Changing It Up

Changing It Up a Bit…

In general, routines are a good thing.  They establish expectations that help us move through our day and stay on track with the tasks we need to accomplish each day.  They serve as an internal clock that reminds us of what we need to do and when we need to do it.  They also contribute to a comfort level that doesn’t tend to exist when we are “flying by the seat of our pants” or functioning outside of our routine.

At GiGi’s Playhouse Rockford, we take great care to establish routines that help our participants navigate their day.  For example, our GiGi U students know that there are certain things they do upon arrival.  They sign in with the iPad and then move to the kitchen area to put their lunch away.  Then they stow their personal items in the classroom and settle in at the tables to start their daily affirmations.  They know what to expect because they do the same thing each time they arrive to participate in GiGi U programming.  Routine.  Comfortable.  Routine is positive and productive.

But what happens when we change it up a bit and stray from our routine?  At the Rockford Playhouse, GiGi U Immersion Week is a great example of what can happen when you detour from the expected.  From the outset, Immersion Week is different.  Even the program hours change for Immersion Week, with sessions from noon – 4:00 pm, Monday through Friday.  The programming for the week is intentionally very social in nature and is deeply experiential.  It’s about engagement and relationship building.  It’s about trying new things and stepping outside of comfort zones.  As the name implies, it’s about being immersed in a variety of experiences that are designed to help our students learn, grow, and thrive.

So, how have our participants responded to this temporary change in routine?  THEY’VE BEEN KILLIN’ IT!  We started the week with an awesome visit from Hoo Haven.  The participants got to check out a Great Horned Owl and a Red-Tailed Hawk, and they even got the chance to pet a snake!  On Tuesday, we visited Burpee Museum and the Discovery Center, and they jumped in feet first with lots of new and exciting experiences.  On Wednesday, we made our own tie-dye t-shirts.  For many of the participants, it was their first time doing something like that, and it was fun to see their personal preferences and artistic sides come out in their creations.  Thursday was a blast hanging out by the riverfront, touring Nicholas Conservatory, exploring the gardens, and taking time to chill and paint something in nature with watercolors.  We rounded out the week with a picnic, “field day” games, and making and flying our own kites.

It’s been an amazing week… and it has been so much fun to watch our participants rise to the occasion as we challenged them with new experiences.  Routines are great, and they definitely have a purpose, but changing it up sometimes can be pretty awesome, too!

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