Today’s lesson: kindness
June 3, 2006: 2 hours, 5 children, average age 6-7. Apparently, the class went quite well – I was out of town for the weekend, so I wasn’t there to take part. We had two versions of the story available to read (our class operates in French, so we had to find translations). The versions we found used language that was a bit difficult for the children to understand, so the story was read once more in paraphrase to make sure everybody got it.
Once the story was done, we made time for drama – we started by miming animals and having the rest of the kids guess what animal was being mimed. Afterwards, the children broke into groups and performed the skits as described above. It seems like they did well with these – I was afraid that there might have been problems with the kids being too rough, but that doesn’t seem to have been an issue. Once the skits were done, it was colouring time – we had prepared two drawings, one of a lion and one of a mouse, to go along with the story. Everyone in our class seems to love drawing and colouring time. They love getting their hands on the pens and colouring in different images.
There seemed to have been two main problems during this class: first was that the materials we prepared didn’t last long enough, leaving us with jumping and screaming kids rampaging around inside at the end of the class (it was raining, so we couldn’t take them outside); second was the uncooperative attitude that some of the younger members of the class displayed. The first is relatively easy to take care of – we just have to be able to come up with more activities to have on hand during the class (potentially crafts, which are popular because of the hands-on aspect). The second isn’t so easy to resolve and has been a challenge with our class from the get-go. To be honest, it’s difficult to conduct a class for a wide age range (our oldest member is going on 11 (almost a junior youth!), and our youngest member is still 4 years old). Perhaps we need to split into several groups at some point in our class, so that each group can take part in age-appropriate activities that may better stimulate them and allow them to develop the capacities they’re struggling to develop. But what’s the difference? That’s what I’m wondering. I’ve become comfortable dealing with the older children (say, 7 to 10), but I admit that I still have a lot to learn about dealing with the younger children (4 to 6) in ways that really support their development. Any comments from readers?