Child Centred Grading
Grading time for Warrior Kids this morning.
Like the classes, Warrior Kids gradings are child centred. Children are not having to demonstrate techniques from a curriculum. They are not judged on their knowledge of a particular form or style of martial art. Instead the grading is a celebration of who each child is, and a recognition of the personal achievements in their lives; because if we get it right in our heads and our hearts everything else will flow.
The student’s personal achievements include such things as being safe with others, making good choices, helping out at home, trying their best at school, going up a reading level, managing their emotions constructively, being gentle with themselves, knowing that they are still okay when things don’t go right, and so on and so on. For some children just attending the grading and being part of a group is an achievement.
For the grading the students experience a challenge. Today it was wearing a blindfold and trying to sense and grab Assistant Instructor Taiyang, who was sneaking around. The challenge is playful and fun, and it is only an experience. There is no pass or fail. Warrior Kids is a safe place where children and their families can be open and grow.
Following the grading there is a time of reflection where each student takes a turn to sit in the centre of the circle and face me. The student tells me how things are going at home and at school, and if they feel that they deserve to wear a new belt. I give feedback and acknowledge each student. Everyone listens to everything that it is said.
Warrior Kids gradings are special and a rich learning experience for all, including the parents and whanau who watch and support from the side.
There is nowhere to hide in the grading. There are tears, acceptance and honesty. One has to be brave to enter such an open space, a real Warrior.
First published on Facebook and Linkedin July 10, 2021.
Copyright© Tim Tipene, 2021.