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Time Out…

In the school, we adapt the Time Out principle of disciplining a child. This means that if a child becomes too rowdy even after several warnings, he or she will be taken out from their group and will be asked to stay in a corner for awhile.If you’re having a hard time disciplining your child, Time Out may be an effective way to get your message across. However, this technique should be done as delicately as possible. Here are some tips that I find very useful when using this kind of disciplining approach:

1. Set the rules beforehand – At the start of the school year, I use the first week as an orientation to my pupils. Each day, I tackle a handful of rules and explain carefully to them why the rules are there. Preschoolers often get bored and their attention usually just wander away, so to make these rules stick to their little heads, I use different types of fun materials such as: props, puppets, etc for my presentation. NOTE: When setting the rules, make sure that you give emphasis on the consequences (not the punishment) of their actions if they do not follow the rules. Why? Refer to # 2.

Setting the Rules

2. Involve the kids in establishing the discipline for each violation. – After explaining the consequences for the misbehavior, try asking the kids on how they think they should be disciplined if they fail to follow the rules. Some kids might give you good answers while some kids might give you bizarre ones. But nevertheless, accept all suggestions and write it in the blackboard. Giving your pupils a sense of ownership will give them a boost on decision-making and in addition it will provide a great degree of sense of responsibility for each member of the class.

During this stage, suggest the TIME OUT principle and explain to them what it means. In my class, I swayed my pupils into thinking that TIME OUT will be the ultimate punishment of all.

Involve the kids

3. Write down the final rules and post it anywhere in the room – After we have finally decided on the rules in the classroom, I write down the rules in a big sheet of Manila paper and post it in the bulletin board. Though most of my pupils still can not read, the big sheet of paper is a symbol of an agreement between me and them. If you want to give more emphasis on this agreement, let the kids write their names around the written rules. This may sound a bit trivial, but believe me, it works. Every time a child misbehaves, I just refer to the big sheet of paper and point to his/her name and just like magic, the child comes back to his senses.

4. Remember the rules and always ( and I said always) be consistent. – If a child misbehaves, remember to provide the corresponding discipline for the violation. Always remember that children never forget anything. So if they see you giving the wrong discipline or not disciplining at all, they will lose their trust on the agreement.

5. Discipline do not punish – What’s the difference between the two? Well, Discipline is actually more of guiding a child to a more positive behavior. While Punishing is putting a halt to a bad behavior by using an extreme measure. When you discipline a child, you try to explain to the child why is he being isolated from the group. After the disciplining period, you need to follow-up the discipline by guided activities that will further explain to him the consequence of his action. However, if you punish a child, you just disengage him from the scene of the crime and probably put the child in an embarrassing situation. I know this is kinda tricky. I will try to provide a separate article for this.

6. Talk to your child about his/her behaviour – When a child misbehaves, there is always a chance that someone or something triggered that kind of behavior. Before reprimanding a child, try talking to him in a calm and relaxed manner about his misbehavior. Who knows, you might be persecuting the wrong person.

7. Allow a short transition period from TIME OUT to TIME IN. – When a child comes back from a TIME OUT session, I usually give my pupil a task to complete before returning to his seat. Sometimes, I just let him arrange our bookshelf or probably just put some toys back to their proper places. This transition period is done so the child can acclimate himself again to the social set-up. If a child has offended another classmate, I let them do the task together.

Disciplining a child can be a very tricky job for teachers and parents. But, I think, if this process is executed in a calm and delicate manner, it can provide your child with a good moral blanket when he grows up.

November 5, 2007 at 7:45 am Leave a comment

What to look in choosing a preschool for your child?

Izo, one of my preparatory pupils always come to class with incomplete set of crayons and always turn in assignments with silly crayons scribblings. When I ask him what happened to his work, he would always complain to me that Paula ransacked his bag again.

Paula is Izo’s 3-year-old little sister. Like any kid her age, Paula is beginning to show interest in going to school. So what does a parent like you should do if your kid shows interest in going to a preschool? Well, then you better start scouting for a good learning center for your child.

Now, picking a preschool for your little angel should not be taken lightly. Preschool years are very critical to a child’s development so it is crucial that you put a careful eye in choosing the right school for your child.

Below, is my personal 10-point checklist for choosing a good preschool. You might find some of these things in this list kinda trivial. But believe me, it does matter.

  1. Is the school near your house? – Going to school the first time can be very scary for your child. Don’t add up to his anxiety by subjecting him to a long and tedious trip to school. A small preschool in your community may be an ideal place for your child. It gives him the feeling of being near you plus you can easily go to him in case of emergency.
  2. Does the school resembles a home? -Transitioning from a house setting to a school setting should be done gradually. If you enter the school and you feel like you are at home there, then I think you found what I’m referring to.
  3. Is the class size small? – I think this one doesn’t need any explanation at all. A small class size would mean the teacher can give more attention to her pupils and thus to your child. Class size would also give you an idea on the type of curriculum that the school has. Big class size tends to adopt the traditional method of teaching while a small class size usually uses a more flexible and individualized mode of instruction.
  4. Does the school provide initial assessment before admitting your child to school? – Though some schools give admission test as an income generating scheme, this should not be taken so lightly as well. If the school does not provide any type of assessment process, this may tell you how much they put importance your child’s level of learning. A good initial assessment may take about a day or two half days or even a week. Take advantage of this opportunity to get to know your child as well. Asking the school about their assessment process is also advisable so that you’ll know what to expect from your quarterly conference.
  5. Is the school interested in your child’s family history and likes and dislikes? – If the teacher or the school staff ask you about the child’s family history, don’t be offended. This would only mean that the school is really keen in getting to know your child and puts importance on his needs.
  6. Is the school safe and clean? – Of course, everyone wants the best for their little angels. Try to go around the classroom and observe how they manage their classrooms. Always remember to check on their comfort room, kitchen and their playrooms.
  7. Does the school have a good teaching staff? – Asking about the educational and professional experiences of the school staff is your right. The school must know that you put value on the credentials of the teachers. It is your right to know if the school staff has a strong professional experience in handling your child.
  8. Does the school have a good disciplinary method? – It is important that you understand the school’s system of disciplining pupils. The rule of thumb is: If you’re not comfortable with their process of disciplining pupils, don’t put your child in there. These things should not be overlooked for in the future it might leave some traumatic experiences in your child.
  9. Does the school allow you to observe classes prior to enrollment? – Every year, I advertise the school at least six months before the start of the school year so I could provide ample time for would-be clients to observe our class. I do this because it gives the parents an idea about our schools method of instruction and furthermore, it serves as an orientation to the parents. Ask the school if you can observe the classes during the school year. Of course, this means that you should start scouting for a school at least 6 months prior to school opening.
  10. Is the school accredited or recognized by the government? – Simple reason: Schools accredited by the government follow a certain standard to be registered. So, enrolling your child to a government-accredited school would give you the security that your child will be learning at least the minimum required competencies for his age.

November 1, 2007 at 3:54 pm Leave a comment


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