During our visit to BHA, Caila, Christian, and Cam had a tremendous time and think the children enjoyed the class as well. We began with a brief presentation on how to live sustainably, which the kids were very engaged in and seemed to enjoyed. We asked them various questions about what sustainability means, and how they can play a role in living in an environmentally friendly way.
Following this presentation, we facilitated multiple activities with a focus in recycling and repurposing. The first activity was “sustainability bowling”, where we divided into two teams and played traditional ten pin bowling (with a certain leniency on the rules) where the “pins” were made at of totally recyclable items. After that, we did a word search where every word in the answer key had to do with recycling and sustainability. The final activity, which we did not fully complete, was a sorting activity where students sorted between objects, determining which ones were recyclable and which were not.
On the whole, the kids seemed to thoroughly enjoy the activities and were very engaged throughout the hour. They especially enjoyed “sustainability bowling” because they got to move, jump around, and interact with one another; they didn’t want it to end! Oppositely, the kids got a little antsy while doing the word search, and some got a little bit frustrated after a few minutes. We could tell that the more engaging the activity was, the more likely they were grasp the lesson and be engaged.
Additionally, we very much enjoyed the hour, including the lesson and activities. It was awesome to convey information we have focused upon as part of our Periclean cohort. Having the kids be so receptive to it was as added bonus and reinvigorated our passion for the project.
Suggestions for future groups:
– Be flexible with activities and rules!! This makes it much more fun for the kids because they do not respond as well to rigidity.
– Be well-versed with the lesson beforehand
– Focus more on activities that get the kids up and moving around
– Try to build on previous lessons and link them together!
– Meet with your team beforehand to strategize
The biggest thing that I learned at the BHA was how to harness my inner-child; how to see the world with a sense of childlike wonder. I absolutely LOVED watching the kids get so into our lesson about sustainability! They came up with the most creative ways to be more environmentally friendly, and it was so fun to catch a glimpse into how they think. So many people discount the ideas of kids because they think “what do they know, they’re just kids,” but I think that they bring a whole new perspective to the table!! I even picked up some ideas on how to recycle more and save more energy like only buying things at the store that come in recyclable packages.
I also learned that kids get the most out of what they’re being taught when the instructor is FLEXIBLE!! This is key! If you go into the BHA with a strict agenda, script, and time frame…it’s not going to happen. These kids are full of life, joy, and laughter. They want to talk, engage, and play! Usually I am one that likes to stick to a plan, but I really learned how to be flexible and let the conversation go where ever the kids took it.
I LOVE working with the BHA, and I can definitely see that the kids have gotten things out of the previous lessons. They were relating things we talked about to previous weeks, and even asked about other Pericleans that had been there before. It is encouraging to hear that they remember us, and more importantly, remember what we are teaching them!
Reflecting on our visit to BHA, my major takeaway was simply a reigniting of my passion for our project and Periclean as a whole. To see young kids really buying into the information presented was really incredible, even if what we presented was only adjacently related to our work. I have always enjoyed working with kids, having three younger brothers and working in the past as a summer camp counselor, so the trip to BHA was a much needed break from my life at Elon even for just an hour. It was a very enjoyable experience.
On the whole, the lesson plan went over well with the kids and they were very engaged. I will say, it is very important to remember that at the end of the day the lesson is for them, and it is not critical every single detail is retained by the kids. It is meant as a fun experience for the kids and if they learn even one thing from the lesson, it should be considered a success. We taught on sustainability and I believe the kids walked away from the class a little more conscious about the subject and how they can live sustainably each day. In this way, the class went very well.
In conclusion, I had a great time at BHA and it was awesome to do some hands-on service as part of Periclean. I would encourage anyone who has not gone yet to do so, as it is a great experience.
When preparing for the presentation we would be giving to the Burlington Housing Authority, I reflected on my past experiences working alongside kids. Through all the experiences I’ve had with camp counseling and tutoring, one thing that has stood out was the idea of being “child-like” as opposed to “childish”. Being child-like suggests enthusiasm and energy that many young kids have whereas childishness is more related to immaturity and whiny behavior.
It was important then to employ that child-like enthusiasm while giving the presentation on sustainability. Motivating the kids to speak up and engage with the material was for more effective when I showed my interest in the topic through body language and guiding questions. The kids contributed great ideas and were really creative and thinking outside the box with their responses. On top of that, they just brought a lot of spirit and energy to the classroom which just made for a very fun experience. Overall, I definitely would recommend this experience as it was inspiring to listen to the kids’ feedback as well as being a fun environment to present in.