The environment

The environment is one of 3 key things to think about when setting up a program for success. The other two are transitions, which we’ve talked about and choosing activities – which I’ll write about at later time.

Being aware of one’s environment before kids arrive at your program is a must. Another key element is having a secondary space which can be used as needed to support kids with challenging behaviour who may need to calm down, cool down, play a game, read – basically have somewhere safe to go.

Other things to consider are:

  • How many exits are there? Important if you have any bolters.
  • How close is the washroom? What system will you incorporate when participants need to use the washroom?
  • Are there benches out? If kids are distracted with them, can you put them somewhere out of sight? Or let the kids use them safely for some of the program?
  • Where can you put your equipment? Is it labeled?
  • For kids that need space away from the group to calm down, is there somewhere they can go that is not punitive or isolating?