Learning Manners: Ideas for a Kindergarten Theme to Teach Good Manners
Morning circle time begins the day with the usual routine. The Manners Theme is introduced by making a proclamation that you read from a pre-made scroll. Announce, "Hear ye, hear ye! This week will be a week of learning manners. I hereby proclaim that anyone caught using manners, will be issued a star on his or her crown or a treasure from the treasure box. On Friday, if anyone has at least one star on their crown, the entire class will celebrate with a royal ice cream party!" This not only motivates, excites, but builds vocabulary by introducing new words and encourages the use of manners.
At story time, read selected stories that encourage social and moral development, focusing on sharing, showing kindness, empathy, taking turns and using manners. Read through this list for some great book suggestions.
If lunch time is in the classroom, teach table manners by showing the children when to be seated, how to place the napkin on their lap, to say please and thank you, to eat all of their food properly and ask to be excused.
Center time provides an opportunity for learning manners in early childhood and encourages social development. Set up the dramatic play/ home living area with "royal" dressup ideas. Include crowns, tiaras and capes for the princes and princesses. Items for the dressup area may be found at garage sales. Crowns and tiaras may be made from poster board, painted and adorned with jewels and glitter. Set the table for a banquet feast and allow the children to be servants and royal guests. The children should use table manners and to share.
Crafts & Play
The block area should have enough large blocks for the children to build a castle. This center always offers a learning process for the children in sharing, team work and problem solving.
Art is an outlet for the children to express creativity. Suggest a topic on manners the children have been learning and allow them to draw pictures with crayons. Proudly display the artwork for the kids to admire.
A treasure box should be within reach at all times and the bulletin board should be displayed with a five-point crown for each child. A star will be added to the crown each day when the child is "caught" using manners. When a child does use manners, acknowledge it immediately and reward them by placing a star on their crown or giving a treasure or a sticker. Be consistent, as each lesson is built upon the previous one.
Continue with the theme for two or three weeks, in order to help the children retain and form positive habits.