Now that I’m a new member of the school mum’s club, I am privy to various methods used to convince our children to behave. I’m sure that managing 30 4-5 year old is not an easy feat so I wasn’t entirely surprised when W (4) ran to me after his second morning of school shouting “We did rules today, Mummy!”.
It’s not so long ago that I don’t remember the various school rules and sanctions imposed for breaking them from secondary school, but I don’t really remember anything from primary school. I think at that age, the mere thought of being reprimanded for even the smallest toe out of line, was enough to keep me in check.
I suppose it’s a sign of the times that various incentives and behaviour systems are being applied in an effort to not only encourage good behaviour but also as a classroom management tool. W’s school is employing a red card, green card system. You start off with a green card and extremely good behaviour is rewarded a ‘superstar’ card. Anything that doesn’t meet expected behaviour standards receives a warning, after that it’s a red card and a phone call home. There was also something about marbles and when they manage to collect a certain number of marbles they can have movie and a popcorn as a class.
W has, as with everything, taken this all in his stride and is convinced that not only will he remain on a green card but also achieve a superstar card and the movie/popcorn reward seems well within his reach. However, I do wonder about the children who are a little more sensitive to the fact that their names are on display in the classroom for all to see where they sit on the behaviour chart. I know there have been various other mummy bloggers that have spoken out about traffic light systems for monitoring behaviour in the classroom, especially when during Reception years undiagnosed conditions can reveal themselves in the form of ‘bad behaviour’.
W thrives on rules and knowing how things work but B (2) this system would no doubt fill him with anxiety. I am very interested to see how W and his peers will fare under this behaviour management system and perhaps how it will change as he moves through the education system, if it is something that I can also apply at home or if it will conflict with practices I already have in place. Will it be a realistic preparation for life after school, working on the assumption that the red cards of today will dictate the path a child will take? I don’t know, while I understand the need for behaviour and classroom management, I wonder if there are more fluid approaches and methods available?