where he will have lots of opportunities to meet new people, new kids and hopefully build new friendships is our primary goal. After the Halloween Night at the Museum, our child was invited to attend a birthday party. It was also his first time to go in a party without his mother so its another opportunity for him to practice being independent and being friendly.
When my child was really small (so small that he needs to be carried or placed in a stroller) we only need to go to one Trick or Treat event in a subdivision. After that Trick or Treat we already had to give away most of the candies our child received because our child could not eat most of them anyway. As years went by, we would go to two to three Trick or Treat parties. This was the time he loved to dance and show off his costume especially if its his favorite character like Ben Ten, Ninja and so on...
Now that our child is a lot bigger I noticed that our child is getting a little bit shy to show off in front of the stage and he is even conscious of the little girls and little boys looking at him. We have been asked questions like "Why are they looking at me mom? Do I look ok?" or comments like "I don't want to go in front of the stage mom. It's embarrassing." My first reaction was "Is there something wrong with my son's self-concept that he feels very conscious already?" or am I just imagining things again?
To make a better judgment I reviewed the stages of development, Erik Erikson and other Special Education philosophers and accounts of parents who also has children with Special Needs. Finally, I noted that during the program our child was not that focused anymore in the treats or the contests and attractions. Our child was more focused in making friends and talking to them. The stories were not just about what our child did or likes and dislikes. It now included what our child and other kids did, their conversations, and their jokes. I guess to sum it all up one parent told me "Wow, nagbibinata na ang anak mo". And until now I can hear that sentence echoing in my ears as if I am in a Twilight zone.
Are we happy? scared? worried? excited? We (the parents) are not really sure yet what we feel (mostly mommy). However, as parents, we have always given our child several opportunities to grow his social skills because we know that this is an aspect of our child's life that is the most challenging due to impulsivity and inattention. Now that our child is finally exercising the skills needed to build relationships and maintain them, we get this feeling "So it does work. It really works. Experiential learning really works and just by exposing our child to several experiences that will allow our child to grow in a multi-dimensional manner we target not just one skill but several and equally important skills of our child's life.
As part of the vision and mission of this blog, Special Education does not stop in the classroom or inside the school. Special Education or Education for that matter happens when the child is ready. When the child with special needs is ready, the special education teacher will always come. The special education teacher does not even have to be a person. It can be an experience, an event, or a group of people.
As a Special Education teacher myself I am more than amazed to realize that the classroom of life really has no borders. We just have to be creative and consistent to our goals. The lesson plan now is more than just a piece of paper, the curriculum is not just extrinsic but intrinsic. And the special education teacher is not always a person. Most importantly the SPED lesson runs not just for 45 minutes but for LIFE.
The Halloween Night at the Museum had other exciting activities in store for kids such as coloring activities where the best works were awarded a prize by Sterling.
There was also an interactive storytelling activity where guests were randomly picked to actively participate in the storytelling.
Finally, loot bags were distributed and sponsored by Sterling and Hygienix.
Overall, I like the pace of Halloween Night at the Museum event. The length of each activity was just right to keep the kids entertained and on their seat. I also liked the host Ms. Mary because she was really great with kids. I love the storytelling portion because it promotes Filipino literature and love for reading.
I hope next year that the event will start on time to also encourage parents to be on time. It will be more fun if there will be more stores who will join in giving treats to kids. I particularly like one facilitator, Kuya Shane, who joined the kids in the Trick or Treat because he encouraged kids to greet every store they visited. The kids greeted in unison "Happy Halloween" when they arrived and "Thank you po" after they received their candies. I find the repetitive action a very good positive reinforcement.
So there you go, till next year's Halloween Night at the Museum.