I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with rewards; I worry they teach kids to view good behavior as a means to an end, rather than as an end in itself. On the other hand, rewards motivate. Who doesn’t like receiving candy, extra playtime, or a little public praise?
The Kudo Can serves as a happy medium. Every Thursday during snack time, before the kids divide into three groups to read, do homework, and learn about God, we bring out an old coffee can. Inside this can, slips of paper detail instances of students embodying Kids Club values and exemplifying how to be a Kids Club Kid.
We read each of these moments out and as a group say “Kudos!” to the student.
Last Wednesday, one student, Kyle, said as his group lined up to transition into the Reading Room, “Teresa deserves a Kudo. She was super focused in homework room. She didn’t let anyone distract her.” I smiled and thanked him. Later, I entered two small leaflets of paper into the can.
The next day, we gave Kudos to Teresa for staying on task and really showing everyone how to use the homework room well. She smiled and looked down at the table.
“Last but not least!” I announced, “I would like everyone to give Kudos to Kyle, because he pointed out and celebrated what someone else did well. He wasn’t just thinking about how to get a good thing for himself, but he thought about Teresa, and wanted her to get a reward for doing well. Celebrating what others do well is definitely part of what it means to be a Kids Club kid.”
Kyle’s eyes widened in surprise. As we yelled, “Kudos Kyle!” he grinned sheepishly at the table in front of him.
A Kudo may seem a small reward, but in reality, it’s more of a reminder. For me, the Kudo Can reminds me to continually learn from our students, to see their best qualities. For the students the Kudo Can illustrates the power of a good deed, even when they did not realize someone noticed it.
Kudos to our volunteers, without whom the first two weeks of Kids Club would have devolved into chaos! Kudos as well to all of our students for earning their first trip to take a field trip to Huntley Meadows Park last Friday. Check out the photo album on Facebook!