by Imara Kay, Temple Sholom

I am proud to be a TAP teen because TAP has helped me become more mindful when working with kids. As a songleader, I don’t have a classroom. Instead, the kids come into the sanctuary for song sessions. Sunday school takes place in the mornings, and often the kids who come in are tired or just aren’t engaged. TAP has helped understand that just because the kids aren’t doing what you want them to do, doesn’t mean that they don’t want to be engaged and learning. Sometimes, they need a little extra boost.

TAP has helped me with coming up with strategies to engage the kids. Some things I learned in a TAP session is that doing things with five senses can help kids become engaged with the activity. In song sessions, a lot of the songs have hand motions. Often, if the song has hard Hebrew, or a lot of Hebrew in a verse, but it has hand motions, I will often teach them the hand motions and have them listen to me while I sing the Hebrew part. By doing the hand motions, kids can engage with the song, and by listening to me do the Hebrew part, the kids will eventually pick up on it.

All in all, TAP really helped me understand that people learn in many different ways and that they don’t necessarily fit into one category. While some kids may need soft music playing in the background, other kids may need it to be completely silent, and still others may need a mixture of both depending on the activity. TAP has also helped me become aware that sometimes kids may not be paying attention because they need a little extra help, while others just need more engagement with the activity. Everyone has their own needs, and while you can’t necessarily meet everyone’s needs, you can do things to try and make learning as fun and engaging for everyone as possible.