Have you ever noticed that what happens before class can set the tone for the hour of training time. I have tried many different routines, but the one I’ve used for the past few years is to sit everyone in a circle 10 or 15 minutes before class and talk. Children will talk about anything and everything. They will want to tell you about their day, or the latest movie, or an upcoming trip. You never know.
My experience is that by bringing all the kids together before we start training I accomplish four things:
1. Everyone has a chance to drop the distractions in their heads and mentally prepare for training.
2. Kids want to come early to talk and laugh. Therefore (theoretically) I have less late arrivals.
3. Kids LOVE to talk about themselves. (So do we, so we should understand that, right?)
4. Everyone feels inclusive. As kids arrive they join in. Even new students feel like part of the group before class starts. Some of their first day jitters disappear during this talk.
One other thing I’ll do during talk time is move the conversation over to karate ideas. As we get closer to class time, I’ll start asking karate questions and see who remembers what.
That is a perfect segue to the “Line up.” command.
As I stated, I’ve been using talking in a circle for a few years now. Recently, one of my students, who is a school teacher, brought in a document from her Montessori program reinforcing what we had already seen. Here are a couple of the bullets from her paper.
[Bringing kids together to talk in a circle}
Unifies the group
Makes everyone feel like they belong
Lets everyone express themselves and understand what they have in common and how to be friends with differences.
The teacher can use this time to review rules, expectations.
This time is perfect to move from one type of activity to the next.
As always, let me know your thoughts.