1. Meet the child and parents first in an informal setting. A coffee shop works well. Get to know the parents and the child and ensure that everyone is a good fit. It is so important that both the child and parent feel secure and comfortable with you as their tutor.
- Find out and record from the parent about their desires from the tutoring.
- Address any special medical (just in case) or educational needs the child may have.
- Not essential and not always available, but I like to get contact details to the child’s class teacher. It is a good source of knowledge / back ground information.
2. First 15 minutes of the first tutoring date. Get to know your child. Find out their likes / dislikes / interest. They can draw a picture and label. This is beneficial in many ways. You will:-
- See and monitor their coloring / motor skills.
- Get to know their confidence levels. Do they ask for assistance to draw or seem lacking in confidence to have a go?
- Become aware of their phonetic knowledge as they aim to label their pictures.
- Be aware of their concentration levels. Do they stick at the activity until completion? Do they need redirection?
- Get to know if they are independent or do they require much assistance to complete the activity.
- Use the pictures. They provide talking points and lets the child see that you have a genuine interest in them as a person. This will help you create fun activities that draw upon their personal interest.
3. Be fun, energetic and motivating but also let them know who is boss. Succeed by:-
- Giving praise, rewards like gold stars and stickers, smiles, clap for them, give them high fives when you like what they are doing.
- Ignore any negative behavior. Giving a reaction is giving in to the child’s desires to gain a reaction from you. They will test the boundaries. Instead, stop the activity and wait until the child is ready to listen and recommence once attention is regained.
- Ensure to report to the parent / carer about the child’s behavior. Do this in front of the child. They need to see that mom or dad will know if they are not co-operating. Ensure to follow up with any absent / working parents via email if it is a child minder you speak with on the day. Don’t forget it is EQUALLY, if not more important to report on positive behavior too.
- Reward the child at the end of the session with verbal praise, stickers or play a fun game, even draw a picture together. I have an iPad and this comes in very useful. Kids love a chance to see they have earned a 5 minute reward time. All of my games are educational too, so it is added learning time.
5. Follow up with parents on a regular basis.
6. Feel good that you are helping this little child to their maximum potential.