Help with Childcare Volunteering (No Respect from Children)

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by Dare2Teach, Nov 11, 2018.

  1. Dare2Teach

    Dare2Teach Rookie

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    Nov 11, 2018

    Hello, everyone. This is Dare2Teach.

    I am sending you this message because I need some help. I apologize, in advance, for the long post.

    For the past year and a half, I have been volunteering at an organization. This organization helps parents with budgeting matters, and while the parents are participating in class/sessions, myself and a couple of other volunteers go into another room, and look after the parents' children. The children's ages range from 1-13, with most of the children of elementary school age. The average age of the children is 7 years of age.

    The children, for the most part, do not give any of the volunteers (including myself) any respect, and classroom management can be hectic, sometimes.

    For example, we eat dinner before going up to the classroom, and sometimes, the children will play with each other, and run around chasing each other while we are eating in the dining area. They do this right in front of their parents, and some of the parents don't seem to even care.

    This past Tuesday proved to be no exception, as the children were at their worst, in terms of behavior. Granted, we were meeting at a different location because of elections, and were also in an infant/toddler room with infant/toddler toys, but their behavior was inexcusable, nonetheless.

    About once a month, one of the volunteers (not me) has to give a lecture to the children about how they should be grateful and respectful to the volunteers since we take time out of our schedules to look after them, and do this out of the goodness of our hearts. Her lectures, though, seem to fall on deaf ears.

    I do like to volunteer at the facility, but it's really frustrating that the children do not respect any of the volunteers, and the parents don't seem to do anything about it.

    What can I do to get these children to respect the volunteers, and manage a better classroom?

    If it helps, we DO try to implement structure/a schedule in the classroom, and we've even tried teaching the children good, moral character (RESPECT kindness, etc.) through lesson plans, but nothing seems to be working.

    Thank you all in advance for your feedback. I look forward to hearing your responses.

    - Dare2Teach
     
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  3. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Nov 11, 2018

    Can you paint more of a picture of the situation so we can better comment: How long are the kids with you? What kinds of activities are you offering? Are kids separated by age?
     
  4. Dare2Teach

    Dare2Teach Rookie

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    Nov 11, 2018

    Note: Once again, I apologize for the long post.

    In regards to your questions, here is more information about the program.

    The volunteers are with the kids for about an hour and a half (90 mins). We only meet once a week on Tuesday evenings from about 6:00pm-8:00pm EST. We take the children into the classroom at around 6:15pm, and bring them back to their parents at around 7:45pm.

    The classroom we meet in every Tuesday evening is a big classroom split into three smaller classrooms; one room for infants/toddlers, one room for preschoolers, and one room for the bigger children. We only separate the children by these age ranges if we have a lot of children. If it's a small group, though, we usually combine, and lately, we've been having a lot of small groups.

    The activities we do varies. As I mentioned in the above post, we try to follow a routine.

    We start the evening by getting the children together in a big group, and each child talks about how his/her week went. Then, we usually have some sort of activity (game, craft) ready to keep the children occupied.

    Lately, however, we've been presenting lesson plans to the children about good, moral character, as we think that it is important for the children to learn about respect, patience, etc. If there's any time leftover after the lesson, we usually let the children play with the toys in the classroom, and one of the volunteers usually reads a book to the children in the last few minutes leading up to dismissal.

    In addition, we also have a librarian that comes over every other week, and reads some books to the children. The children like her, and the volunteers do, as well, but I think she reads too many books to the children, as she can read up to FOUR books to them while she is there. She does, however, give the children a chance to get wiggles out after she's done reading a book before moving on to the next book.

    Also, if it helps, these children come from single mothers, divorced parents, etc.

    I hope this helps so that you and others can give some advice. Thanks, again.

    - Dare2Teach
     
  5. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Nov 11, 2018

    My sense is that sitting for more lessons, after a day of school, is simply too much for some of the children. I wonder if you would have more success if you chose picture books that model some of the character traits you are discussing, and if your games and activities support these (for example, discussing the importance of patience and turn-taking during games).
     
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  6. Dare2Teach

    Dare2Teach Rookie

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    Nov 11, 2018

    When we present the lesson plans, it's in the form of short videos that are made my these people that I know really well. They made these videos for a local elementary school in the county to use to teach the students about different character traits. Their videos are on Youtube, so we use these videos to teach the children about character traits.

    Their videos range from teaching segments, stories, and even games/brain breaks. The children seem to like the videos, and the volunteers like the videos, as well, because the people who made the videos explain about the character education word (respect, kindness, etc.) in a clear and concise way.

    However, we have had to show the videos more than once, especially the videos on respect, because we feel as if the children aren't learning from this, and need constant reminders on good character.

    Note: If any of you are interested in the videos, PM me, and I'll give you a link to a playlist for the videos.

    Since we don't want the children to just sit and watch the videos, we try to use teaching techniques, such as pausing the video and asking questions to make sure they're listening and understanding the content.

    We also implement other activities to go along with the videos. For example, when we were trying to teach the children about kindness, we played that game that involved squeezing out toothpaste, and trying to put the toothpaste back into the tube. This was to teach the children to use kind words, and that you can't take back what you say.

    We also did an activity where we had two apples (one green and one red) , and we had the children say nice things to the green apple, and bad things to the red apple. We opened the green apple, and it looked fresh on the inside, but when we opened the red apple, it was bruised on the inside. This was to teach the children that words can hurt on the inside.

    We do try to make the activities engaging, but in regards to the two activities on kindness, I don't think the children got the message, because they weren't really taking the meaning of the activities seriously, especially the apple activity.

    - Dare2Teach
     
  7. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Nov 12, 2018

    Are you required to yeach them? My feeling mirrors MrsC- these kids have alteady had a long day, some have had a full school day. Could you just offer homework help, crafts, games....dare I say, fun videoes?
     
  8. Dare2Teach

    Dare2Teach Rookie

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    Nov 13, 2018

    We are certainly not required to teach them; the volunteers and I are just trying to make the evening program beneficial for the children, so it doesn't look like we are simply just "babysitting" them.

    We have not done any homework help, but as I mentioned in the above post, we DO implement crafts and games. We have done service projects with the children, before, such as candy bags for a local retirement community, and get well cards for a local who sustained serious injuries after a bicycle incident.

    We're supposed to do a Thanksgiving craft, tonight, and someone who volunteers in the parents' program at the organization is going to speak with the parents about parenting, and discuss with the children about positive behavior. I'm really interested in that, but I'm afraid I can't go due to circumstances beyond my control.

    - Dare2Teach
     
  9. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Nov 13, 2018

    If there isn't space or time in the program which these kids can be physically active and noisy, I'd strongly recommend building some in.

    It might also be wise to distinguish between rule-breaking and disrespect. I do not mean that breaking the rules shouldn't have consequences, but rather that breaking a rule that is not specifically about disrespect generally should have a consequence that relates directly to that rule. For instance, if students know there's a rule against running in the hallway and a student runs, an appropriate consequence is for the student to have to repeat the rule, then either go back and walk properly or sit down and miss (part of) whatever the student was running to do.
     
  10. miss-m

    miss-m Devotee

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    Nov 14, 2018

    Honestly... in a volunteer position in a childcare setting, there's nothing wrong with "babysitting." Kids need a break.
    I spent a lot of time doing childcare at my church before I started teaching, and even at church it was always way worse doing an after-school type scenario. Kids spend 7-8 hours learning new things and practicing skills and being told how to act and what to do. It's hard for ADULTS to go from that context to a similar one and have an even longer day of someone telling you what to do; kids need a break after school. I understand wanting to make it beneficial, but structured play, crafts, and social time is just as beneficial for kids' social and emotional development.

    Have fun with them. Don't put so much pressure on them or yourselves to make it something rigorous, because it sounds like that's a losing battle already. Let the kids have fun and unwind from learning all day.
     
  11. Dare2Teach

    Dare2Teach Rookie

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    Nov 15, 2018

    I will admit that on some days, we DO let the children just play (no planned activities, games, etc.), and some of our better days were from those kinds of days.

    However, the Tuesday before last (November 6), we did do just that (let the children unwind, no activities), along with showing the children a small video (Charlie Brown Christmas). As I stated in the first post, it was our worst day with the children, so far. We WERE in a different location (a church), and in a toddler room, but it was no excuse for their unacceptable behavior.

    One of the volunteers has spoken with the organization's director about this concern, and she and someone else affiliated with the organization are going to work with the childcare volunteers and the parents on making a better childcare program. They're going to give the volunteers specific roles and responsibilities, a classroom management system, a schedule for the children's benefit of structure, etc., along with a guest speaker discussing about parenting with the parents during their sessions. I am interested to see as to how this will work out, and if it will help.

    As a side note, I DID NOT attend the organization's weekly meeting on Tuesday due to circumstances beyond my control (nothing too major), and as it turned out, NONE of the volunteers showed up, that day. It had nothing to do with us being fed up with the children's behavior; it was just a pure coincidence that we all had a conflict that prevented us from going.

    I wonder what the organization did as a result of our absence.

    I want to thank you all for your responses, so far. I really appreciate hearing your thoughts on this matter.

    - Dare2Teach
     
  12. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    Nov 15, 2018

    It's a volunteer position and it seems like you and the other volunteers are being asked to do a lot. The organization should be providing you with all necessary materials and activities. Honestly, it sounds like way too much work for me to consider doing this kind of thing on a volunteer basis. Your time is just as valuable as anyone else's.
     

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