Rotakids: What, Why? How?
District Organiser: Mike Ware (Bourne End & Cookham)
What is RotaKids?
RotaKids is a Primary School Citizenship programme. The concept is developing fast and it can be developed to suit your Rotary Club and your school. The programme is mainly aimed at the Junior School age group, ages 7-11, which is Years 3-6 in Primary Schools.
The main objective is to introduce Rotary ideals to young people, as well as addressing citizenship, which is becoming a major theme in schools. As with any Rotary project, you will need helpers. Not too many, two or three will be enough, but an interested and willing teacher is the most essential ingredient. However, these days there is always a teacher responsible for Citizenship in each school, so this would be a good start.
How to Start a RotaKids Club
A Rotary club may approach a school and offer to help them set up a Fundraising project, then let the RotaKids decide how the funds raised should be used, thus giving the youngsters a chance to put back into society, instead of just taking out.
On the first visit Rotarians would tell the youngsters a little bit about Rotary and then explain how RotaKids help Rotary. The class teacher can then discuss ideas with the pupils in their citizenship lessons, and come up with a few suggestions. Then the Rotarians make regular visits to support the project. The aim is always for the youngsters to have fun while they are raising money or serving the community.
The decisions made always involve the RotaKids, such as the date, time, place, cost for admission etc. Then jobs are divided up between the class, with two or three being responsible for producing tickets, another group doing the posters, etc. It may be possible to do many of these things in lesson times, such as in Art and Design lessons.
Alternatively, a Rotary club may contact the school and explain a Rotary project e.g. Recycling Project, Shoe Boxes, Aqua Boxes, School Pride Days or any other idea. Then work with the RotaKids in a similar way to deliver the project, helping with background information and any logistical problems.
Ideas for Rewards
Recite the RotaKids pledge and the young person is given a RotaKids badge. A certificate or a RotaKids T-shirt may be presented on completion of a project.
Benefits of RotaKids
For the young people it enlivens the curriculum. They learn about Citizenship and Teamwork. Use of practical maths, such as counting money, also making posters and programmes using IT and English skills. Production of an event could use Drama and Technology skills.
RotaKids introduces young people to Rotary ideals at an early age and also brings their teachers and parents into contact with the local Rotary club.
The RotaKids Pledge:
As a RotaKid, I promise:
To be fair to all
To serve my community
To show respect for others
Bourne End & Cookham initiated their second Rotakids club at Westfield Special School. Already very active, they have enjoyed a sailing taster session and have an international twinning partnership with Libale Basic School in Zambia.
The Rotary Club of Bourne End and Cookham started a RotaKids club in March 2010 at Carrington School in Flackwell Heath, Bucks., and the Rotary Club of Reading Maiden Erlegh started a club in June 2010 at The Hawthorns Primary School in Woosehill, Wokingham, Berks.
Resources: A Rotakids pack (including handbook, poster and certificates) may be downloaded by logging into the Members section of the RIBI Youth Programmes page here