Do you have any advice on delivering Information Sessions to large groups of young people?
You’re delivering a Dementia Friends Information Session to children – fantastic! However it’s now dawning on you that it’s going to be to quite a large group… don’t panic! It is possible to deliver a Dementia Friends Session to a large group of children.
Below are some tips and guidance to help you create as many young Dementia Friends as possible.
Preparation before your Information Session
Visit the venue
It’s ideal to visit the venue and become familiar with the room you will be in beforehand, so you have no surprises on the day. This will also help you to visualise how you will deliver the activities, how much space you will have etc.
Speak to the person in charge
Speak to the person who usually manages the group of children –a teacher, scout leader etc. They may have some group management strategies. e.g. ‘listening ears’ ‘fingers on lip that the children follow to be quiet or to focus. They will also be able to give you tips on which children work best with which, and if you’re delivering the session at the right level.
Remember that they can help. By speaking to them beforehand you can agree on what would happen in certain situations. That way you know what to expect, and can carry on without getting flustered.
Co-deliver to split the group down
Depending on the venue and group size, you may prefer to work with another Champion to manage the size of the group, or perhaps split the group in half and deliver half each.
Factor in extra time
Be aware that with larger groups, things will inevitably take longer. Make sure you give yourself enough time and keep an eye on the clock while you’re delivering. Make sure there is a clock you can see, or wear a watch.
If you have a large group of children in one room, it’s going to be noisy. First of all accept this and don’t worry. Just because they’re not in silence it doesn’t mean they’re not learning. However if the noise levels get unmanageable ask the person in charge to help you to bring them back to your attention.
During the Session
Ask for volunteers
If you’re delivering an activity such as who’s right with older children, or making the connections, ask for volunteers instead of getting everyone up. 8-10 volunteers tend to work best.
Try closed questions
In large groups it can be a little daunting for the children to speak out in front of others. Closed questions may encourage quicker, shorter answers that feel less intimidating. E.g. do you think all old people get dementia? Do you think that means that younger people can get it too?
During the activities and discussions you may want to ask for people to raise their hands rather than shout out their answers. This means you can involve more of the group and get answers from all around the room
Keep it interactive and visual
You may want to create some visual aids when delivering to assembly size to help keep their attention. Perhaps ask for a couple of volunteers to be the bookcases. If the young people are too shy maybe a couple of staff would consent to being wobbled!
Good luck and enjoy!
As always if you would like to talk through a Dementia Friends Information Session or have any questions, please remember that your DFO is there to support you.