How To Utilize Older Students as Junior Trainers

As the BOKS Training and Program Manager, a large part of my job is to train new people to run BOKS. I have trained physical education professionals and parents who are passionate about bringing physical activity to their kids’ schools. The parents, which arguably make up the vast majority of our BOKS trainers, may not come from a fitness or teaching background. With this lack of experience or knowledge in how to run a program such as BOKS, come challenges, especially when it comes to the older students who may be more difficult to engage. This leads to quite a few questions regarding how to keep older kids focused and more involved especially when your BOKS class has kids ranging from kindergarten to 6th grade.

Thankfully, I’ve had the opportunity to meet many trainers who have not only come to “Advanced Trainer” workshops but have also spent time with me when I’ve visited their schools. From those interactions and speaking with these trainers on ideas they have implemented, I’ve come up with a top 5 list of tips on how to actively involve older BOKS participants.

  1. Match them up with the younger students to act as buddies/mentors.This is a positive connection for both the younger student, who will now have a “role model”, as well as the older student, allowing them to feel more important and responsible in the BOKS class.
  2. Give them responsibilities for certain segments of the class.For instance, 2 students are in charge of getting the cones set up for BOKS corners, while another 2 are responsible for putting them away.
  3. Have them choose BOKS kid(s) of the week. They can take 2 minutes at the end of each week to talk over who they think deserves the award and announce it in front of the class (of course the trainer can have input as well).
  4. At the beginning of the session have them lead a quick brainstorm to come up with “BOKSpectations.” This could include listening to the lead trainer when he/she is speaking, respect for your other BOKS classmates, or encouraging others throughout class.
  5. Depending on the number of older participants, have them pair up and come up with a lesson plan that they can run on a future given date. Last spring, I had the opportunity to visit Potter Road Elementary in Framingham, MA. The BOKS trainers were quite serious about establishing a “Junior Leadership program.”  They held sessions outside of BOKS time to work with the older kids to talk about leadership and how to run a class.  The kids came up with their own lesson plans which they drew out.  Towards the end of the session, the kids had their own day to run the class.  From experience, the comments from the kids were overwhelmingly positive. They had gained a greater appreciation for the trainers running the classes.

For more information on how to get older kids involved, check out our Live with Laura: Junior Trainersvideo on YouTube!

Written by Laura Burati, BOKS Program and Training Manager