Baylor Missions hosted a Working with Children Workshop on Wednesday to train students who volunteer in children’s ministry and recreation. The workshop was led by Dr. McAninch, a child development professor, on Wednesday at the Bobo Spiritual Life Center.
The students in attendance had varied experience in working with children, including tutoring, mission work and childcare. Dallas sophomore Piriye Somiari has volunteered at several after-school programs in elementary schools. Somiari said she learned that there are certain behavioral tendencies that accompany child development stages.
McAninch said when working with children, it is important to provide a safe environment and consistency. She explained that kids want to feel like they are good at something. McAninch suggested the students find something positive in the children’s behavior and encourage it.
Somiari said she “will use what I learned about the different characteristics of children in each developmental stage as a reference and guide for how I will organize my activities and interactions with the kids I serve.”
There are nine teams that work with children’s ministry and recreation according to the Baylor Urban Missions website. In addition to this, there are a variety of Baylor mission trips that involve working with youth, including the mission trip to Eagle Pass over spring break.
Alexis Carlsson, ministry associate for Urban Missions, said it was important for student volunteers to learn about child development because it would help them engage with the kids. She said the part that stood out to her the most was setting boundaries and learning how to react when children test those boundaries.
When asked what other workshops might be beneficial for student volunteers, Carlsson said “any workshops that help students learn about issues that could affect the population they are working with, such as hunger, poverty and violence.”
Carlsson said students can use what they learned at the workshop to better serve and help children reach their full potential.