Kindergarten is a time of mixed emotions for both the young students and their parents, and also a time of new experiences. One of these is learning a new set of classroom-specific rules. At this age, a list of five to six rules is the most your child can easily remember. The goal of most kindergarten classroom rules is to keep the kids safe and the classroom relatively calm. You can help by talking about and reinforcing these rules with your kindergartner at home.
Kids Can Help
During the first week of school, kindergarten teachers typically talk to the students to explain basic classroom procedures, outline her expectations of the kids, and describe the types of behavior that are -- and are not -- acceptable. She might ask the students to help her come up with a list of rules for their classroom, though she will gradually steer them to come up with the rules she already has in mind. If the kids get to help create the list of rules, they may feel more invested in following them.
Teaching the Rules
Kindergarten teachers often make a production out of posting or displaying the rules, so the kids understand their importance and that they apply to everyone in the classroom. As the students' reading skills improve, the teacher can return periodically to the posted rules and ask the kids to try to pick out the words themselves. The kids will repeat the rules with the teacher often, to help them remember the rules and remain focused on following them.
Kindergartners need to learn a few very basic rules relating to safety. Just as your teach your kids not to run in the house, your child needs to learn not to run in the classroom or the hallways at school. The rule may be worded directly -- "no running in school" -- or transformed into a positive approach: "Use your walking feet inside." Other safety-related rules might include "clean up your area" and "walk when carrying scissors."
Works and Plays Well
The other primary focus of kindergarten classroom rules is appropriate ways to interact with classmates. Again, these can be phrased as a prohibition -- "don't hit your classmate" -- or as a positive instruction: "Use your words, not your hands." Learning to wait their turn to talk is hard for youngsters this age, so "don't talk while others are talking" or "raise your hand" are common rules. Paying attention to the teacher is another important skill for these young students to master, so that may be on the list of rules in some classrooms. In others, the teacher will teach the students that a simple signal, such as three sharp hand claps, means quiet down and focus on the teacher.