Guidance has been a big focus in our three year old pre-k class for the last few weeks. As you know, I am the fourth teacher your child has had in the last ten months. Needless to say this is an area of much needed improvement with the children due to the lack of structure and consistency. With that being said, I have created a classroom management plan with the needs of your children in mind. While the basic principle will remain my goal, I do plan to alter and adjust the plan as needed to fit and meet the needs of each individual child as well as the group as a whole.
My goal is to create a safe, nurturing environment that has been built on respect for ourselves, our things, our environment, and the people with whom we share our things and environment. I hope to teach the children in my class to self-regulate their behavior as best as a three year old can. To achieve this goal, I have set in place the following rules for the classroom:
1) Hands are not for hitting
2) Words are not for hurting
3) Inside is not for running
4) Toys are not for throwing
5) The bathroom is for potty, not play
6) Furniture is not for climbing on
This particular set of rules is geared towards the areas that need the most improvement in our current classroom situation and will change to fit the behaviors in the classroom. For each of the rules, I have also given the children alternatives to the behaviors. For example, use words instead of hitting or let me know so I can help, of you are angry say you are angry, don’t use ugly or hurtful words, we can run outside, throw balls outside and climb on the outdoor equipment.
In our classroom, I am teaching the children that they choose whether they follow the rules or not. Therefore, we discuss making good choices and poor choices. Because it is my goal to instill trust and respect, I have chosen to rely mainly on natural consequences and rewarding good choices rather than bringing attention to negative behavior.
Rewards can be anything from a hug or a high five to a sticker, bubbles or being a helper. If a child gets upset that he or she has missed out on a reward, I do not tell them that they did not follow the rules so they don’t get a prize/hug/etc., I simply let them know that my friends are being rewarded for the good choices they made and that there will be plenty of chances throughout the day to make good choices and be rewarded. In addition, I transition from morning and afternoon circle time to lining up for outside by individually thanking each of the children for a specific good choice they have made that day and give them a tangible reward for the good choice they have made.I am also working to create a picture schedule that will be used to help create a routine. The schedule will feature short periods of focused activity with periods of active or self-directed activities. I feel that this will help the children to be more focused during our formal instruction time because they will have more opportunity to release their energy.In addition, I will also be working closely with the director and another teacher who will be coming in to the classroom to offer me guidance and techniques to gain better control over the classroom through guidance of the children’s behavior. I am also very lucky to have such great parents to work with. Many of which have been a big help in implementing this plan. I have discussed with many of them my system. Some of them are also implementing a similar plan at home, others have contributed to the trasure box, and some of the parents just support the plan and offer me much needed encouragement.
I have seen a huge improvement in the choices the children in are making. I feel that this system has made the children much more aware of the feelings of others and the effect of their actions. In the short time I have had to implement this plan there has been less aggressive behavior and more encouragement for each other. It has also made my job easier and less stressful and renewed my confidence in my ability to provide them with the emotional and social skills they need to effectively function in the classroom so that the children’s learning can flourish.