floers1

Children

the mind & spirit of a child & how children change in a group
GROUP DYNAMICS OF CHILDREN

MAX7  is a skill. Like all skills the effective “MAX7” style can be learnt. Once you grasp the overview of the MAX7 Method, you will soon be able to be effective in your ministry to children.

MAX7 impacts on church children & those who come from un-churched backgrounds.

MAX7 has a strategy & a structure. You need to understand how this is implemented before you will see the wisdom & clarity of the “MAX7 Approach”. MAX7 does need preparation but the strategy & the structure make it very easy for the leaders to swap rolls & to come & go inside the running of the program. MAX& uses the strategies of Mosaic Learning Principles.

Lets look @ the STRUCTURE

This is the most important Subject.

To be able to teach a child is a skill. To be able to teach a group of children is a greater skill. To hold a child’s attention you need to be  “interesting” to that child. Children in a group have what could be called group dynamics. To hold a group you must start by holding the interest of the leader. To hold the interest of the leader of a group of children you have to learn how to know who the real leader is. This is only the start. Very quickly we come to the power of group dynamics. You will come to understand that gaining the attention of the leader only brings to the point were the group can function as a group. Once a group is functioning then “Group Dynamics” take over.

Interesting to the child. Interesting goes a lot further than comprehension and cooperation. It goes beyond gaining their attention. This is easy compared to keeping their attentio.

I hope to show you a little bit about “compliance” and what I call “holding the con”. To “con” someone is often seen in a very negative light. Pilots board a ship & take the con from the Captain when the ship enters the harbour waters when coming in from the ocean. The safety of the ship, crew and passengers are in the hands of the pilot as he takes to con.

We teach a group about the Lord. We only have a few minutes. You will see that we use different methods to gain compliance for a while by “conning” the trouble makers. If you can see this you will develop the gift needed to be a great (effective) teacher. I have a friend who is a great teacher in the pubic school system. I asked him once to come out & address our Sunday School teachers. He refused. He said “Dan you know as well as I that they have the gift or not”. Skills can be taught. I can teach you to lay a foundation down in today’s children if you will let me.

Compliance

Order is always a concern when ministering to children.  The whole group has to be considered.  When you have a growing class with new children coming in all the time, you find that as soon as you have a settled classroom it is unsettled & influenced by the arrival of new children.

Children and Order

Please don't get upset when I say that children are more like dogs than cats.  People are really "pack animals".  Well actually they are not animals as such then but they do live in packs.  That is they follow leaders.  The Bible describes the church in terms of people who follow leaders.  Children are the same in that they follow leaders. The leader has to become part of the group and group dynamics will take over and the whole will start to move like a team with every part contributing.

In the old-style Sunday schools the teacher was was like a school teacher.  I'm not saying that this is wrong but it does not really fit the situation today because school teachers have changed the way they teach.  If you want to be a teacher in a Sunday School it would be useful for you to see if you can sit in and watch a primary school or even a high school class today.  I think that you will be surprised.  The children are normally allowed to talk to each other and there is nearly always music playing in the background.

We have been learning and practising about the "Mosaic Principles of Learning".  This wonderful method still needs the attention of a group of children in order to be effective.

Efficient and effective compliance is not necessarily brought about by creating an environment of law and order.  To have justice in a law and order system requires time and even an understanding of the special conditions of each child so that a fair mitigation can be arrived at.  Frankly in a Sunday School class we just have not got the time to do this.

How then do we arrive at compliance?  The compliance of the group so that each individual in the group can learn through the different Mosaic approach that suits them.

First remember children are pack animals.  If you control a leader of the pack you will control the environment of the class. So the first job is to discern the real leader of a particular group of children actually is.

Leaders come into general types.  The ones who are out front and the ones to always have a "front man".  The front man is the one who always gets caught but the real ringleader stays hidden. 

Find the leader.  In MAX7 this is quite simple.

Arrive before the Launch Pad and observe the children during the time of games that is held before MAX7 actually starts. As you look at the children playing you will be able to notice the real leaders.  A very strong leader will influence both boys and girls and a not so strong leader will influence children of their own gender.  Of course there are exceptions to any rule that this is a good general approach.

Going into the time with the children we know that the program is split up into many fast moving segments.  This will mean that often the leaders among the children don't get the opportunity to exercise their influence.  But make no mistake about it their influence is there. The good thing about Mosaic learning is that the activity type is changing according to time periods set by the group age structure. This change in activity style will bring a change in leaders in the children. A strong leader in the physical arena might be off base in a craft one. This alone helps a great deal. If you don’t understand this system then learn about it. This will help you.

As soon as you spot the child with the influence you need to act.  Now remember we are not teaching moral ethics we are simply maintaining order so that the maximum benefit of the class and the time with the children will be passed on to all the children there.

Whatever you do don’t think like “Super Nanny”. You are not here to teach the child how to be a child after your own image. The child has an environment that the child lives in. Changes will come as the child gets to know who Jesus is. What you are after in the short 1 hour session is a sense of order. You don’t want the class or group to be influenced so that they can’t get the best benefit of the time. The whole group needs to be flowing together so that they can all grow.

So now you know who will be the main influencer of your group of children.  Because MAX7 changes leaders all the time I rather think that the M. C. should be in charge of order and compliance issues.  It won't be long before it your influencer moves into action.  The secret to remember is that you only need short-term compliance that is seen by the rest of the group.

Let me explain there is no point in sending a child into the corner to sit for a set number of minutes.  There is no point really in sending a child outside for a set number of minutes.  There is no point in banning a child from the whole session by saying that the parents must look after the child themselves.  These scenarios are what we could call "end of the road situations".  Having done everything else we have admitted that we are unable to handle this child.

So what do we do then?  We get the child to comply with a very simple set of instructions.  The instructions will constantly change but all the child will have to do is acknowledge and follow each new set of instructions.  Call the child by name and ask them say to "Stand up".  There Will Be A Few Giggles but when the child stands up you can say "sit down".  You have compliance.  You don't need to add anything else to the situation.  The child who is testing you knows quite well that the challenge to your authority has gone out and you have retaliated by showing that you're the boss without using any descriptive or correctional words.  You simply have the child stand up and sit down on your say-so (command). You can even vary the tone, volume & speed of the order, even the mood of the order. Examples: Ask in a soft voice. Tell in a firmer voice. Be careful you want to trick the ring leader into complying with the group seeing the defeat. If you don’t time & use the correct mode correctly you will have resistance that will turn to your defeat. This same principle is applied to greater degrees of compliance. 

I hope that these procedures start to make sense to you.  In my experience I have had to make a living from photographing other people's children.  I've been involved with Sunday school and youth groups for decades.  And even today young children start greeting me from a very early age and God willing I’ll be around to nurse their children one-day.

Don't be afraid helping children has its own great rewards and are still you are older than they are, you are wiser than they are and you can have their complete co-operation.  This is the best way to have compliance in a mixed class of children.  I hope that these notes have been of great benefit to you.  Please feel free to contact me.

 

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