Adults can have a powerful effect on the behaviour of children. Every gesture, word or action sends a message to children.
This is something I am very aware of when I run our Pozitive Kidz are happy kidz workshops for primary school children.
Usually it takes me about 45-60 minutes to get to a school, driving in peak hour traffic, in the morning, to run three workshops.
When I arrive at a school I’m taken to the area where the workshops are to be held and I quickly assess the environment and find the best position to deliver a workshop. I set up a table with all my props; spooky, monkey brain, Jacques the Shark, Hammy Hothead, smiley flag, fans and my Tai Chi staff.
Then I calm my mind and prepare myself for the start of the workshops. If my mind is distracted and I am still thinking about the peak hour traffic or other problems then I will not make a good first impression. A frown and/or stiff body is easily picked up by the kids and can create an awkward start to the workshop.
When the children file in, about 80 eyes are fixed on me, the tall bald Tai Chi man dressed in black. I can be an imposing figure for children who are half my size so the next few seconds are vital for me to establish rapport.
As soon as they come in I adopt an open posture, smile, say hello, and motion them towards me to sit down. As they sit down some will ask questions such as ‘are you doing magic?’ ‘what are we doing?’ ‘what’s that?’ I’ll quickly answer questions, engage in banter if there is time, so the whole class can observe an adult who is calm and having fun.
This is important because I know ‘the eyes have it’.