By Jill Cushion
Following the positive feedback from our Family Well-being Diary, we decided to have a go at running an online well-being workshop. At first, we (I) thought it couldn’t be done, but the rest of the team were really excited about it so I had to pretend I thought we could do it too.
There were lots of things that could possibly go wrong and I was keen to point them out.
The children would need quite a few resources to do some of the activities we had planned and we couldn’t just expect them to have these at home during lockdown…the resources would be posted to them, in beautiful boxes with our logo on.
The children would need an adult to help with some of the activities…we would email all the parents, asking them to sit with their child during the workshop.
We would need to know when each of us had to speak and when we had to be quiet…we would create a PowerPoint that would run in the background and we would each have specific slides to discuss!!
It was going to happen!
We wanted the children to think about noticing how their body reacts during tricky emotions and to be aware of that reaction. We wanted them to learn that by being aware of it, they can choose how to respond. This led on to learning some calming breathing techniques, then creating a well-being glitter jar and finding out how and when to use it.
As 3 teachers it was quite easy to imagine the points during the workshop where the children would need support and when they would be able to work independently. This really helped. Our combined experience meant we had pretty much thought of everything.
Everybody joined in.
Everybody (including me!) enjoyed it.
Most importantly, it ran really smoothly. There were no hiccups, no painfully long pauses and no technological issues.
We had some really amazing feedback from the children and parents.
The children overwhelmingly said they loved the ‘hands on’ activities and learning the breathing techniques.
The parents overwhelmingly said that the children had been actively involved in the activities and discussions. They also said that the content and pace of the workshop kept the children engaged.
The next day we were sent lots of photos and little videos of the children using their well-being jars. We had texts thanking us. We had parents emailing us saying their child had used their jars and the breathing techniques we had taught them to help them deal with a tricky emotion. How amazing is that?
So, these are the 5 top tips we have about running an online workshop for children!
1. Be Prepared!
The preparation of the workshop beforehand is absolutely vital. Don’t ever think you can ‘wing it’.
2. Know your audience!
The content and pace of the workshop must suit your participant so know your audience!
3. Practice makes perfect!
Run through your workshop a number of times to find and fix any problems/issues.
4. Be Creative!
Make sure your resources are creative and interesting.
5. Have a structure!
Ensure your workshop has a proper beginning, middle and end, don’t just waffle on!
From a teaching point of view- As ever, preparation and content are the most important part of any lesson or workshop.
From a business partner point of view-Get on board earlier, be prepared to work out of your comfort zone, yes it can be done!