Classroom Management in Preschool Series -Day 1
Welcome to the Classroom Management in Preschool 5 day series!
I gotta ask...
Does classroom management leave you feeling 😩?
Are student behaviors leaving you exhausted at the end of every day?
If so, this series is for you!
Before we jump right in, let's look at what is happening this week:
Today is all about Mindset.
I challenge you to challenge your own mindset around classroom management.
While reading this article, ask yourself...
> Am I in a 'learning mindset' or a 'judging mindset'?
> What do I want for both my students and I?
> What assumptions am I making?
Also- this is a NO Judgement Zone
I've tried every classroom management system out there. I've lived and learned and have changed how I approach classroom management.
Because... When you know better, you do better.
So, to get started with this mindset shift, let's first look at some common types of management systems or techniques and look deeper into WHY they don't work.
Let's start with Behavior Charts.
Sticker charts, clip charts, smiley charts, 3,2,1 ratings, color coded behavior and so many others... we turn to them to help us manage behavior of either the whole class, or just a couple students. They all have different elements, but in a whole these types of behavior charts are used to encourage positive behavior and discourage negative behavior.
But, here is where the problem comes in.... you find that some kids generally always do the right thing (green kids, let's call them). Then, you'll also find that some kids are generally always exhibiting negative behavior (the red kids). And you have the yellow kids, in the middle. Depending on circumstances, they could go either way.
Now, I'm well aware that grouping children like this isn't a good way to look at student's individually --- and that is precisely my point. When we use these types of systems we are setting some of our children up for failure. Because if we are being honest here... no behavior chart ever made a red kid turn into a green kid. Red kids stay red kids. They keep having the same behavior issues over and over again. And.. to add insult to injury, since they are already a red kid (and everybody knows it), what's the motivation to be anything else?
Behavior charts don't dig deep enough.
Don't you think a red kid WANTS to be a green kid? Of course they do. So, if they could, they would. And that right there is the mindset shift...
Can't this child just get it together?!
What is keeping him/her from meeting behavioral expectations?
Now, let's take a look at Classroom Reward Systems
You know... treasure box, dojos, brag tags, token economies, punch cards, candy rewards, ticket systems, marble jars, brownie points or compliment parties. The ideas coming out of this realm of Pinterest are crazy big (and quite creative).
Truth bomb in 3,2,1... you don't need any of that shit.
Excuse the language, but you don't and here is why...
- As adults, we don't get rewards every time we do something we were already expected to do. Reward systems teach children that good behavior gets a treat. By providing rewards for already expected behaviors we are taking away the intrinsic motivation to do something good (you know, doing good because it feels right inside) and training children that when we do something good, we should get something.
- When we reward whole class behaviors (like marble jars, compliment parties and so on..) we create a sense of animosity between students (which is the opposite of community). Think about it...
If I went into a staff meeting and my director said, "If you all can be quiet during this meeting, I will cater in lunch tomorrow." I’d think, hmmm.. sounds pretty good. I can keep my mouth shut for quite a while.
But…. I know someone on staff who can’t. So, one of two things is going to happen. Basically I'm going to give up before I even start because--- that teacher over there, Susan, she can't keep her mouth shut for more than five minutes. OR Number two, I'm going to give the stink-eye to anyone and everyone who even lets out a whisper. And I'm going to grow super frustrated with Susan until I snap and yell, "Will you just shut it woman!" And either way my colleagues and I are going to kiss that reward goodbye. Just think of all the damage in relationships I’d have for all those stink eyes I gave out.......
But, then I think about Susan, I mean poor Susan, she can’t stop talking. No one taught her. And she'll know she's to blame for the whole staff having to eat leftovers. People will be irritated with her and she will leave that meeting with less self-esteem than she came in with.
Class rewards divide a classroom. Using peers to pressure children into behaving isn’t cool.
Susan needed to be taught. Just like the children in our classroom.
- When we reward individual behavior on a regular basis, we are not only teaching the child that you get something if you do what is expected, we are also creating a dependence on others to do the right thing. Will the behaviors continue to be positive in nature if the rewards stopped? If someone was not there to watch for the behavior and then reward it, would the child still behave in the way they were expected to? Probably not. So, in that case... we just made good behavior dependent on us.
You see, it’s my firm belief that you don’t need all that stuff. Let it go Elsa… because it was never going to work anyway.
Stop keeping track of behavior sheets, punch cards and marble jars. And for pete’s sake stop filling up that treasure box!!! If you do, you will have a weight lifted off of you- I promise!
SOOOOO, what should you do instead?
What you need is simple…. relationships, a little detective work, structure & teaching (and of course a mindset shift)
Because ALL behavior is a form of communication
It's all in our mindset... it's all in our approach...
Do you look for missing skills or do you use traditional methods?
Do you put on your detective hat and look deeper at behaviors?
HOLD UP-- you might be thinking... another hat?! Geez... I just want them to behave so that I can teach them.
Mindset shift time again - Children need us to teach them EVERYTHING - it's part of our job.
And... here's another truth bomb coming...3...2...1...
It takes just as much energy to get angry and punish as it does to teach a child a different way.
Okay... the truth bombs are over (for now).
Are you ready to try a different way?
Let's walk through it together.
Day 2 is all about STRUCTURE - things you can prep before the school year even starts!
Don't miss a beat!
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