I have been thinking a lot about discipline and wanted to ask you for suggestions. If you work with 2-6 year old’s what do you do in your classroom when a child displays “unfavorable behavior”? Hmm, even that description is so tricky isn’t it!
How about I start by telling you what I do, and for what behaviors.
We have a very simple 1 warning, and then 1 time out. For the warning I always come close to the child and calmly explain what they did and why it is not okay. I then explain that this is their warning and if the behavior happens again they will need time out. Time out is in a spot in the room where the child is slightly distanced from the other children. If the child needs time out I will ask them to come with me to the spot (they nearly always walk there independently). I crouch in front of them and calmly explain again what they did and that they are in time out for one minute. After one minute I return and again explain what they did, or ask them to tell me. They say they are sorry and give a hug to either me or the child they hurt if that is the case. They then return to their playing.
The ‘system’ is the same. Always! I feel that this really helps the children and myself. There is no judgement and I do not need to get emotional about it. It seems fair and the children seem comfortable with it.
When do we need warnings or time out? For hurting someone or something, not listening to others, behaving in an unsafe way (such as running inside – we had a head injury a while ago and I don’t want a repeat of that!).
But why do I feel I need to try something else? Well, I can’t really pinpoint why I guess, it is just that it feels so dictatorial! In all other aspects of the school I encourage the children to think independently and be responsible for their thoughts and actions. Maybe it is that they are getting older and more mature and I feel that I am starting be able to really talk with them on a different level.
Anyway, I have been reading and talking to other teachers about what works for their students. I have seen little UN meetings in classes. I have seen class rules being written. I have seen contemplation corners, chill out zones other similarly named areas for quiet time. But I can’t really decide how to proceed. How can I truly enable my students to be more responsible for their actions, whilst also maintaining peace and safety?
So, over to you. Please share what you do in your classroom, or other ideas you have heard about………