So many adults working with children forget what it was like to be a child, and can’t always remember what it was about the teacher that captured their attention when they were very little. Having trained practitioners and teachers for years, I have seen how hard it can be for some to flick the switch to find their inner child. The child in you allows you to see the bridge between the imaginary and real world.
Help your team to flick that switch and say hello to the child we all have inside!
Do you remember what you loved to do as a child or what it was about a certain teacher that you loved to have lessons with?
That moment in time you are remembering means you were engaged and interested in what you were doing. You were the engaged child who:
- Paid attention
- Asked questions
- Responded to questions
- What a difference it makes to have a group of engaged children! It is all down to you being engaged in what you are doing as well.
If your team or children are unengaged you need to find the most effective strategies through:
- Hands-on learning
- Making learning fun
- Giving them a purpose
- Collaborating with them
- Giving them choice
- Giving them responsibility/ownership of the activity
The key to motivation:
We all need to be engaged and enjoy what we are doing no matter whether we are adults or children.
How can I help them?
If they are struggling to create their own sessions, let them choose the right product with you. Give them choice and ownership.
Key things to remember:
If your team does not enjoy what they are doing, they will not want to deliver the sessions and they will lose motivation and whatever you purchased will gather dust on the shelf
Children will engage if the adults believe in what they are doing and enjoy the sessions as well
Adult and child engagement improves attention, focus, motivation, critical thinking skills and promotes a meaningful learning experience
What should we look for in a product to help our team?
Ensure the product you choose is multi-sensory to help all different learners and needs. The benefits of a multi-sensory movement activity are that it helps the children with as many areas of learning as possible.
Don’t forget your team will be multi-modal learners, just like your children, and if it’s a multi-sensory product, you will reach all of them as well so they can learn to use it quickly and feel confident in their delivery.
Look for a product that has additional activities and learning materials to help your team with planning, delivery and learning for the children.
They lack confidence and don’t think they can run sessions - how can I help them?
- Source the best training for your team on how to have fun delivering the sessions and see the benefits for the children, with them having fun as well. This is important as once they understand this concept and see the benefits, they become engaged and motivated to continue.
- Ensure they are given post-training support to help with the sessions, problem-solve and feel confident.
- Talk to them to find out what they are struggling with and how you can help.
- Ensure all the adults in the room participate in the session with the children. This really helps them if they are feeling self-conscious as everyone will be doing it together.
- Give them ownership of the sessions to decide when they will run in the daily/weekly plan.
- Support them throughout by checking in weekly to see what they need to develop their skills and improve the sessions for the children. For example: how did it go? What went well? Are there areas you want to improve on?
They feel embarrassed dancing and jumping around - what can I do?
They may need help in finding their inner child hiding behind their adult self as we all get shy; I must admit I still get worried but once the session starts, and I am talking to and engaging with the children, everything and everyone else in the room is forgotten except for the needs of the children.
If you are not focused on the children and being there with them in that moment, in the session, mentally as well as physically, it allows space for anxiety and worry.
Yes, you may think ‘hmmm that’s easy to say!’ I do understand it can be hard, but it just takes the right product, training, support, and time. Yes, the first few sessions may feel tricky, as it’s something new, but we learn best from “doing”. Have fun, if you’re having fun, the children will have fun with you and that’s the most important thing, as it means they are engaged and ready to learn.
- Find the right multi-sensory product to engage your team and children.
- Give your team ownership of the activity.
- Support them with the products training.
- Ensure they have follow-on support to continue to build their skills and confidence.
- Ensure all adults in the room join in the session.
- Communicate with them regularly and join in some of the sessions yourself.
Take a quick peek at this: https://youtu.be/TG4PqmShvHI (Prince: Starfish and Coffee on the muppet show). I am a massive “Prince” fan, and this song and video shows the colour that imagination can give to your world.
Gina’s background was originally ballet, but she has spent the last 27 years teaching movement and dance in mainstream, early years and SEND settings as well as dance schools.
Whilst teaching, Gina found the time to has create the ‘Hi-5’ dance programme to run alongside the Australian Children’s TV series and the Angelina Ballerina Dance Academy for Hit Entertainment.
Her proudest achievement to date is her baby Littlemagictrain. She created this specifically to help children learn through make-believe, music and movement. One of the highlights has been seeing Littlemagictrain delivered by Butlin’s famous Redcoats with the gorgeous ‘Bonnie Bear’ on the Skyline stage.
Gina has qualifications of teaching movement and dance from the Royal Ballet School, Trinity College and Royal Academy of Dance.