August 18, 2007: 1.5 hours, 8 children, average age 8. Our last regular children’s class before school starts again! We had five of our usual kids and three cousins, and the group dynamic was great—although there was a little too much between-cousins tousling for the spiritual atmosphere of the children’s class. After two weeks of daily outreach classes, though, I had gotten used to playing kindergarten cop, so it was manageable. Most of the children said prayers, after which we memorized “O God, guide me” for the sake of our new students (and to refresh the memory of the kids who hadn’t been around during the summer) and then sang the same prayer in Haitian Creole (since several of our children come from Haitian families). We used the “step game” to help memorize the quote, but we noticed a couple of problems with it: 1) the game doesn’t work so well when there are lots of children (say, eight or more) in a line; 2) the game doesn’t work so well when the children can’t read well. We may adapt it for use with this class, which typically takes place indoors rather than outdoors and has fewer high-energy children than the outreach class. One nice thing is that we involved the children in snack time more than usual; for example, one set out a plate of cookies and poured juice for the others, while another helped wash dishes afterwards, and others helped to put away the colouring materials before we went outside for the end of class. The child who washed dishes—usually a rather distracted child—even thanked us for letting him serve in that way. nice 🙂
August 17, 2007: 1 hours, 3 children, average age 7-8. Our calmest outreach class so far! Due to rain, we had to move the classes inside for the evening, at the home of a Baha’i who recently moved into the area. (more in a bit.)
August 16, 2007: ~1 hour, 4 children, average age 6-7. Outreach class. Our last outdoor outreach class during the two-week pilot phase. With a week and a half’s worth of experience with these children under our belt, we were able to manage the class better than before. We used lots of movement-based activities to accommodate the uppity ones; they all enjoyed learning the “rescue carry” maneuver during the game. The entire class was basically taken straight from Lesson 5 of Ruhi Book 3, including the song (“Look At Me, Follow Me”), the quote, and the story. I think the children liked it, although there was an incident where I had to physically restrain one of the children while telling the story to avoid allowing him to fight with others. I took him aside afterwards, before we played the games, and told him firmly that he was welcome to stay in the class as long as he cooperated in the activities and respected the other children in the class—meaning no more fighting. It seems to have helped, even though we still had to monitor him very closely to curb any further outbursts.
August 15, 2007: ~1 hour, 3 children, average age 8. Outreach class. We began with a new format for this class, to accommodate our group’s high energy level: colouring first to calm the kids down. So far, it seems to work like a charm – it may take a few minutes to convince some of them to colour instead of playing games, but once they’re convinced, they’ll be able to concentrate enough to say prayers together. We also created a new movement-based game for this lesson, called “rose tag”; it’s explained on the lesson page.
the past week, I’ve been involved with a neighbourhood teaching/outreach project that’s endeavouring to offer all of the core activities in tandem to the local community. some of us are looking after junior youth activities, home visits with local residents, and study circles; I’m helping to look after a children’s class. After teaching a couple of classes to an enormous ring of kids the first few days, we split the class into a younger (5-9) and an older (10-11) class, with the younger children studying lessons from Book 3 of the Ruhi curriculum and the older children studying lessons from Book 3A (aka the old Book 5). As reported tonight, we’ve had an average of 8 children in both children’s classes together, and an average of 5 junior youth—and that’s only in one part of the neighbourhood.
August 9, 2007: ~1 hours, 4 children, average age 8. Outreach class. We basically took this class straight out of Ruhi Book 3 with very few modifications, and it went alright. The boys in our class, including one who seems to have something similar to ADHD, had some trouble staying still—and hence participating—so it wasn’t perfect. To accomodate, we introduced a new type of movement-based activity to help them have the patience to memorize quotes and prayers: the “step game“, in which children stand in a line and slowly advance one step at a time, each saying one word of a quote in sequence when they step ahead, continuing until they cross a finish line. We used bristol board to write out quotes and prayers in large print so that they can easily be seen from a distance; the kids love this game, and always want to take turns holding the bristol board for the others. We’ll be using this game a lot in future.