By Wanda Parker
Whenever you get a group of children together there is going to be need for discipline – not just discipline of the children, but the adults too.
All too often we have problems with children because we aren’t prepared, we haven’t thought through the day and imagined all the likely scenarios. Yes there are times when we have done all we can and a kid acts out. BUT – we should be prepared for that too.
In our KidTrek Training (click here to learn more of training) we challenge trainees to get to know each kid individually. Each kid has different needs, different trigger points, different challenges at home over which s/he has no control. For you to have a disciplined after school program you must know each kid as an individual.
IT IS UP TO YOU!
Beyond knowing the kids, KidTrek Centers’ first line of discipline is what we call KidTrek Bucks. It is a great tool for discipline but it teaches so much more.
The kids have to pay for everything. If they forgot a pencil they use their KidTrek Bucks to either rent a pencil for the day or pay a little more to purchase it. They pay to go on field trips. There is a store that has all sorts of fun things and necessary items.
At one center the kids asked if bread could be put in the store. The director told me, “I live in this neighborhood and I didn’t realize there were kids who were hungry.” Again know your kids and their families.
Paying for everything teaches the reality of life. It teaches critical thinking as well as delayed gratification.
I was at a center one afternoon when the store was open. The kids stood in line awaiting their turn to enter the store. I was sitting to the side of the line with the director. As Thomas walked up the director addressed him, “Hey Thomas have you bought your ticket to go to the snow next weekend?”
“No,” came the almost whispered response.
“Well do you want to go to the snow?” the director asked.
“Yes,” hesitantly and again barely whispered.
“If you don’t buy your ticket today you won’t be able to go the snow with us. You better get that ticket today.” the director challenged.
“But, but I only have this amount of money and I’ve been saving to buy that erector set and I really really want it, if i buy the ticket I won’t have the money for the erector set,” Thomas rambled out without stopping.
“Okay, I understand,” the director said. “But let’s think this through. If you buy the erector set today you can’t go to the snow; but what if you buy your ticket to go to the snow, how long will it take to earn enough money to get the erector set?”
There was silence for a moment as Thomas thought. “Maybe a couple of weeks.”
“So see you can have both, even if it means you have to wait a while for the erector set.”
Thomas bought the ticket to the snow that day. More importantly Thomas learned to think critically. He learned that through delayed gratification in one area you can gain even more in the big scheme of things.
Each center has a complete banking system which includes checking accounts, each kid has his own check book, and savings accounts – with interest. Some centers have Christmas saving accounts where the kids can earn a higher interest. The kids are also taught to tithe their money. The bucks they give as a tithe is then used to purchase something for a needy family, for a preschool, etc..
The KidTrek Bucks are treated like real money. If it is lost or stolen it is not replaced – even if mom washes your pants and your money gets destroyed the bank does not replace it. Thus responsibility is taught. Kids learn to care for their money and how it is handled – it is rarely left just laying out on a table.