Last week several of Little Lights program staff attended a training hosted by Kids Included Together Inc. (KIT), an organization that advocates for inclusive practices within child and youth programs. The training offered staff tips and strategies on how to prevent negative behaviors before they occur and how to create environments that offer positive behavior support to children with behavioral challenges.

Sara Mason, Program Manager at the Little Lights Center, was among the staff who attended the KIT training.

During the training she felt personally encouraged to view students’ misbehavior as a strength or as a way to communicate. “For example, if a student disengages don’t see it as the child refusing to work,” Sara shared, “but consider it a strength of the student that he or she knows when to take a break or view the disengagement as the student communicating their work is too difficult.”

In viewing misbehavior in this way it is Little Lights’ hope to help adults who are working with our students to see the ability in every child. “The adult can then respond in a way that redirects and restores the student versus the adult only seeing the student as refusing to work,” Sara added.

The training also offered tips to on how to design an environment that is physical, sensory, and socially and emotionally friendly to support positive behavior from kids.

Katie Larkins, Program Coordinator at the 1430 Center, learned that a part of making students feel like they belong and are welcomed in a space is conveyed by having their names written on their homework binders and doing activities in a circle where the students are able to sit and engage with each other and adults in the room. “It was very helpful to think about how environmental factors in our sites can impact students,” Katie said.

A big thanks to KIT for hosting the training and guiding Little Lights program staff through implementing inclusive practices to encourage the students that we serve toward positive behavior.