Never, repeat Never teach children to lie!!! 

So off we went to swimming this morning, for those of you that follow my blog you’ll know it’s NOT my favourite past time! The kids literally have to bribe me so I’ll take them. I hate getting my hair wet (I’ve got a huge beast of a Barnet that takes hours to dry), and I cannot see a thing without my glasses! Anyway off we trot- we have a conversation in the car about how my littliest could go on the flumes if we told a little fib and said he was 8years instead of 7. He’s 8 in a couple of months, is taller than average and can swim like a fish. That aside- we still needed to fib! The kids convince me… 

So we get to the desk, the receptionist asks how old the kidlets are “10 and 8” I say through gritted teeth! She then dutifully gives us our flume bands. 

  
As we walk away- My littliest (also the one with the loudest voice may I add) shouts “Ha Ha- I can’t believe she fell for that!!!” 

Cue bright red face, and me scuttling into the changing room! 

  
Being a firm believer in Karma- I know at some point this will come back and bite me on the bum! 

  

Love the child, dislike the behaviour 

We’ve all been there I’m sure, we’ve always had that one little poppet who just knows how to press those buttons. 

  
Even the best, most outstanding teachers amoungst us, will at some point had moments of self doubt! Fear not… Here are some great tips to help restore calm and order, and remove those barriers to poor behaviour. 

  
Always remember… There is usually a reason behind the poor behaviour. Our job is to unpick, and find solutions and strategies to help each child achieve their best. 

  

  • Every day is a fresh start- Always Meet and greet at the door – the best early intervention in behaviour management is at the door. Smile, show you care! 
  • Relationship build- this is the biggest tool in the tool box! We need to build trust, and mutual respect. Although at times it may be tough, you need to show you care, and that you are there. You could potentially be the only person this child can fully trust. You may be the only constant in this child’s life. 
  • Make sure you catch your little one doing the right thing – ensure you give the praise that this deserves- be careful not to use insincere praise, it’s sometimes easy to catch children doing the wrong thing so develop the ability to catch those more challenging pickles  doing the right thing is invaluable. 
  • Model good behaviour- use your school behaviour policy rigorously and ensure you follow through any sanctions. Be fair but firm- remembering all the time that it is the behaviour that you dislike and not the child
  • Ensure you inform parents of positive behaviour rather than just negative. You need to be transparent but ensure you have parents on side to work together. 
  • Find common ground, what do they love doing? Tap into this- if they love Lego (for example) use this as your carrot. Bring in lego comics from home “I saw this- and thought of you!” Show you really care about them and want them to achieve 
  • Talk- communication is so so important. Use comic strips to work out where the outcome could have been different. Encourage children to recognise how their behaviour affected the situation. If appropriate keep a Log of anti-incident, incident, post incident. Is there a pattern? 
  • Encourage children to reflect on their feelings as colours, use mirrors to look at themselves, show pictures of emotions to help them recognise how they are feeling.
  • Never alienate this child, create an ethos in your learning space where ALL children are valued- work together to help
  • Talk to other colleagues- a problem shared is a problem halved as they say. Be careful not to “give the dog a bad name” but download on critical friends who you respect  and value and ask for their help and support. 

  

Everyday is a new day- “A new beginning always allows us to wipe the slate clean” 

  

French day fun!! 

My little boy is in Year 3 at the school in which I teach EYFS. On Wednesday they have French day, and have to dress in a costume to represent something from France!!

So here we have our creation!! 

Champagne darling… What could be more French? We have had an afternoon full of giggles and laughter! 

   
    
 

Creativity just makes my heart sing! 

I love watching children explore and create with loose parts. One little poppety and her friend worked for a long time yesterday on this marvellous creation- I tried to stay well back whilst listening to their lovely conversation. It always amazes and fascinates me to watch friendships and relationship build and blossom over the year. The two girls who created this masterpiece have only just “found” each other over the past few weeks, but I can already see their relationship developing and growing day by day! 

   
   
I am such a firm believer in the Prime areas of the foundation stage, this gorgeous pair wouldn’t have been able to complete such a fantastic outcome had they not had a solid foundation of PSED, C&L and Physical Development.

Watching the joy on their faces as they worked together on the same theme was yet another reminder as to why I do the job I do, and also how important child led learning is! 

  
What has inspired you this week? Please leave a comment below 

It’s Snowing ❄️❄️

Make your own snow this week- great funky finger activity too! Allowing children to use the cheese grater to grate the soap encourages risk taking and encourages our children to assess risk. 

Mix ripped tissue paper with water and grated soap… A fab sensory activity!  

    
    
    
    
   

Guest blog- *Every child is a star…give them the chance to sparkle*

I am delighted to introduce Amelia from Kicks Dance.

Now this makes me feel very old… Amelia was in Year 5 or 6 when I first moved down south to continue my teaching career, her gorgeous mum used to be a fab colleague of mine, and I taught Amelia’s youngest sister Florence for a year too! I also need to own up to accidentally banging in their dad’s prize Audi TT one day too!! ooppps (sorry Graham!!)

  
Here Amelia talks about the joy she feels from making children sparkle……

“You make me feel like a fairy”

  

That isn’t something most people hear on a typical working day. This is why I love my job so much. If I can make a 4 year old feel like a fairy every time she steps into my class, then I’m doing my job right.
My mum started ‘Kicks Dance’ nearly 8 years ago. After being a primary school teacher for 20 years, she decided that she would take her passion for performing arts and her love of children and start a dance school. My sisters and I all danced from the age of 3 and are trained in the usual Ballet, Tap and Modern. It didn’t take long for my mum to see the benefits. We stayed fit and healthy, coordinated, had good rhythm, musicality and posture…and these were only the physical benefits. She also noticed how dance helped us become motivated, hard – working, disciplined, driven and confident. Many of our best friends we still have today are from dance. I was a very shy and timid child and suffered from anxiety and childhood depression. My mum would be the first person to tell you that I was not the same child in my dance class. I took part in competitions and danced on the stage at a young age. I felt alive when I was dancing. The child I was at school and at home was not the same child that put on ballet shoes and twirled around the hall. Dance gave me a purpose. It gave me the confidence I needed to realise I could do anything I wanted. If I learnt a really hard new step in my dance class, then I could do anything. It didn’t happen overnight, but dance made me the happy, confident person I am today.

I started dancing when I was 3 and by the time I started school, I had made friends and taken part in a class that gave me the social skills and discipline that others maybe didn’t have. My first year at school was daunting and scary, but school was always ok on the days I knew I had dance class. Dance made me excited and a happier child. However, there was never enough dance at school when I was younger. When we did do ‘dance’ classes, it was always run by a reluctant teacher, to a cassette tape, where we had to roll along the floor pretending to be a plastic bag (ironically…I had to do that in my degree as well! It isn’t any more thrilling when you are 19!).

  
 

 

“The best dance class I have ever seen! Bringing dance to our school was the best thing we ever did. I have never seen the boys so engaged” (a happy teacher).


Whilst there is always a place for Ballet and dance schools that offer a stricter syllabus, Kicks Dance is more about having fun, getting fit and enjoying dancing. You don’t have to be able to do flips or hold your leg behind your head. You just have to want to dance and have fun with your friends; “‘Kicks sessions are very inclusive, so even those who don’t have natural talent can participate fully” (a happy mummy). Dance often (or used to) make children feel very segregated if they weren’t good enough, or if they couldn’t get that step as quickly as everyone else. That is absolutely not what dance is about. Programmes such as ‘Strictly come dancing’ and ‘Got to dance’ have made children want to learn how to dance and it is the teacher’s responsibility to take that passion and turn it into something worthwhile.

  
At Kicks, we run mainly after-school, weekend & Pre-School classes, but we also teach dance as part of the curriculum in schools, during P.E sessions for Early Years to Year 6. We try to make our classes engaging for both boys and girls (yes…the boys love it too!) and when a class is delivered with passion and enthusiasm (which is very easy to achieve when teaching dance!), the children are hooked from the beginning. Without giving too many of our secrets away (!), our classes always start with some warm up songs, which the children get to know off by heart over the 6 week course…dance teaches children memory and muscle memory. We then do exercises in a circle, routines from the corner, learn a dance in the centre and then play dance based games. It is so lovely to see the excitement on a child’s face when they walk into the hall and see us and realise they don’t have to sit down and do a science lesson…they can be free! The smiles when they work out how to do a step that they have been struggling with, is what makes our jobs worthwhile. Dance teaches children perseverance and patience.

  


They don’t realise that the clapping they are doing in that routine is helping them with their rhythm, which in turn is helping them grasp that really hard step in the other routine. They don’t realise that when asked to “freeze on one leg” their core muscles are engaged and their coordination is improving. Whilst they are stood watching in delight as their friends dance from the corner, they are learning to wait their turn. When they decide to hop on one foot, with their arms circling above their head, all they see is fun. We see creativity, coordination and an improvement in gross motor skills. When the Early Years children come into our after-school classes and get changed for dance, they are continuing what they are learning during the school day – getting dressed without mummy’s help! Learning in disguise…the best type of learning in my opinion!

“He is a much happier boy and Kicks has done that”

At Kicks we don’t make our children do anything they don’t want to do. Our catchphrase is ‘Every child is a star…give yours the chance to sparkle’. We want to help give children the confidence they deserve. We have met so many children who come to our classes as shy, timid little girls and boys who won’t let go of mummy’s leg. Within less than half a term, the change in them is immense; “My daughter always comes home happy after class. Dance class has also helped her gain some much needed confidence”.

If you look at the words I have highlighted, I don’t know how you can argue that dance and the arts isn’t one of the best privileges a child can be given:

Fit. Healthy. Coordinated. Rhythm. Musicality. Posture. Motivated. Hard – working. Disciplined. Driven. Confident. Purpose. Happy. Social. Excited. Memory. Perseverance. Patience. Creativity.

 

Remember, you have the ability to make a child feel like a fairy or a superhero.


*Every child is a star…give them the chance to sparkle*

 

By Amelia Russell
Owner Kicks Dance Horsham & Kicks Dance Crawley