Agenda format is one of the first tools we are introducing at Peace Library. The original aim was to tie the kids off before the event was over, that’s all. But when we practiced by using agenda format, we found many things. This pattern empowered everyone.
Opening: Name and… (Prompt)
Before starting our activities we need time to adapt ourselves at this time and in this place. Kids are very active, they like moving and talking, have opportunities to sit in silence and grounding, noticing their body, people and situations around help them to be more prepared to do next activity. I remember the first time we did it in the library. They are giggling, poke other friends, muse, they have no idea what to do. On the following occasions they got used to it and felt this was normal and enjoyed the stopping.
We are in a society where we are only used to one-way conversation. Parents talk, children can only listen, the teacher talks and the students listen, or there is one or two people who dominate the conversation. There is no chance to hear from everyone. The children don’t have the opportunity to practice speaking. Have the opening, sharing name and talk about a prompt build sense of group, respect, sharing and balancing power. Don’t worry if they don’t speak right away, just wait and pass if they want.
Reading the agenda together and posting it on the wall are my favorites. What I learn from it is it builds up curiosity and engages everyone with the agenda. First thing that they do right away when they come is read the agenda. They will be curious about what will happen, start asking what is needed, and help to prepare the place and material.
Then we move to activity. We use the agenda format to any activity like reading a book, storytelling, power of goodness, cooking class, or handcrafting. No matter what activity we’ll have, we can use the agenda format.
Who doesn’t like to play? Everybody likes to play.
We can learn if we feel safe, have enough water to drink, and move. Play after activity helps us to focus more to learn. We need to be serious, but we also need to have more fun and joy. Play, move, laugh!
In the reflection we remember what happened in the session from the beginning until finish, as detail as we could remember. Recalling what happened during the session will increase retention. We mention what we feel, what we learn, what we like, what we don’t like, any suggestion for the group or team.
We close the session with one activity that we could do together. Acknowledge the entity of “the group” at the end.
Children are able to learn from routine. Using this agenda format regularly has helped children in peaceful libraries to be more courageous in speaking out, to be good listeners, and to respect others. Now they are able to lead activities on every agenda.