Pictures from the Dragon Preservation Society's daycare sword demo thingy
This event took place on September 11, 2005. We taught random kids some basic sword moves. Normally we have a number of safety goggles, but they kept sliding off the kids' noses... My training philosophy favours minimal armour, and good control (against armour, you would do armour techniques, negating the armour - so why bother?).
Contrary to expectations perhaps, kids understand control surprisingly well, if the activity is approached didactically rather than as a game. I believe that children grow by being given responsibility and trust. For example, you can hide all knives from a child always, or you can teach a child how to use a knife - this will not stop her from cutting her fingers occasionally, but she will know the basics, and if she knows that she is trusted, will try to live up to that trust. The child who is never exposed to anything does not get that chance.
I tell the children that they could kill someone with a sword, and that it's up to them to be responsible. This is no more than the truth, but most children get surprisingly earnest if a "grown-up" acknowledges that children can have responsibility.
Kids with swords...
Laura - that girl next to me - was scary, she picked up quickly on techniques, and kept telling me about how she loved movies with decapitations, blood and entrails... her parents had to almost drag her away from me. Twice.
Look into those eyes, and tremble...