By Krista Kerr – Pōhutukawa teacher
When discussing a child’s behaviour at school with a parent I often hear the comment “Why doesn’t my child do that at home?”–‘that’ being anything like: follow instructions, put things away when they are finished with them, or get along well with others.
The two words that I always go back to are expectation and consistency.
Our akomanga are set up to build our class cultures. For a large group of people to be together day after day, learning and getting on, there has to be some boundaries. We keep these to a minimum and they are mostly based on the respect of others. These then become the expectations that we all hold each other to. For example, when an activity is finished with, it is replaced in the correct place just as it was found before moving onto another activity. This is out of respect for others that may want to use that activity and to preserve the order of the class.
However, having expectations is only half of it – you then have to consistently hold each other to these expectations. Simple right?
Of course this is not as easy as it sounds, especially outside the bubble that is school. At kura we have a whole class full of people to uphold these behaviours; it doesn’t just come down to one or two people (especially in preschool where our four-year-old ‘police officers’ remind everyone of the ‘rules’!). We also have the luxury of time–at home one day you may have the time to follow through on the expectation that your child will tidy up their breakfast mess, but the next morning you forgo that for the sake of getting to school on time. Decide ahead of time what the consequences will be when this happens, which is then consistently applied. Perhaps it is there after school for them to tidy, perhaps they get up earlier the next morning so that they have the time needed.
However, the more you set boundaries around the behaviours that you expect and then consistently stick to these (with yourself as the role model), the quicker these expectations will become habits. Start small with realistic expectations, involving your child in these decisions if age appropriate, help to set up the forming behaviours and then build from there.
Another common question concerning consistency I get from parents is, “What can I do at home to be consistent with what my child is doing at school?”
I’m going to plug our parent education nights and fortnightly blogs here! Interact with your child’s teacher and with the school community. Give feedback on areas that you would like more information on; whether that be literacy, preparing for transitions, behaviour, Montessori philosophy… The information we share via parent evenings, blogs, newsletters is going to be more relevant to you if it is about topics that you are interested in finding out more about!
Me korero ano – let’s talk more!