As part of a series of assemblies exploring Pre-Prep’s ‘Golden Rules’ for behaviour, I asked the children yesterday what I might see when visiting classrooms or joining them for playtime as an example of a child being kind. A sea of hands shot up and I was given some super examples that included, to name but a few: children sharing things, helping someone who had fallen over, letting others join in the game you are playing and smiling at someone who looks sad. The most interesting response, though, was from a child in Reception who offered his idea of ‘children being good’. This led on to us thinking about what ‘being good’ meant, as children often refer to this term but I sometimes question their real understanding of what this actually means. With the help of some of the older children we decided being ‘good’ means trying your hardest to keep all of the Golden Rules which in turn leads to us feeling happy and safe both at home and at school.
I was also reminded of a talk I attended last week at King’s Hall centred on ‘managing children’s feelings and frustrations’ delivered by Rachel Waddilove. Although much of what she shared with us was aimed at children below the age of 3, I would argue that the underlying principles of supporting your child can be applied throughout the childhood years and beyond. Firstly, ‘pick your battles’ which I would suggest applies equally in the school environment as it does at home. Secondly, and in my opinion the most important guideline of all, invest time and energy in establishing your ‘ground rules’ and apply them consistently. It’s not rocket science but if one can achieve this then it is likely the path ahead will be fairly harmonious.
Children LOVE boundaries, they make them feel safe which in turn supports their learning and development. If you were to ask any member of the Pre-Prep staff what their main goal is for the first half term in a new academic year it would be establishing routines and expectations. It should never be assumed that children just ‘know’ how to behave in a way that will help them to learn and grow. It is true that some children adapt really easily to different structures a new year group inevitably brings whilst others need to test the boundaries to check they are strong and secure. I am sure there are many adults who also fit these descriptions when they find themselves in a new environment! What matters is children are given the time and support they need to learn what we refer to as ‘good’ and we do not take for granted they automatically know and understand what this looks like in their everyday lives.