9 – 12 YEARS OLD
To create a code of behaviour, and to work on building trust with the group.
Flip chart page, paper, Blu-tack, pens and a small, soft ball.
- Ask the group to sit in a circle.
- Say to the group: ‘Today I want you all to come up with a list of things you think are important when you’re working together: what things help you to work as a team, and what things you like when you come here. But because you all have so many ideas and I’ll want to get them all down, only one person can speak at a time. The only person who is allowed to speak is the one who’s holding this ball (hold the ball in the air). If you want to speak put your hand up and then I’ll pass you the ball. Is everyone clear?’
- Take the flip chart page and stick it on the wall with blu-tack.
- Say to the group: ‘This page is where we are going to write down the things you think are important to help our group work together. It’s called a code of behaviour. Everyone in this group has to agree on what goes into this code, which includes rules for adults and children. But first of all it needs a name. What will the name of this group be?’
- When the children have agreed on a name, write it on the centre of the page.
- Say to the group: ‘Now we have to come up with some rules about how we’ll all behave in the group, so put your hand up if you want to go first and remember you can’t speak without the ball.’
- Continue around the group in this way, each time writing up a rule that the children create, or asking the children to write on the page themselves. The idea is to compromise with the children, and the rules should cover things like signing in, time for breaks, listening to each other, turning mobile phones off, safeguarding, limits to confidentiality, etc. It should also include discussions about what will happen if an agreed rule is broken.
- After finishing the previous discussion, say to the group: ‘Now that we have established the rules, our agreement isn’t complete until we all sign it. If you sign the code, you promise to stick to the rules up here. Every time this group meets, this agreement will be stuck up on the wall so that you can see the rules that we have all agreed to. So I’ll sign first and then everyone else can come up and sign the page.’
- The session ends when everyone in the group has signed the poster. You can develop this further with younger children by letting them decorate the code of behaviour.