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Classroom Management in Preschool Series -Day 3

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Welcome back! It's Day 3 of the Classroom Management in Preschool Series!

If you missed Day 1 of the Classroom Management in Preschool Series, catch it at the link!  On Day 1 we discussed why behavior charts don't work and why rewards don't work either. We did some mindset work around students behaviors and learned that what to do instead of chart and rewards came down to 4 major categories: 

  1.  Becoming a Behavior Detective
  2.  Setting Up Students For Success
  3.  Teaching Skills
  4. Building Relationships

Missed Day 2?  It was all about Setting Students up for SUCCESS - even before the school year starts!

Today is all about Building Relationships!

Building Positive Relationships in the Preschool Classroom

Because they matter more than you might think.

"No significant learning can occur without a significant relationship" -Dr. James Comer
Why are relationships so significant?  Let's bring it back to Maslow...
When looking as Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs students need all the things, from the bottom up to be able to reach one's full potential.
Here are where relationships come in:

Emotional and Physical Safety

Students need to feel safe at school. Not only in the environment, but also with their teacher or aids. They need to feel that you are there for them and that you will help them while their caregiver is away.   Routines can help children feel safe because it helps them know what is happening.


Friends, role-models, relationships, family

Students need to feel like they belong at school. That they are part of a classroom family. Students need opportunities to create peer relationships and develop friendships. Students need to feel that they are cared for by their teachers.


Self esteem, confidence, achievement, respect

Students need to feel confident to explore and try new things in the classroom. This happens when they feel safe with you and the class community. Students need positive feedback from you to build confidence. This also helps grow relationships. Students need to be respected by their teacher and classroom family.


But, how do I build them?

Here are some ideas:

  • Play with students. It's the easiest, most effective way to build relationships with young children - because play is their language.
  • Make sure to learn each child's sibling names, parent names and one thing they LOVE (try sending home a parent questionnaire at the beginning of the year).
  • OBSERVE. You can learn really quick what a child is interested in by just watching what they choose to play with.
  • Be present. When a child comes to you, pay attention. What may seem small to you is huge in their world.
  • Have conversations of likes/dislikes during lunch.
  • TELL them what you love about them.
  • Treat them with respect. Remember that they are only 4 and 5 --- be SILLY!

Now some tips about building relationships...

  • Don't expect children to answer you when you ask questions. I know this can be seen as disrespectful, but remember you are building a relationship and being respectful to the way a child handles stress is important for the relationship to be positive.
  • Some relationships are super easy to build - others take a LONG time. Be patient, but keep at it.
  • Like all relationships, some might need to be re-visited throughout the year. Noticing some misbehavior that might look like attention seeking? Probably because it is. They just want your love.
  • Doing the hard relationship work up front will pay off BIG time during the year.

HOW does this tie into behavior management?

Having strong relationships with students allows them to trust us.

They know we have their backs.... and when they have that positive relationship with us, they don't want to let us down.

It goes back to that doing the right thing because it feels right inside - not wanting to disappoint or hurt the ones we care for feels right inside.

Building a Positive Classroom Community in Preschool

We can do this by....

  • giving students shared responsibility
  • having class gatherings
  • using kind language
  • having shared experiences


Taking care of a shared space with Classroom Jobs or Helpers.

Classroom Jobs help children feel like they are apart of the classroom community by providing them with a way that they can contribute.


Coming together in a shared space with Circle Time or Class Meetings.

Having a meeting time where students can gather and share is important to building a class community. Circle time or class meetings can be held (keep it short). Try having students greet each other at the beginning of the meeting.


Because what we say matters.

Making a routine to share kind words about students helps build a class community built on kind language. Try a compliment or kindness chart. Encourage children to wish each other well or to have a good day during meeting time. Model how to compliment and share how you feel.


Creating memories together.  Here are some ideas for shared experiences:

  • Share kid jokes while eating lunch together.
  • Make a class book or class collage together.
  • Work on an art mural as a class.
  • Go on an outing as a class.
  • Vote and choose a class pet & the pet's name.
  • Have a special event or party as a class.
  • Do a service project together.

The ideas are endless!

Day 4 is coming and it's all about Setting Students Up for Success when they Arrive in your Classroom!

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