Beginning on the first day of school all teachers teach the class rules.
At my school we have school wide rules as part of PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports). Our rules are “we take care of ourselves, each other, our school, and our world”. I LOVE our rules. The vocabulary is simple so preschoolers can understand them. Here is a poster I created of our school rules that I have posted at my circle area.
We introduce each rule separately, not all at once. That would be very overwhelming for a preschooler. We focus on teaching the rule “we take care of our friends” first. It is the hardest rule for students. We always explain the rule in concrete terms to the students so they will understand what the rule is and what it looks like.
We give prompts, lots and lots! Giving verbal, visual, and physical prompts or cues can help a student follow the rule with your assistance. “Let’s take care of our friend and give him a hug because he is sad”. If you walk into my classroom the first month of school you will hear us saying “let’s take care of our friends and _______” many, many times.
You will also hear students using the language too! I love it when you hear a little three year old tell a teacher how they took care of their friend! Amazing!
Practice, Practice, Practice We provide MANY opportunities for students to practice the rules (all year long). There are so many fun, hands on activities we do to teach the rules such as create class books on each rule, journal or draw pictures about a specific rule, act out what a rule looks like, create rules collage posters, and use children’s books. I LOVE to teach social skills using books!
We also do small groups to help students practice the rules. For example, I may have 8 students do an art activity and only set out 5 glue sticks. Students can
practice waiting and taking turns using the glue sticks with a teacher there for support. It may not always be the focus skill we are working on but I always try to sneak in teaching social skills anytime I can!
Model, Model, Model We are always modeling how to follow the rules with students. We talk out loud everything we are thinking as we do things.
“I can take care of my friend by listening to her because she is
talking.” They are ALWAYS watching us and listening to us so why not make them teachable moments.
Our rules are very general so there are many ways students can “take care of their friends”. I created a handout to share with staff and families about what the rules look like.
Giving praise and pointing out when students are following the rules helps us develop positive relationships with students. Praise is SO important! You can never give enough praise as long as the praise is specific! For example I may say, “great job taking care of our school and throwing the trash away that was on the floor!” I wanted a way to tell parents that their child was following the rules so I created Positive Home Notes! I am super excited to use these next year! There is a note for each rule. I added specific ways their child follow the rule. All I will have to do is highlight what their child did and send it home with them! It will be a super easy way to recognize students’ positive behaviors and connect with parents about what their child is doing at school! I created a Student Record Sheet included to track how many notes I have sent home for each child and for what rule. I want to make sure I am giving each child the same amount of notes over a weeks time.
To increase my home school connection I created a Letter to Parents to tell parents about our school rules. I put it in the welcome folder I give to parents at open house. I also created a handout about what each rule “looks like” (pictured above)!
I created Classroom Rules & Expectations Posters, Activities, & Parent Note that you can purchase at my store!