Positive behavior notes help set behavioral standards in the preschool classroom by promoting desirable behavior and help deal with challenging behavior. Using the latter consistently and adequately can help with preschool classroom management.
Achieving Desirable Behavior
Positive behavior notes for preschoolers are nothing less than written praise. They are issued to students as rewards for good behavior. These rewards are granted to students in exchange for an identified behavior deemed positive or desirable by the teacher or any other adult responsible for the care and education of preschoolers. These written notes of praise often take the form of award certificates.
Desirable behavior is a goal-driven standard toward achieving positive social behaviors and effective attitudes toward learning. The latter should be in line with the preschool classroom rules. Some examples of desirable behavior teachers might want to emphasize in their preschool classroom include:
- Lift your hand up and wait your turn to speak
- Participate in tidying up when it's "tidy up" time
- Be polite by saying "please" and "thank you"
- Listen to the teacher and do not talk over him or her, or over your peers
Be nice to each other (encompassing a wide range of unwanted behavior such as no fighting, no pushing, no kicking, etc)
- Handle materials and various equipment properly and safely etc.
Why are Positive Behavior Notes or Written Praise Important and Why should we Use Them?
Firstly, positive behavior notes are important because they help reinforce standards of behavior in the preschool classroom, such as those mentioned above. They highlight desirable and sought for behaviors, as well as its undesirable opposite, and hence contribute to children's understanding of what is expected of them. For example, rewarding children who systematically tidy up with an award, a certificate or other type of positive behavior note, is prone to encourage them continue do so, while it may also influence others start tidying up and being helpful in the hopes of receiving a similar reward.
Secondly, they are needed to shape undesirable behavior. When used effectively, they can act as one of the best behavior management strategies. When aimed at children who struggle with an undesirable behavior, "catching them good" is the key! Designing a behavior note pointing to a positive behavior the child displayed is the next step. Making it personal is recommended, as it will be more meaningful to them. Recurring bad behavior in any child is bound to change with regularly written praise.
The concrete nature of positive behavior notes, unlike verbal praise, makes it convenient to be referred to whenever appropriate. They act as a reminder for children of their abilities to be good and do well. They can also be taken home and shown to parents, who can support their child by strengthening their child's positive behavioral habits.
Ideas for Positive Behavior Notes
Some printable reward certificates are available online. Free Printable Behavior Charts.com has some excellent examples of award certificates to choose from. Some are designed in such a way that you can decide what you wish to reward a particular child for, just by adding that and their name to it. Others point to a specific positive behavioral achievement. These are good for any desirable behavioral traits you may wish to highlight.
Alternatively, you could make your own positive behavior award certificates. Although it may be time consuming, it has the advantage of being unique. Designing your own award certificates also means that you can really make these as personal as you want and hence, make them more meaningful to your target children. This may be particularly important when granting an award for behavior management purposes.
There are several websites such as kidbids.com, for example, which can help you design and make you own personalized award certificates. By following a step by step guide with simple instructions, you could be on your way designing great behavioral praise cards. These are prone to flatter your most challenging preschoolers and contribute to improving their behavior in the long run. Moreover, behavioral improvement in individual students will most likely lead to an overall positively enhanced managed classroom.
Preschool children are unlikely to be fluent readers; therefore, any positive behavior notes for preschoolers should be short and to the point, ideally illustrated with a photo or picture relevant to the positive behavior highlighted.