Behavior Management Strategies for Preschool Teachers

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Behavior Management Strategies for Preschool Teachers
Preschoolers thrive in a well-managed classroom (three young friends image by AGphotographer from Fotolia.com)

Behaviour management in preschool is essential for classroom harmony and productivity. If a child creates problems, his behaviour can set off a behavioural domino effect in classmates. Children become uncomfortable and can't relax enough to learn in an out-of-control classroom. Behaviour management techniques give teachers tools to help things run smoothly and ensure that learning never stops.

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Stoplight Method

The stoplight method relies on a behaviour chart consisting of three circles. A green circle is at the top, a yellow circle is in the middle and a red circle is at the bottom. Find them at teacher supply stores--or make them from three heavy paper plates. Paint each one, then glue the plates to a rectangular piece of card stock. Write the name of each preschool class member on a spring-type wooden clothespin. Place all of the clips around the green circle at the start of each school day. If a child breaks a classroom rule, her clip is moved to yellow. Yellow is the warning step before red, which results in time-out (one minute seated and quiet per year of the child's age) or another classroom consequence. Reward rule-following by moving descending clips back to green and praising children for positive changes in behaviour.

Star Chart

Buy star charts at teacher's supply stores, or make a simple grid consisting of one square for each day of the week that children attend preschool. Write each child's name at the top of their individual chart. Explain to the youngsters that star stickers will be placed on their charts each day rules are followed. Tell preschoolers the rules and expectations that will lead to receiving the daily star. Give clear examples of behaviour that will result in losing a star sticker for the day. Designate an amount of accumulated stickers children need to get a reward. When charts are filled to the reward point, let children choose new pencils or small toys from a classroom "treasure box."

Goal Board

Designate a bulletin board or other prominent section of the classroom as the goal board. Place the picture and name of of each child on the board. Beneath each name and picture, post a written sentence describing that child's weekly goal. Keep goals clear and direct. "I will be a good friend" or "I will not get a time-out" are simple preschool goals. During the week, as behaviour problems arise, remind misbehaving children of their weekly goal--helping them to see the connection between their goal, misbehavior and consequences. Reward good choices and weekly goal accomplishments by sending home an "I Did It" certificate. Create new goals each week or continue working on goals that are not yet met.

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