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Forums > Social Chat > TEaching Kids...elementary school age

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Donia


member
Location: Seattle, WA USA

Total posts: 0
Posted:Hi,I have been asked to teach a class on poi at an elementae=ry school, and afterwards do a fire show for the kids. What are your thoughts on teaching this to the kids. Safety is obviously my first priority and making sure they don't go and try this at home with fire is important as well. I am going to walk them through making non-fire poi with streamers attached, and then teach some basic moves, which I am still deciding what moves are considered "Basic". I am concerned about the fire and how to explain to children not to do this at home. The teacher and principal have some ideas on it but I would like to hear from you guys on the subject.Thanks Doonia LoveDirector of Creation, Crerator of DirectionIgnis Devoco Industrial Fire Circuswww.ignisdevoco.com"Where there is Sorrow, I seek the flame."Rumi

Donia Love
Ignis Devoco Industrial Fire Circus

Where there is sorrow, I seek the flame.
Rumi

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bec
BRONZE Member since Jan 2001

bec

member
Location: Brisbane, Queensland, Australi...

Total posts: 521
Posted:(ps What ages are "elementary" school...is it the same as our primary school ie 6-12years?)...this is a bit of a tricky one, and I'd be interested to hear other people's responses too... I have taught a number of fire workshops through a government program for 12-16 year olds held during school holidays. Although these kids were a little older, I found that most of them had seen twirling before, (with a few of them having even tried twirling with a friend/older brother or sister's fire staff)... and with a few exceptions, most already had a serious respect for fire. I was a little worried that the workshop may lead to one or more of them going home and doing something potentially very dangerous, but thought at least if I was to show them how to do it all very safely and the reasons behind the safety practices, as well as why it is so important to have a spotter present (ie mum or dad...) that these kids would probably be safer than if they saw someone doing it and went home and used more dangerous fuels and less safe equipment by themselves etc...However, saying that, I would be reluctant to work with poi (I consider staff to be a much safer prop to begin with) and would never teach them to fire breathe (in fact I always tell them a few horror stories about it to put them off - that can wait til they're old enough to really make the informed decision for their health and safety...) and I'm not sure if even teaching them safe staff twirling is really a good idea - I guess my logic comes down to kids will be kids and they'll want to have a go, so if I can show them how to do this in a safe, supervised situation (and inform their parents of the safety issues as well) then they'll be better off...but obviously there is another side to this as well...

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Pele
BRONZE Member since Dec 2000

Pele

the henna lady
Location: WNY, USA

Total posts: 6193
Posted:I was once a teacher of elementary kids, and I need to say that teaching them poi is a wonderful idea however I think the fire show after teaching them is not. No matter how you explain it to the kids I fear that they are going to hear the roar of the fire in their own minds rather than the sage words you will be giving. I love children but kids that young are determined and influenced by "cool" rather than safety. I say do the workshop on poi, show them how to make their own even from socks and stuff, then do a performance, show them how amazing it can be. I would suggest you do a show with glow-in-the-dark poi and black lights. Same effect, no fire. How about flags? Another fantastic variation. There are so many impressive designs for non-flammable poi that I would encourage exploraition of these instead.Also I would like to say that as a mother of a 6 year old in school, that if I were to find out the school sanctioned something that taught my child this in a single afternnon workshop thing, I would be pissed. There is so much responsibility involved with fire, so much danger for untrained newbies...I can't even phathom the extent of the parent/teacher conversations over this one. On the other side my son is around it constantly, he is enriched by it and I feel better off for learning what I hav to teach him, but he also gets the lecture on fire every time we light up, which makes all th edifference in the world.Best to you------------------Pele Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir...

Pele
Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir
"Oooh look! A pub!" -exclaimed after recovering from a stupid fall
"And for the decadence of art, nothing beats a roaring fire." -TMK

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spryte


member
Location: Canada

Total posts: 45
Posted:Teaching kids how to do somthing is great. New skills and new toys to get them out doors and away from video games and T.V. are important. I'm not sure where I stand on fire. SOME KIDS are very good about it. And when you tell them its not safe to do at their age. They will listen. But there is always at least one in the group who isn't listening to that and will say "hey I can do that" " I'm not afraid Of fire" " she just showed me how to spin and I only hit myself 15 times" this kid just might try fire when nobody is looking. (All of us were probably that kid
Non-Https Image Link
) I think its wonderful for the kids to see, But as the Role model, I think its an Iffy thing to show. Check out a post I did a couple days ago about how kids learn quick. Nobody showed him how he just watched me then did it.Goodluck~spryte~


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Jesse


member
Location: Pittsburgh, PA/ USA

Total posts: 118
Posted:I had a discussion about guns just the other day that would totally pertain in this situation. (IMO)A girlfriend of mine was extremely upset that her ex-husband had taken their 8 year old son to the shooting range. She wasn't upset because she was against guns or hunting. These were the valid points she brought up that I think pertain in this situation as well:1. It was not discussed with her first. Parents should have input into what their child learns and when. Especially when it is something that could be potentially life threatening: ie- guns, (fire for entertainment?), sex ed, drugs.2. My girlfriend was particularly upset because she felt that the training was improperly handled. The child was given only enough exposure to see that guns were "fun"/"interesting" etc, and not enough exposure to respect the level of responsibility that came with it. ie- he was not made to clean the gun. He was not made to learn how the gun worked, and therefore potential problems with the gun. He was only taught to point it and shoot it... The exciting part.I agree with Pele here. Her 6 year old is safe with fire, because he has been around all the aspects of it. He knows the "boring" safety regimens (pl?) that come attached to the beautiful flames. He knows about the hours of practice. He has seen his mother being careful with fuel. He knows that what kind of fuel you use makes a huge difference. Without that kind of exposure there is no way to ensure that a child will have a healthy respect for a potentially dangerous situation. (Same thing goes for the guns IMO. I've had friends who were out hunting with their parents by the age of 8, but those parents MADE SURE that that child had enough exposure to the cleaning, safety procedures, etc. to make sure that the child RESPECTED the weapon.) If you cannot provide that, then it's probably best not to tempt the children. (/pontification)JessePS- My opinion may not count at all, as I have no children. But there you all now have my $.02.

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Posted:I have to agree with what everyone else has said here.but to summarise;1) Its a really great idea to teach young kids poi'ing...its healthy and its fun, and its DIFFERENT.2) I think that MOST kids have a decent head on em, and would respect your instruction not to do it alone etc. However, you and I both know that out of every group of ppl there is always someone that gets a kick outa doing the wrong thing, whether it be simply for attention or other reasons. Its that one kid (or group of kids) that are at risk. Fire Poi are quite dangerous, and kids are not always sensible. Putting on a fire show, while being very entertaining to the kids, is NOT a good idea when coupled with a class on Poi'ing.You are teaching them to Poi, and then showing them something else they can do. Id say, either teach em poi OR give em a fire show. If you do both you will be creating a very strong relationship between the fact that you thought that they could learn Poi'ing, and that the cool thing to do with POi is to set em on fire.Remember, every kid in that class that will think you are the coolest when you are doing your fire show. The next logical step is imitation. Even kids with the best intentions can sometimes make mistakes.Josh.

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ykaterina
BRONZE Member since Jan 2001

member
Location: east randolph, VT USA

Total posts: 107
Posted:i agree with pele - leave the fire out of it...use poi with streamers or glow sticks, it looks just as cool to a 6 year old. i think the important difference between a parent teaching their child about fire (or guns, or whatever) and the school doing it is the repetition and the length of the lesson. for example, i fully intend to teach my children at a young age how to shoot and care for guns, and the great seriousness of guns, because if a child understands a thing inside and out, they are not only not going to fall for the "oh, cool!" factor, but they are likely to be able to diffuse it in other children should they be faced with the situation. the same with fire. [i also believe in locks and safes for guns, but that's a different point] i definitely will also teach my kids to spin, but in a repetitive, constantly reinforced, over the course of years kind of way. it's important that they truly understand, one concept at a time, and the concepts build on each other.but you can't do that in an afternoon presentation. it's too short. in just one afternoon, the kids will only manage to grasp "oh, cool". and they'll go out and try it, or wreak havoc for the school with outraged parents. so if you're going to teach them somehting cool in such a short period of time, i think it should be kept to non-flaming - i mean, flinging shit around your head is dangerous enough, ya know? (i've already demolished one pair of glasses!) i guess it's all about being responsible about how much danger we are feeding them. even if they see a spinner at a carnival or something, they can talk about it with their parents, ya know? at the very least, make sure to sing stuff off with all the parents of the children involved...good luck!

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.draevon
BRONZE Member since Dec 2000

.draevon

member
Location: Androgen

Total posts: 92
Posted:We did a childrens party not long ago for kids aged between 5 and about 10. We were also worried that kids would see what we do and go and hurt themselves and other people trying to recreate what they saw.So anyways, before we did any fire we had a chat to the kids about how dangerous it was and how people were silly to do it if they didn't know what they were doing. Then just before we lit up we asked the kids if they knew what the 'magic word' was. We got a couple of 'please's and some 'abracadabra's ... but then we told the kids that the magic word for us was "Don't try this at home" ... we got them all to say the magic word ... then told them it wasn't loud enough etc ... in the end we had 30 something kids yelling out 'don't try this at home' at the top of their lungs which was really quite novel.We made them say it a few more times before we did some breathing ... and we asked them again at the end of the night and everyoine remembered what the magic word was. Ithis probably wouldn't work if your group of kids is much older than the 5-9 sort of age group ... but it did the trick for us and it's something to think about.We also made sure that after we were done, all of the kids got to have a sparkler to wave around and stuff, so they sort of felt like they were doing it to a certain extent anyway.I hope this helpsraevon

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Charly


member
Location: Seattle, Washington, USA

Total posts: 68
Posted:As one wise fire official said to us..."One accident with one child means the end of fire. Period."This person performs in the same town as me, and is choosing to take that risk... not a burden I'd care to bear, but the consequences will affect us all if there's an accident.I'll keep my fingers crossed that no children decide to try fire poi after taking her workshop and watching her show. Although, from the children I know, I'd say the chances are quite decent that imitation will follow.This is quite an ethical concern... one that I've discussed with other fire peers in the past. And I still stand firm in my stance that TEACHING followed by DEMONSTRATION is a bad combination when children and fire are involved.~*Charly*~------------------www.cabiri.org

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Donia


member
Location: Seattle, WA USA

Total posts: 0
Posted:I would like to thank everyone for their input on this subject.Thanks to the wonderful feed back from you, the school the parents and such we have come up with a plan. We will be teaching the kids a streamer poi class and then about two hours after school is out the community of index has invited us to do a fire performance in a park in their community. Non of the kids will be allowed to attend unless they are with an adult. We are going to start the show by emphasizing safety and do the chanting thing that Draevon suggested. During the class we are also going to pass out different colored glow sticks to the kids.And to address Charly, I have attended your shows and there have been children present. I did not witness you addressing any safety issues with those children and have never seen a flyer of yours that says for parents not to bring their children. Maybe as performers we should start questioning our responsibility to the kids who attend our shows and this may be a good forum for that.Have any of you had children at your public performances?? If so how do you address that?I feel that we have taken the neccessary steps to seperate poi/fire. With the time lapse and venue that is away from the school and saying that the kids can only come if their parents are with them.Again ThanksDOnia"Where there is sorrow, I seek the flame."Rumi

Donia Love
Ignis Devoco Industrial Fire Circus

Where there is sorrow, I seek the flame.
Rumi

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