by Sarah Hochberg,

Temple Judea

Some helpful strategies that I learned in the TAP program and have used are to let the kids have a little time to wonder and do what they want first. In my class we have a half an hour where two classes are combined and we do a whole group activity. From singing songs to doing arts & crafts I let them have a little free time to be crazy, but not too crazy. I’ve learned that it helps the kids calm down instead of constantly talking to them or having to take them away from their friends.

Also keeping a positive attitude will go along way when working with kids, especially little kids. Instead of saying something like “Get off the chair” you could say, “Could you please stand on the floor?” It seems silly but it goes a long way. If you’re happy then the kids are happy so keeping the atmosphere positive will encourage the kids to follow along with the class and help them participate too.

The student I work with loves to make everyone laugh, even if the stories are inappropriate. After learning this I asked him to tell me the stories before class just make sure that they were school appropriate, this has helped tremendously with calming him down and it helps him pay attention in class. If they stories weren’t appropriate I would ask him for another one and then tell him which one I think the class would appreciate more.