Classroom rules define acceptable behavior within a classroom and provide clearly defined expectations. For kindergarten students, this is often their first experience with behavioral expectations outside of the home. Developmentally appropriate rules are needed to keep order in the classroom and help students monitor and control their behavior.
1. Use Positive Language:
Young children respond to positively phrased rules and expectations. Instead of telling students what they cannot do, phrase rules so that they tell students what they can do. “Keep hands and feet to yourself.” is clear and direct, telling the child exactly what you expect. “No hitting, pushing, punching or kicking” simply provides a list of what children cannot do and does not provide an alternative.
2. Keep Rules Simple:
We’ve all seen classrooms with long lists of rules that children are expected to follow, but the list is so long that children cannot remember them all. Keep rules to three to five general rules that are easy to remember and to enforce.
3. Introducing Rules:
Introduce rules at the beginning of the year to set appropriate expectations. Carefully explain each rule. Give a brief rationale for the rule, but avoid over-talking or over-explaining. Save the lengthy explanations for parents and administrators. Keep it simple and to the point for kids.
4. Be a Good Model of Behavior:
Children follow what you do, not what you say. Ensure that you follow class rules at all times. If you expect children to listen when you speak, be ready to listen when they speak, too. Modeling appropriate behavior helps children learn what is expected of them.
5. Consequences of Misbehavior:
Enforce rules immediately and consistently. You may wish to give a warning for the first violation and consequences for the second. Brief timeouts, loss of privileges or a loss for a few minutes of recess are appropriate in mos