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Cool Rolls Downhill

What does your seating layout look like when you have an age difference in your class or service?

An example would be having 1st graders and 5th graders in the same room for a children's worship service.

In the past, I would always put the 1st graders up front and the 5th graders in the back.

It was that way until I read this statement by Walt Disney.

"It was the first entertainment that Walt Disney had ever designed expressly for children. 'But we are not going to talk down to the kids,' he told his staff. 'Let's aim for the twelve-year-old. The younger ones will watch, because they'll want to see what their older brothers and sisters are looking at. And if the show is good enough, the teenagers will be interested, and adults too.'"

Once I read that quote, I knew I had to make some changes in my seating arrangement. With Walt's help, I realized that you should place the older kids up front with the younger children behind them.

Why? Two reasons.

Reason #1 - If you place younger children up front, the older children will see the younger children in front of them and will check out because it is too "babyish."

Reason #2 - Younger children want to be like the "big kids." They look up to the older kids and when they see them singing and participating in front of them, they will join in as well.

Anytime you have different age ranges together, your target should be a 5th grade boy. If you connect with him, you will catch the attention of all the kids in the room.

Something else to consider as well. The reason you should target 5th grade boys specifically is because girls are okay with something that appears "boyish." But 5th grade boys want nothing to do with something that appears "girlish." And when you lose the 5th grade boys, you will lose the entire class.

Another way to say this is - "Cool rolls down hill." When the older children think something is cool, it will run down to the younger children and they will think it is cool as well.

Check your classroom. Having behavior problems? Kids saying the class or activity is "boring." Can't seem to get the kids engaged with what you are presenting? Check the age you are targeting. You may not be targeting the older kids.

You may be trying to roll "cool" uphill and that just doesn't work.


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