1 June 2016

Imagine a camp day without any structure. Imagine there was no schedule and no one needed to be anywhere at any specific time. Imagine campers were allowed to be on the waterfront or the climbing wall at night. If it is hard to imagine, it is because that would never exist. Structure is key to organization and crowd control at camp.

The arts are full of rituals, many dating back centuries. A curtain call; an orchestra tuning before an opening number; a dancer tying up ballet shoes; lights dimming; arriving early every morning to the studio to work on your craft, are all rituals artists use to prepare them for work and sharing work. If rituals exist in the grand world of the arts (and in some ways are the foundation) then why should we avoid them in our facilitation?

Start with an Intro

Create a ritual introduction that informs participants of exactly what your plans are for that day to avoid the inevitable questions like, "What are we doing today? What's after this? What am I supposed to do?" Kids require structure and want to know what to expect. We suggest having an opening and a closing ritual that will help you gather attention at the beginning of a session and help you assess the outcomes of your lesson at the end. Below are some examples of opening and closing rituals that you can try. 

Opening Rituals

  • Greet participants as they enter with a silly voice or personality.
  • Start each class with the same game or physical warm-up.
  • Have a dance party.
  • Play low music as participants enter and turn it off when it is time for class to start.
  • Have a "call and response" created by you and participants.
  • Have an activity written and displayed, to be completed at the top of the class.

Closing Rituals

  • Play the same game or activity at the end of each class or session.
  • Have every participant share one thing they enjoyed.
  • Give participants high fives as they leave the class room.
  • Clean up the space as fast as possible, always trying to beat your best time.

For other mainstages facilitation tips and techniques, make sure to visit our Resources Page!