How To Start An Afterschool Program #5 – Preparing the Environment, cont.

By Wanda Parker

KidTrek Training is now available on-line

For previous postings on starting an after-school ministry  click here and click here and here

PREPARATION

What is the difference in the environment of your classroom when you run in frazzled, cutting out crafts as the kids are entering – as opposed to having everything together when you arrive so you can spend time with the kids as soon as they enter?

If you are not prepared you set the tone for the day.  Don’t get upset with the kids if you have discipline problems that day.  The problem isn’t with the kids it is with YOU!

A CLASSROOM OR A CLUB HOUSE?

What do you think of when you hear the word classroom?

What do you think of when you hear the word club house?

When I think of a classroom I think of sitting, staying in MY space, little or no interaction with others – not even the teacher.  I think of dull, boring.

When I think of a club house I think relationships!  Fun, active, dynamic.  Lots of interaction.  I look forward to being there.

The most important part of an after school ministry are the relationships that are built.  The kids need adults –Click here to read of the adults kids need.

If you are going to build those relationships, if you are going to share from your heart you need to get the kids down on the floor and you need to be right down there with them. The only time they should be sitting at a table or stiff back chairs is when they are doing homework, tutoring or perhaps a craft for which they really need a table.

Tables keep the kids separated from you.

You have to be vulnerable – share who you truly are.  Be real! Life isn’t always good for you is it?  Then share the reality of life and how you survive.  You will be amazed what they will share back.  Wow!  How the environment changes when adults are real with the kids.

Have space for active games.

How is the space decorated?  Is it kid friendly?  Let them decorate.  Stick some bean bags in a corner where they can curl up with a good book.  Kids love color – are your walls welcoming for kids?

Think through the space you will use and how you will make it inviting.

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