Working With Kids
Working with Kids
We adapted this page from the Mentor Handbook of the Computer Clubhouse. It’s a useful reminder to those who are new to working with kids as well as folks who may need a refresher on how to let kids and their own interests and passions drive a project.
If you have a chance to work on your own projects, make sure that you are still open to the campers around you. Invite campers to take a look at what you are doing, or ask them for advice on your project. Make sure people know who you are and that you are there to help and to talk.
Everyone learns in different ways, yourself included. Be patient with your own learning and with the learning process of others. Sometimes this means stepping in to help or stepping back to let campers work to solve a problem themselves. Be patient especially when showing someone how to do something that you may know how to do very well. Try not to do it for the camper, unless safety is an issue. Each person will go through a very different learning process and will take different amounts of time to learn something new.
Participate actively... and avoid lectures.
You need not be an expert. Engage in your own learning while you are mentoring. Collaborate on projects and experiments.
As adults, we often don’t take the time to really listen to the ideas and thoughts of young people. Take the time; you might find you learn amazing things. Show your interest and excitement, observe, and ask questions. Get to know kids, and let them get to know you.
Engage in conversation. Ask questions. Offer to share something you know. However, understand that it will take time for the kids to begin to feel comfortable with you.
Go with the flow.
Be prepared for the unexpected! Bring ideas for what you would like to do, but be prepared to go with the flow of kids’ changing ideas. Flow is a sign of authentic play.
Discover and innovate together.
Don’t be afraid to share your ideas, give advice, and be a resource for creative ideas and new knowledge, opportunities, and possibilities. Show a camper a new tool. Challenge them to try something new, or take on something new yourself.
Figure out your own interests.
Experiment with our resources, work on your own project. and then share your ideas and excitement with campers.
One of the best ways to be a role model is to share your own engagement in working with tools, people, and ideas.
Share your own excitement and engagement in your ideas, and your own work as a Maker.