A quiet and well-behaved group of preschoolers is an extremely rare image. Children of this age are very active and loud. Often, their behaviors go out of control, especially when they are not addressed in time.
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The five behaviors I would like to have in my classroom of 5-year olds are the following:
- Sharing (because most of the fighting in preschool classes occurs due to the lack of sharing skills)
- Personal hygiene habits such as regular hand-washing (because this is the key to disease prevention)
- Careful and quiet listening when a teacher or a peer talks (because this is the key to order in the class)
- Creativity and self-expression
- Apologizing when something wrong was done (because it helps socialization, respect of others, and politeness)
Teaching these behaviors in the classroom, I would rely on the twelve steps of guiding children’s behaviors that were outlined by Morrison. Sharing is a behavior new to some children (especially those who do not have any siblings), and this is why fights and conflicts may develop among children. Teaching how to share I could use step 5 to help the children build new behaviors using my own behavior as an example (step 9) (Morrison).
To enforce and encourage the behavior in the future I would provide praise to those who follow it (step 10), and guide the children using constructive questions that will help the children to form their own correct solutions (step 1) (Morrison).
Teaching personal hygiene I would also use myself as an example to model the behavior (step 9), and position hygiene rules such as hand-washing as a responsibility (step 5) to empower children (Morrison). To strengthen the impact of step 5, I would assign a child or two who would be responsible for the hand-washing of other peers every day. Their duty would be to make sure that everyone has clean hands by reminding their peers about the behavior.
Careful and quiet listening will be encouraged through constructive questions (step 1) such as: “children, what do you do when your teacher speaks?”, “and what do you do when one of your peers speaks?” (Morrison). The individuals who break the rule and speak together with a peer will be reminded of the correct behavior (step 10) (Morrison).
Creativity and self-expression belong at the top of the hierarchy of needs formulated by Abraham Maslow as the actions fulfilling an individual’s need for self-actualization. Young children are active and naturally express themselves through play. That way, to encourage their creativity I will employ such activities are team competitions, drawing and painting, building sand castles, reenacting fairy tales, and thus, fulfill their need (step 4) (Morrison).
Apologizing is similar to sharing. It is a behavior that may be new to some of the children. The scheme according to which this behavior could be taught will be the same as that of sharing. The main difference is that apologizing is a behavior that is difficult to model for a teacher as they cannot hurt or offend one of the children on purpose and then demonstratively apologize. The behavior can be demonstrated using a fictional example –a story where one character apologizes to another. The story will serve as the set of boundaries for the future behavior (step 7) and it will also provide limits and guidance to the class (Morrison).
Morrison, S. Fundamentals of Early Childhood Education. Boston, MA: Pearson Education Company, 2015. Print.