Engaging Children

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Summer Stars:

What is the best way to keep very young children engaged during an activity?

  • Present the parts to an activity sequentially
  • Present in small units
  • Try to keep all children involved
  • Respond to positive efforts and behaviours
  • Individualise instruction on the activity
  • Use humour
  • Take occasional breaks to be more informal
  • Provide outlets for extra energy

How do you get the whole group’s attention when providing instructions or explanations?

  • Wait for silence before speaking
  • Use a lower tone
  • Give praise for their attentionthen…
  • Establish expectations
  • Relate to prior knowledge
  • Motivate. The fun element!

Tips for keeping children engaged during a story time session

  • Take the age of children into account when deciding on the length of the story – young children have very short concentration spans
  • Look at the cover illustration to engage children in what the story is likely to be about
  • Relate briefly to children’s prior knowledge on the theme
  • Bring energy and excitement to the story by varying intonation, using different voices for the characters, using facial expression and physical movements to add dramatic effect
  • Draw children’s attention to the pictures in the story
  • Encourage the children to join in on any short rhymes in the story or repetition etc.
  • If there is a repeated action in the story, consider acting this action out and encouraging the children to join in
  • Include a short discussion at the end of the story.
    Ask the children what they liked about the story, which character they liked most and why. Ask questions such as ‘What would happen if…’ relating to events/characters in the story.

Facilitating Activities

Are there techniques for creating an encouraging atmosphere?

  • Try to establish set a fun and positive tone from the very start: smile, provide a warm welcome to the children, encourage children’s participation in the activities
  • If it’s a smaller group, ask the children their names. Consider ways to remember names
  • Incorporate a relationship-building activity towards the start of the session to encourage positive interactions (Example: ‘Let’s find somebody who …’ activity)
  • Encourage the students with positive feedback whenever possible

    • Personal
    • Regular
    • Appropriate
    • Informed
    • Spontaneous
    • Effective

Why is it important to set out the participation rules before any activity session?

  • Rules, when given in a clear and respectful way, give children clear boundaries and opportunities to use self-regulation.
  • They promote more considerate and respectful behaviour within a group.
  • When rules are set, they help children feel safer and more respected both emotionally and physically.

How should you deal with ineffective behaviour during an activity?

  1. Observe before taking action
  2. Gain the child’s attention
  3. Give a clear instruction expecting compliance (use choice; partial agreement; when/then..)
  4. Allow take up time
  5. Look for the appropriate behaviour. Repeat the instruction if necessary
  6. Acknowledge the appropriate behaviour