So this week is “Warrior Week” at Natural Balance Gymnastics. I should probably preface this with the fact that one of my outlet covers doubles as the “Lava Switch” and when I plug it in, the carpeted/matted area becomes “Hot Lava!” Anyone who falls from the obstacle course is instantly melted (how funny they think it is that I have to tell their parents I melted them.)
One preschool class in particular has a wide range of ability, focus, and fear. It can sometimes be a challenge to accommodate such a varied group. My trick is to preface it with “We’re going to start with an easy warrior course and then make it harder! Okay warriors, are you ready?” Of course, students with a higher skill level want to move things along more quickly than the others. I gradually make it harder, but they still want more while the other kids are barely keeping up. All the while, I’m hearing “Can we do this or that?” “Hmmm?” I think. “Why not?”
“Hey, would you like to make up your own warrior course?” I ask.
“Yes, oh yes!” they rejoice.
So we set to it. I told them to work together and choose the obstacles they wanted. Each person went in turn, and they came up with an obstacle course custom made for their class. With one space left to close the warrior circuit and prevent above mentioned melting, I choose the final obstacle designed to provide the most fun!
A serendipitous event occurred when each student selected obstacles that suited their ability. The kids were THRILLED! No one was wandering, goofing off, acting out… It was one of the best lessons we ever had! We all left with a smile telling the grownups how much fun we had. I learned to let the kids lead from time to time, and best of all the kids left with a sense of accomplishment and empowerment!