The preschool classroom can go one of two ways: either it’s a magical place where kids learn and flourish, or it’s a chaotic space where things always seem to be hectic and stressful. The difference between these two scenarios is a series of clear and enforceable preschool classroom rules. But what makes a good set of preschool classroom rules?
Let’s explore some of the different ways to make classroom behavior guidelines for preschoolers that are sure to create a calm classroom environment, even from the very first day of school.
1. Positive Language
Be sure to keep your classroom rules positive. This means that instead of saying, “You shouldn’t shout,” you should say, “Let’s use our quiet voices.” This way, you have a solid list of positive suggestions and concrete terms rather than just a list of rules for your little ones.
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2. Visual Reminders
Having a classroom rules poster in your learning environment is a great way to remind kids of the concrete and abstract classroom rules. When the early childhood classroom rules are clearly displayed as part of the classroom decorations, kids will be more likely to follow the rules; one simple poster can improve the classroom experience for everyone!
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3. Get Everyone Involved
One way to ensure that simple classroom rules are understood and enforced is to involve your Pre-K and Preschool children in the rule-making process. You should also get their input when it comes to rewarding children since they have a lot of insight into their own motivations.
Learn More: PreK Pages
4. Clear and Consistent Consequences
When setting and expressing guidelines for children, it’s important that they understand both the positive and negative consequences of their actions. Then, it’s crucial to consistently uphold these consequences to avoid sending a confusing message to the kids and to promote a strong classroom community.
Learn More: Center For Parenting Education
5. Short, Clear Instructions
Across all the different types of classroom management, short and clear instructions have been shown to get better responses from kids. When kids can easily understand the expectations, they can more readily contribute to a positive classroom environment.
Learn More: CDC.gov
6. Incorporating Total Physical Response
This is a great way to get students excited about a constructive classroom community. You can use Total Physical Response to help kids understand and remember all the classroom rules that are necessary for a positive classroom community.
Learn More: Cambridge University Press ELT
7. Involve Students’ Families
Make sure that your preschool students’ parents and/or guardians know about all the classroom rules, too. This way, the families can reinforce the rules at home, which can help make transitions into a classroom environment much easier.
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8. Get Periodic Feedback
Every month or so, ask the kids to remind you of the rules. Ask them what’s working and what isn’t. Have a more experienced teacher pop into your class and offer feedback. There are so many great ways to get feedback on your classroom management!
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9. Focus on Emotional Regulation
Keeping emotions regulated is key to maintaining a safe classroom environment. It’s important to teach kids about the links between self-control and classroom behavior expectations so that they can follow constructive classroom rules.
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10. Learn About Big Feelings
Before kids can start regulating their emotions, they have to be aware of their own big feelings. This set of books is great for teaching preschoolers how to recognize their big emotions, and it helps keep the child responsible for their reactions to these big feelings.
Learn More: Happiest Baby
11. Practice Reacting to Big Feelings
Once kids can recognize their big emotions, it’s time to give them tools to help regulate these emotions. This includes a whole range of different methods and techniques, and you can teach these regulation activities throughout the school year. Their benefits will be felt in the classroom and beyond!
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12. Meditate Together
At first, kids might see deep breathing and meditation as a waste of time since they’re not very exciting activities. However, in just a few weeks’ time, you’ll be able to see the results of your deep breathing and calming exercises!
13. Talk it Out
Kids should be able to talk about their feelings with others and learn how to listen actively while others share. This give-and-take will help children understand their own and their classmates’ feelings, which is a great way to promote social skills that will last a lifetime.
Learn More: Pocket Of Preschool
14. Keep a Feelings Chart Handy
A feelings chart is a great way to help kids identify their emotions, even in the heat of an argument. It’s also a concrete way to help kids understand what they’re feeling and why they’re feeling it.
Learn More: Happier Human
15. Give Out Prizes
Prizes are a great way to motivate good behavior in kids. Having prizes on hand is a helpful way to keep kids interested in behaving well. When kids adhere to classroom rule behaviors, reward them with a fun toy or trinket.
Learn More: Study.com
16. Use a Classroom Currency
With some printable “classroom dollars,” you can motivate preschoolers to follow the rules. Just give out this currency as a reward for following the rules, and then allow kids to go shopping at the end of each week.
Learn More: Pre-Kinders
17. Send a Behavior Log Home
Another way to involve parents and families is to send home a behavior log. This way, parents can keep up to date with how their kids are doing during the school day. Plus, this can include parents in the behavior modification process.
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18. Offer Age-Appropriate Explanations
When kids misbehave, it’s important to explain to them why what they did was wrong. However, it’s just as important for the child to be able to understand what they did wrong and how it impacted the people around them. That’s why age- and level-appropriate explanations are key to classroom management.
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19. Don’t Tattle on Friends
While following the rules is important, it’s also important to have some grace for our friends and students. That’s why preschool students should learn the difference between helping friends stay safe and tattling on their friends. Tattling is a bad way to interact, so kids should learn how to avoid it from a young age.
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20. Have Fun
The best classroom management systems all have one thing in common: kids are having fun! When children enjoy the classroom environment, feel safe, and know the boundaries, they’re more likely to have fun and react well to the classroom rules.
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