Young children thrive with clear expectations and consistency from the adults in their lives. Creating a calm and inviting environment is essential to keeping your classroom running smoothly. You can do this by setting rules for your classroom that make sense to your preschoolers.
Preschoolers will be more likely to follow the rules of the classroom if they understand not only what they mean, but also why they are necessary. Have an open discussion with your preschoolers about why rules are important and what the goals of the classroom rules should be.
It is important for them to understand that rules are in place to keep everyone safe, as well as to keep the classroom in good shape. Then, you can collaborate with your preschoolers to come up with your classroom rules together. Here are a few age appropriate rules to use in a preschool classroom.
1. WALKING FEET
When preschoolers walk, rather then run, in the classroom it helps keep everyone safe. A child running in the classroom could trip and fall, or accidentally run into someone else. It is important to tell your preschoolers, “Walking feet” instead of just “No running” because young children typically think in terms of images. There is no image for “No”, so when you say, “No running”, all they hear is “running” because that is the image they see in their mind. That is why they will more then likely just keep on running if you say, “No running”.
2. INSIDE VOICES
It is natural for a preschool classroom to get a bit noisy at times. As long as that noise is because your preschoolers are engaged in meaningful play experiences and there is a lot of communication happening, that is okay.
Sometimes though, preschoolers get a bit overly excited, or upset, and tend to just get louder and louder. This is a good time to remind them to use their inside voices. When a child, or a group of children, are being overly loud, it can really disrupt the other children’s focus and ability to stay fully engaged in what they are doing. It can also be rather overstimulating for others.
3. GENTLE HANDS
The last thing you want in your classroom is for your preschoolers to be hurting each other. Again, saying what you want from your preschoolers, instead of pointing out the negative behavior, will get you much further with them. If you have a child who is being too rough with their friends, then you need to step in and remind them that they are to use gentle hands with their friends. If they are aggressive, it is important to remind them that it is your job, as the teacher, to keep everyone safe and that you will not allow them to hurt anyone.
4. CLEAN UP WHEN YOU ARE DONE
It is important for your preschoolers to play a part in taking care of the classroom. When they are finished using something, they should be responsible for taking care of it. This will give them some responsibility, and it will also have them practicing some executive functioning skills such as planning and prioritizing.
Letting your preschoolers collaborate with you to come up with the classroom rules will give them a sense of ownership, which makes them a lot more likely to follow the them. All of these rules to be used in your preschool classroom can be wrapped up into just two rules that are simple and easy to remember. The first rule, “We take care of each other”, which means that you help each other out, share, and play cooperatively. The second rule, “We take care of our things”, means cleaning up when done with something and using the materials appropriately.