It’s not always easy to maintain constant child engagement and participation. Quite frankly, for a young child, expecting them to maintain perfect behaviour for an entire day is unrealistic. They are kids. They are constantly learning and curious about new stimuli that surround them and sometimes, it just all becomes too exciting! I talk a lot about expectations with my team and how sometimes, it is important to adjust the expectations we have for our sessions when working with this demographic.
Yes, we have a clinical plan to our sessions that we want to achieve, but we also need to allow kids to be kids and to foster an environment where they feel confident to express themselves and satisfy their curiosity and creativity.
With that being said, how can we create a teaching environment that can hold a child’s engagement long enough to teach them what is required and still be able to encourage their curiosity? Parsonson (2012) explains, “A classroom is an environment with its own ecology, including teacher, pupils and their interrelationships, equipment and activities which all interact to influence the behaviour of the room’s inhabitants.”
A functioning classroom that fosters positivity and low levels of disruptive behaviour requires consideration and consistency. Over my 12 years of experience working in paediatrics, I have banked a few strategies and “tips and tricks” that help me to create a functioning and efficient session, and I want to share some of these with you. Let’s take a look…
Clear and concise class rules and expectations. Use action cues to help the children remember.
Use mindfulness and breath work to help re-centre and calm.
Building relationships with the children- learn their names, find out their interests and try to incorporate into the class to help encourage engagement. Each child deserves to be heard, so try to take the time to interact with each child.
Rather than constantly drawing attention to disruptive behaviour, compliment those who are trying hard and explain to the class why you are happy with their progress.
Use music to interact and engage with the children, and to help create the atmosphere you desire
Remember that each child learns differently. See if you can cater for each learning style whether it be visual, auditory or kinaesthetic.
So, why not try some of these strategies in your next class. Find what works for you and your children. Remembering always, that each child learns differently. Let’s create a positive learning environment and experience for our children.
REFERENCE: Parsonson, B.S. (2012). Evidence-based classroom behaviour management strategies. Kairaranga, 13(1), 16-23