The Classroom Agreement
Last week I joined the Purple Room students to review their Classroom Agreement. The creation of a classroom agreement is a critical component of the adjustment process in our Pre-k program. Together with their teachers, our four year olds construct guidelines for themselves about appropriate ways to interact with their environment, and their fellow community members. Every child contributes their thoughts and ideas about kindness and safety. These contributions are compiled into a book. The guidelines serve as a way to protect the physical and emotional well being of the entire class. Lengthy discussions about WHY each of the components of the classroom agreement are important proceed the creation of the actual agreement document. Once completed, every child in the class signs the last page of the agreement and the document is placed on the bookshelf for the remainder of the school year, to be revisited, adjusted and added to whenever needed.
Providing the children with an opportunity to play a role in the discussion and creation of the rules and boundaries of the classroom promotes a higher level of investment in putting them into practice. I encourage all parents to try out this approach to setting boundaries at home. Ask your child to work with you to come up with guidelines for safety and kindness in your home. Whether this takes shape in the form of a family contract, a list of family rules, or simply a conversation, your child will likely feel respected, empowered, and motivated by the process.