Resource 3: Asking children to agree rules
Background information / subject knowledge for teacher
I would like to share some stories that happened in my classroom. In the first few days of school, one of our activities is to get together and talk about the classroom and playground rules. In the beginning, I told the children the rules and we talked about them. I wondered if they are too small (4–5 years old), to come up with the rules but last year I decided to let them generate the rules. To my surprise, it went OK, and my children were even stricter than me, and generated more rules. My class really enjoyed this activity and they follow the rules they have generated themselves voluntarily.
Using the children’s misbehaviour/mistakes to teach them how to behave well is a good theory. When a child misbehaves in our classroom or during outdoor activities I frequently try to make use of the opportunity to talk about it with the children during class meeting later that day. We talk about what happened and I ask the children to find a solution, not a punishment for the problem. It’s true that sometimes my children do suggest silly ideas, but gradually, more often than not, my kids find a good solution to the conflict.
As expected, it takes time and persistence from the teacher, especially with little ones, to show the way and make the kids understand that they have the power to decide how to solve conflict on their own peacefully, but it is extremely rewarding in the end.