At Gardenway School Age Program, we have been implementing many aspects of Conscious Discipline©. This is a comprehensive self regulation program that integrates social-emotional learning and discipline.
One of the tools we have successfully implemented is a Job Chart for the children. It is important for these jobs to be meaningful. Every child has their picture on the job board. Each job has a corresponding picture. At the beginning of the week, we ask the children which job they might like to do. Once the job is chosen, we take it and Velcro it to their picture on the board. Some jobs are composter, pet care-taker, room and cubby checker, book tidy-er, door-holder, line-leader and caboose, tidy-up, snack announcer and helper, first-aid, and the ‘We Care’ helper. The children are always thrilled and excited to pick and carry out their new jobs.
It has been a very positive and effective way to involve the children directly in their environment. They are in charge of what their contribution to the program will be each week. Having meaningful jobs gives them a sense of duty, purpose, pride and belonging. Every day they contribute and are helpful and feel a part of our child care family.
One of the main objectives of Conscious Discipline© is to foster connections/relationships where all children are valued members.
One way that we accomplish an inclusive atmosphere is with our Greeting/Goodbye Apron. We have dressed-up a plain canvas kitchen apron with the children’s hand-prints in bright, fun colours and have attached with Velcro pictures of ways to greet and say goodbye. Some of the greetings we have are; hip-hug, thumb-kiss, high-5, pinky-hug, knuckle props, elbow-hug and patates.
When the kindergarten children depart for school, the educator wears the apron and the children choose the way they will say goodbye. In our school age room, children take turns wearing the apron and wishing each other a great day. We do this again at pick-up time. The children line-up, say goodbye to each other and are wished well at school. The children enjoy being able to choose which greeting/goodbye they would like.
The children have responded so positively to this routine, that we have now combined two or three of the greetings. Fantastic!
Classroom Accountability System
We decided to implement a safe and precise visual system so that all educators in the room can easily know exactly who is leaving the classroom and where they are.
In the Kindergarten program, each child’s name is printed on an index card and laminated. The cards are kept in small pouches that all children have access to. A girls pink pouch and a boys blue pouch per educator. When the children have asked to use the washroom or fountain, they find their name card and place it in the large clamping magnet attached to the metal doorframe. The educators can glance and see exactly who and how many children are out of the classroom. When they return, they un-clamp their name tag and return it to the pouch.
In our school age room, we have a large white board where the children place their magnetic name card upon arrival. When a group goes to the gym, library or outdoors their name is moved from the ‘room’ column of the board to the appropriate column. Parents can easily see which area their child is in when they pick up their child. School agers also have an additional small white board where they place their name when they leave the room to go to the washroom, cubby or water fountain.
Written by Christy Johnston, RECE
Gardenway School Age Program