Working with young children is fun but can be challenging as far as classroom management is concerned. As a preschool teacher it is important to first understand what the child is trying to convey and then manage those actions. As you will see in the list most suggestions revolve around teachers rather than children because children are in the exploration and free state. It is the teacher’s reaction to the child’s action which causes the disruptive behaviour most of the time. The key to managing a classroom is being ‘connected’ to each child. A teacher needs to spend quality
time with each child in her classroom, to build the trust and strong relationship to be able to get the best behavior out of the child. As a teacher you need to play with the child even more, if the child is misbehaving to test you! Such children require an even stronger connection.
Lets’ get started with the 10 quick tips!
1. Stay Calm always! Even if the child’s behavior rattles you, keep calm. The calmer you are, the sooner your class will return to normal. Raising your voice and showing aggressive emotions do just the opposite.
2. Teach and promote empathy: If a child in the classroom is hurt, encourage him/her to use words to tell the child who hurt them that they don’t like it when they hit, bite, push etc. Get the child who did the hurting to help you- have them get a tissue for the crying child, or some
ice, having them help to make the situation better rather than just saying sorry and running off to play.
3. Establishing essential agreements for the class: These are a set of rules that you and your children come up together in the beginning of the year. The teacher needs to put all the essential agreements on the chart and hang it on one of the classroom boards for them to see. It is the teacher’s role to keep reminding her children and herself to follow these rules with
sincerity. Some examples of essential agreements would be- We will always walk and not run, we will not push our friends etc. The essential agreements depend on the behavior issues that the class is facing. Therefore, each class might have their unique sets of agreements.
4. Brag tags: The teacher has to prepare different tags that children can brag about. It clearly states that the teacher wants children to brag about the choices they make. These brag tags should be attractive, colorful and with pictures. Good examples of Brag-tags would be- Kind to others, helped his friend, caught spending time wisely, star kid. They are similar to essential agreements in the sense; they are unique to each class. If I know a child in my class has a problem sitting at one place for more than 10 minutes, I
will have a special brag tag for him that says- Perfectly focused or worked on task, which will be given to him on the day he sits on his chair for 15 or 20 minutes or completes a particular task. The idea is to reinforce the correct desired actions even if little.
5. Non-verbal signals: The teacher and children together create non-verbal gestures for routine requirements of their classroom to minimize noise and confusion in the classroom.
6. Using soothing, calming music for classroom transitions.
7. Emotion regulation activities: A cool down box can be a part of every classroom which has materials of varied textures like stress balls, bouncing balls, wooden cubes, paints, play dough, calm down jars, putty, stuffed cushions, various fidget toys etc. The child can choose the objects from the box he wishes to spend time with when he is angry.Give children sensory Breaks: The child can choose a different sensory activity to do. Refer to images.
8. Model for the child: Children at this age love to imitate. So demonstrate good behaviors for the child to imitate. Use golden words like please, thank you, be genuine and respect the child, be positive, have fun, show care and concern, listen to them when they speak, appreciate their efforts, give constructive feedback, avoid negative labeling, be there for them always!
9. Time out: This age old classroom management strategy still works! Ask the child to take time out when his behavior is unacceptable. The child is asked to sit in the corner of a room on a chair and reflect on his actions. He is given time for reflection followed by a constructive conversation with the teacher. The teacher’s role is to ask questions and probe, and not decide
future actions for the child.
10. Take away: This classroom management strategy is largely effective with young children if used sparingly. The idea is to take away the toy, object or the game the child loves the most for a while. The child is not allowed to participate in the activity that he enjoys the most, if he disrupts the classroom. It is a negative reinforcement strategy and therefore should be used with caution. Classroom management strategies are unique to each classroom. Your understanding and connect with the children in your classroom, will help you decide which strategies work best for your class!
P.S: You will need to research and experiment various strategies in your homeroom as you realize that a strategy that worked perfectly in week 1 became redundant in week 6!