The official title for the program where I work is the Student Enrichment Extended Day, or S.E.E.D program. This is before and after school child care provided right at the school site. At the school site where I work, I have students from grades Kindergarten all the way up to 8th. Most days this provides a challenge. Trying to find something that will appeal to that range of ages is near impossible.
Yesterday was an especially rough day with lots of bickering amongst the kids. I went home irritated and frustrated. I knew that I had to revolutionize the way things were set up and I started thinking. Most of the problems had to do with cliques and negative attitudes. I decided to give my 5 middle school kids the responsibility of leading 4 or 5 of the elementary school kids in a group.
The splitting up of groups was insanely difficult. Trying to make it fair and even while also separating siblings AND kids I knew to have difficulties working together was tedious. Not everyone was happy. But as the day wore on, I saw shy kids coming out of their shell and sharing ideas. I watched as past troublemakers took leadership roles and created amazing artwork with their groups. And at the end of the day, I heard kids telling their parents about the cool mascot they picked or the awesome poster they made for their team.
Most days are challenging, but the rewards are so worth it.