Kindergarten is often a child's first exposure to a classroom setting and it may take some getting used to. This change in surroundings can sometimes result in behavior that is unsuitable for learning. The upside of this situation is that children at this age absorb information quickly and are usually willing to take direction. Child-friendly discipline and behavior-correction techniques often work well to maintain a sense of order in a classroom.
Behavior treasure chest
Assemble a behavior treasure chest to reward children for acting the way they should. One of the best motivators for children is to offer rewards for good behavior, with the suggestion that they will not receive the reward if they behave badly.
One idea for doling out this kind of reward is to offer good behavior "checks." Each child should start with an equal dollar amount in his personal behavior piggy bank. When a child acts in a way that is disruptive or otherwise inconsistent with classroom rules, he can be fined a fixed mount based on the type of misbehavior.
At the end of the month or week, the students can use the money in their behavior banks to obtain prizes from the treasure chest. The really good prizes should require perfect behavior, with lesser prizes available to those who have lost a few dollars. If a child has been repeatedly in trouble, he will realize he will have to go home empty-handed and try again the next week.
Traffic Light Challenge
On a bulletin board in the classroom, construct a series of small traffic signals with three empty circles cut into the places where the red, yellow and green lights should be. Shade circles in the appropriate colors. There should be one signal for each student, whose name should appear clearly on the signal.
Hang the lights for each child's traffic signal and explain that everyone will start with a green light. Explain that violating the class rules will cause a student to get a warning. The student's light will change to yellow. If the child repeats the bad behavior the light could go to red, which will carry a fitting consequence, such as sitting out at recess.
Avoid discipline through understanding
Remember that children in kindergarten may not be used to the rules of a classroom. Every child's home life is unique, and different things have been expected of them until now. Making sure that students understand what is appropriate and what is not will go a long way in reducing the amount of discipline needed in class.
Early in the school year teachers should set the rules for the classroom and involve the students in the process. Sometimes asking about what kinds of things they think should be against the rules will help them to understand and remember what they are expected to do and not to do. Let students make suggestions. Sometimes they may impose rules upon themselves that you haven't even considered.
- kindergarten boy image by Andrey Kiselev from Fotolia.com