Re: Tips for kids class
Our kids' class is currently composed of two groups; the little ones range from about five to eight, while the older kids are in their early teens. One thing we've done recently has been to pair the older and bigger kids with the little ones to train for periods of mat time. The older kids act as mentors to the little ones and are amazingly good about helping them progress. The older ones benefit from developing some leadership and teaching skills and the younger ones enjoy throwing and pinning the much bigger ones. Safety hasn't been much of an issue although we are constantly on the watch and I've been really impressed at how careful and caring the older kids are with their smaller training partners.
If we've really run them into the ground during class, we will occasionally play an Aikido-related game the last five minutes of class time. Frequently we do a variation of sumo in which the students have to use Aikido technique in the ring and sometimes we will do a variety of "Sensei Says" kind of thing which requires the students to pay attention to the names and terms. We encourage shikko tag before classes bow in and they usually are pretty well warmed up and stretched before formal warm-ups.
Class size is usually around a dozen students on any given day and we always have a minimum of two instructors on the mat with them so we have the luxury of dividing class up into two groups and providing different, but related material to each group.
Dang, but they teach me a lot every session!