Many children start pushing the limit and acting in challenging ways when they become the 'big kids' in their child care centre. Setting some clear guidelines and expectations on behaviour can help to make the class run more smoothly and reduce frustration for the kids and the teachers in the room. Here are some tips to help you develop useful classroom rules for kindergartens and child care centres.
Involve the kids
When you are making up the behaviour guidelines, be sure to involve the kids. They can more easily understand the rules if they have been involved in the creation of them and may be more committed to obeying them. You can give them some prompts such as asking how they would like to be treated by other people and the teacher, as well as asking them about how they would like their friends to interact (such as letting everyone have a turn when they are speaking). This helps the kids to develop responsibility and problem-solving skills.
Make it pictorial
A lot of kids may not yet be able to read and may easily forget the rules. Where you can have some pictures next to the rule to give them visual clues on how to obey the rule, such as pictures of friends playing together or kids sitting quietly and cross-legged on the mat. You can place the rules at different points around the classroom so that the kids can be reminded of the rules even when you are not there reminding them. You can also send home small cards showing the rules in case parents want to adopt some similar rules at home. This helps the kids to develop literacy while helping keep behaviour under control.
Revisit the rules regularly
Kids often find it hard to access longer term memories when they are excited so it's a good idea to revisit the rules regularly. Many teachers find it useful to set their rules to music so that they can stop the kids and get them to sing the song during activities if behaviour seems to be getting out of control. This can also help to make talking about the rules feel less like nagging and more part of the fun and educational part of the child care experience.
When framed correctly the process of deriving and recording classroom rules can be an important part of the learning experience during child care. Setting up good learning environment behaviours early helps children to have long-term academic success.Share