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Making, Teaching & Enforcing Class Rules in Preschool

written by: Keren Perles•edited by: Elizabeth Wistrom•updated: 9/30/2012

Have you spent hours trying to figure out what your class rules should be, how to teach them, and how to implement them? Wrack your brains no further. This article will walk you through the process of creating rules your preschoolers can follow, from beginning to end.

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    Keep it Simple

    When creating rules for preschoolers, make sure to keep the rules as simple as possible. Some teachers may use three simple-to-remember words or phrases, such as “Be safe. Be nice. Be a good learner.” Or, alternatively, “Walk, talk, and listen nicely.”

    Other teachers prefer to encourage their students to come up with rules on their own. This process may work, but the teacher must always have veto power and the ability to add forgotten rules. You should also make sure that their list of rules doesn’t become too long and unwieldy by combining similar rules.

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    Help Students Remember the Rules

    Class rules can be difficult for students to remember, so use creative and fun ways to help your students remember them.

    Definitely paste a colorful poster on the wall, and make sure that each rule has a picture next to it that students can understand. For example, next to the main words in “Walk, talk, and listen nicely,” you might draw pictures of a foot, a mouth, and an ear.

    You can also write each rule at the top of a large piece of butcher paper and have your students draw pictures of the rule beneath it.

    For the more auditory learners in your class, try teaching rules as a chant or a song. You can use the tune of a well-known kids song or create a tune yourself. Just keep it simple and sing it often so that your students will remember it!

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    When a Preschooler Breaks a Rule

    When you teach students about the rules you have established for your classroom, make sure that they understand that the rules are there to keep them safe, and to help them all learn together.

    Explain exactly what will happen if a student breaks a rule -- whether the consequence is a time out or another discipline technique. Also make sure to mention the importance of an apology and when it is in order.

    If you’d like, incorporate these consequences into your list of rules and your song or chant. Then, when a student breaks a rule, calmly remind them about the consequence and implement it.