Setting rules in the preschool classroom

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Ways to help children be successful in the classroom

I was recently asked by a colleague to suggest ideas for rules that should be posted in the preschool classroom. I had to pause because I realized that I have never actually had a set of rules written out and posted on my classroom wall.

Helping Children Make Sense of their World

Preschool age children are still developing their sense of right and wrong in almost every action they take. They are testing limits, exploring their environment, and discovering how to get along with others. Preschool age children are cognitively, socially, emotionally, and physically developing their sense of right and wrong in just about everything they do. It is when developmental understanding is present that young children are now ready to live by a set of formal classroom rules.

While preschoolers learn the boundaries of their behavior towards others and towards their environment, the teacher can best participate by consistently and patiently communicating teacher expectations (the rules) and then consistently guide children towards making positive choices.

Designing Classroom Rules

If I were to design a set of rules for the preschool classroom, I would focus on only 3 to 5 rules that the preschoolers would be able to understand and successfully apply. In addition I would…

Emphasize the action I want rather than the action I don’t want!

Setting Clear Expectations

I do think that preschool age children need clear expectations defined for them so that they will understand limits and boundaries. However, in my experience, the best approach is to not depend on a set of rules, but rather make your expectations a part of your teaching process as you consistently provide gentle guidance and redirection. For more on this topic, see this article I wrote titled Teaching Children Expectations!

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Deborah J Stewart

Deborah J Stewart

Every time I think I know everything I need to know about teaching young children, God says, "Hold on a minute!" and gives me a new challenge.

Let me tell ya...

With each new challenge that you overcome, you will find yourself better equipped and more passionate about teaching young children.

God didn't call wimps to lead, teach, or care for His children. Nope, he has high expectations, so get ready. You will have to give your very best but after teaching for over 30 years, I can tell you that it is a wonderful and rewarding journey.

Whenever your calling feels hard, just remember, 'He who began a good work in you (and in the children you serve) will be faithful to complete it.'

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