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WAY Pedagogy (teaching fencing for the ages)


Age 5

What I’m Like: I’m slowing a little in growth. I have good motor control, but my small muscles aren’t as developed as my large muscles for jumping. My activity level is high and my play has direction. I like writing my name, drawing pictures, making projects, and going to the library. I’m more interested now in doing group activities, sharing things and my feelings. I like quiet time away from the other kids from time to time. I may be anxious to begin kindergarten.

What I Need: I need the opportunity for plenty of active play. I need to do things for myself. I like to have choices in how I learn new things. But most of all, I need your love and assurance that I’m important. I need time, patience, understanding, and genuine attention. I am learning about who I am and how I fit in with others. I need to know how I am doing in a positive way. I understand more about things and how they work, so you can give me a more detailed answer. I have a big imagination and pretend a lot.

How I Fence: I am excited to finally get a "sword" in my hand. I want to be challenged and try to win but it also has to be fun.

Age 6

What I’m Like: Affectionate and excited over school, I go eagerly most of the time. I am self-centered and can be quite demanding. I think of myself as a big kid now. I can be impatient, wanting my demands to be met NOW. Yet I may take forever to do ordinary things. I like to be with older children more than with younger ones. I often have one close friend, and sometimes we will exclude a third child.

What I Need: This might be my first year in real school. Although it’s fun, it’s also scary. I need you to provide a safe place for me. Routines and consistency are important. Don’t accept my behavior one day and correct me for the same behavior tomorrow. Set up and explain rules about daily routines like playtime and bedtime. I need your praise for what I am doing well. Since I may go to before-and after-school care, help me get organized the night before. Make sure I have everything ready for school.

How I Fence: I see fencing as an activity that is inspired by movies, comics, and something fun to try. I can be serious about the sport with enough encouragement and support. I work best in a highly structured environment.


Age 7

What I’m Like: I am often more quiet and sensitive to others than I was at six.  Sometimes I can be mean to others my age and younger. I may hurt their feelings, but I really don’t mean to. I tend to be more polite and agreeable to adult suggestions. By now I am conscious of my schoolwork and am beginning to compare my work and myself with others. I want my schoolwork to look “right.”  If I make mistakes, I can easily become frustrated.

What I Need: I need to tell you about my experiences, and I need the attention of other adult listeners. I really want you to listen to me and understand my feelings. Please don’t put me down or tell me I can’t do it—help me to learn in a positive way. Please check my homework and reading assignments.

How I Fence: I am able to reason and make sense of what I am being taught by my coach as long as the lesson is clear and simple. It's still a struggle physically to execute many actions but I can see it and believe I can do it with support. I need consistency in order to grow in this sport.

Age 8

  What I’m Like: My curiosity and eagerness to explore new things continues to grow. Friends are more important. I enjoy playing and being with peers. Recess may be my favorite “subject” in school. I may follow you around the house just to find out how you feel and think, especially about me. I am also beginning to be aware of adults as individuals and am curious about what they do at work. Around the house or at child care, I can be quite helpful.

What I Need: My concept of an independent self-has been developing. I assert my individuality, and there are bound to be conflicts. I am expected to learn and read and to get along with others. I need support in my efforts so that I will have a desire for achievement. Your expectations will have a big impact on me. If I am not doing well in school, explain to me that everyone learns at a different pace, and that tiny improvement makes a difference. Tell me that the most important thing is to do my best.

How I Fence: Although I may not look it, I am a "warrior" and despite my underdeveloped body my mind is sharp and clever. I respond well to structure and expectations both on and off the fencing strip.  I tend to forget some things I learn in private lessons but, with positive reinforcement on a consistent basis, I will get it.


Ages 9 to 11

Nine through Eleven years: an overview

Children from nine to eleven are like the socks they buy, with a great range of stretch.  Some are still “little kids” and others are quite mature. Some are already entering puberty, with body, emotions, and attitude changes during this stage. Parents need to take these changes into account when they are choosing child care for this age group. These children begin to think logically and like to work on real tasks, such as mowing lawns or baking. They have a lot of natural curiosity about living things and enjoy having pets.

What I’m Like: I have lots of energy, and physical activities are important to me. I like to take part in sports and group activities. I like clothes, music, and my friends. I’m invited to sleepovers and to friends’ houses often. I want my hair cut a certain way. I’m not as sure about school as I am about my social life. Those of us who are girls are often taller and heavier than the boys. Some girls may be beginning to show signs of puberty, and we may be self-conscious about that. I feel powerful and independent, as though I know what to do and how to do it. I can think for myself and want to be independent. I may be eager to become an adult.

What I Need: I need you to keep communication lines open by setting rules and giving reasons for them, by being a good listener, and by planning ahead for changes in the schedule. Remember, I am still a child so don’t expect me to act like an adult. Know that I like to be an active member of my household, to help plan activities, and to be a part of the decision-making. Once I am eleven or older, I may be ready to take care of myself from time to time rather than go to child care. I still need adult help and encouragement in doing my homework.

As children enter adolescence, they want their independence. Yet they still want to be children and need your guidance. As your child grows, it’s easier to leave him at home for longer periods of time and also ask him to care for younger children. Trust your instincts and watch your child to make sure you are not placing too much responsibility on him at one time. Talk to him. Keep the door open. Make sure he is comfortable with a new role of caregiver and is still able to finish his school work and other projects.

How I Fence: I need to be highly encouraged by my parents and coached on a consistent basis.  I do not like losing and that seems to happen a lot to me in this sport. I need to know that someone is paying attention to my actions and making me accountable for my personal growth so I can get through the rough patches in this sport.  I like being part of a club that values inclusiveness and mentoring.



Ages 12 to 14

Eleven through fourteen years: an overview

Your child is changing so fast—in body, mind, and emotions—that you hardly know her anymore. One day she’s as responsible and cooperative as an adult; the next day she’s more like a six-year-old. Planning beyond today’s baseball game or slumber party is hard. One minute she’s sunny and enthusiastic. The next she’s gloomy and silent. Keep cool. These children are in process; they’re becoming more self-sufficient. It’s Independence Day!

What I’m Like: I’m more independent than I used to be, but I’m quite self-conscious. I think more like an adult, but there’s no simple answer. I like to talk about issues in the adult world. I like to think for myself, and though I often feel confused, my opinions are important to me, and I want others to respect them. I seem to be moving away from my family. Friends are more important than ever. To have them like me, I sometimes act in ways that adults disapprove of. But I still need reasonable rules set by adults. However, I’m more understanding and cooperative. I want nothing to do with babysitters—in fact, if I’m mature enough I can often be by myself or watch others.

What I Need: I need to know my family is behind me no matter how I may stumble in my attempts to grow up. This growing up is serious business, and I need to laugh and play a lot to lighten up and keep my balance. I need you to understand that I’m doing my best and to encourage me to see my mistakes as learning experiences. Please don’t tease me about my clothes, hair, boy/girl friends. I also need privacy with my own space and things.

How I Fence: I am more capable of strategic thinking and the pieces of the fencing puzzle are coming together. My competitive spirit has me coming back to practice even after disappointing results.   epushes we wanting to  started  turned the corner in much of my thinking from m competitive in nature and I want to win.  want to be the best at this and I am willing to dedicate time provided my parents will drive me to practice multiple times per week.  If I had my way I would sleep at the fencing club because I am excited at the prospect of greater, more significant bouts.

Coming soon ...Fifteen Through Eighteen

Coming soon...Adults