When it comes to teaching preschool and having good classroom management, it is always important to set simple rules. Rules need to be stated in a way for what you want them to do.
“Walk” this tells the children specifically what you want them to do.
If you say “don’t run” all they are hearing is RUN.
When setting your classroom rules you need to have visual reminders. This helps children understand the rules and be able to follow the rules.
There is a pocket chart in the circle area of my classroom. In the pocket chart are pictures of the children demonstrating the classroom rules with a sentence strip that has the rule written on it. I like to use pictures of the actual children in the classroom because it gives a since of ownership and that it is their classroom and their rules not just the teachers.
Remember that you and your staff are the teachers and their first role model. As the teachers you need to be modeling appropriate behavior at all times. Children are like the saying monkey see monkey do, so if they see you doing something against the rules, they will mimic what they see you doing, not what they hear you say.
When do you go over the rules?
I go over the rules everyday especially at the beginning of the school year, during group time and while we are going outside. I will go over the rules that are important at that time. This is why it is import to have the visually children will remind one another of the rules.
What do you do if they don’t follow the rules?
I use positive reinforcement. (Nurtured Heart) We are always looking for and pointing out the good things children do through out the day.
• “I see you know how to stand in line.” “Thank-you for follow the rules.”
• “I see that Kim and Jimmy are ready for the story.”
This will give the other children a reminder of what they need to do. As those children follow through you need to give them that verbal positive reinforcement.
“I see that you are all ready for the story.” “I enjoy reading and sharing stories with you.”
Positive reinforcement does not mean say “Good Job.” When you say this over and over to children it means nothing to them. You have to be specific in your positive reinforcement.
• I see…
• You know how…
• That is thoughtful of you
• You are a good friend because…
• You are a great example of…
What if I don’t have classroom rules?
It is never too late to start classroom rules. Rules help the children have a since of a school community. Just start out in group time and go over your new rules and why. Let the children give input to why you are starting rules. This will give them buy in to the new rules.