Story shared by Gillian, Volunteer Coach 

Because in the Strong Start® Letters, Sounds and Words program you work with one child at a time, you can make some adjustments to adapt to the learning style of the child. Also there are a lot of games and activities to give variety and allow some choice.

I had one child who initially didn’t want to work with me because he didn’t want to be out of the classroom. It wasn’t so much that he really liked what he was doing in the classroom when I came to pick him up, but that he just didn’t want to make a change and be out of the classroom. The walk down the hall to our work area was tense as I expected him to change his mind and run back to the classroom. I decided, therefore, that I’d work with him right outside his room. This cut down on the walk time when he might think too much about not wanting to start. I also had everything ready before I picked him up and I got him started on an activity right away. I kept things moving quickly throughout the session. This worked and he did well.

I found I enjoyed trying to adapt to different styles. Some of the children were kinesthetic learners. They needed to move a lot. I’d have to make sure the chair was moved back from the table when we played board games so they could throw the dice a bit of a distance. I also gave them lots of chance to stand up and do something. The program has lots of games, so we could make some choices and alternate quiet games with more active ones. There are also some very active games like the beanbag toss. The fact that I work with only one child means that child can be more active, not having to wait while others take a turn.

It is very satisfying to be a Volunteer Coach as you make decisions and are responsible for the entire ten sessions in the strand. You know that when the child succeeds, you were the one to help him do so!