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Set the Rules for Your Preschool Class!

written by: Marlene Gundlach • edited by: Jonathan Wylie • updated: 9/11/2012

Being prepared is half the battle...well, it's probably more than half. Get your year off on the right foot by clearly setting your expectations for the students in your class early.

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    Creating Healthy Boundaries

    Children learn best in an environment that is free from chaos and confusion. Students will be ready to learn if they know what the classroom rules are and what the consequences are for breaking those rules. When I was hired for my first teaching job, the principal gave me an article about classroom management. It focused on fences and sheep. Just like sheep, students will push as hard and far as you let them. Where you put up the fences determines what they can get away with and how far they will push.

    Using this set of sample classroom rules for preschool, you can set up your classroom for optimal success. With a little forethought and planning, you can be ready for a successful school year.

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    Classroom Rules for Preschool

    Preschool students are new to the whole school atmosphere. Three and four-year olds are not ready for a long list of complicated rules. Four keys to establishing rules that will work are:

    • Share the rules with your students on the first day of school. In elementary school, many teachers have the class help establishkids  the rules, but preschool students may be too young for this. They may not have enough classroom experience to successfully to this.
    • Be sure the students know what the consequences are when rules are broken.
    • Post the rules in the classroom and any other rooms you use regularly. This will allow you to reference them when necessary.
    • Consistently enforce all of the established rules.

    For the rules themselves, rules for a preschool classroom need to be short and to the point. They should include the following:

    1. Be an active listener.
    2. Make good choices.
    3. Have self control.
    4. Be a good friend.

    Once you have shared these, go over each rule and talk with your class about what each one means. If cleaning up after play time is an issue, that would fall under "Make good choices". Not sharing toys could fall under "Make good choices" or "Be a good friend". These sample classroom rules for preschool children are general, yet specific too. They can be applied to may different situations that occur within the classroom environment.

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    Playground Rules for Preschool

    When your students are outside playing, you still need a set of rules to follow. Most of the classroom rules from above will also work on the playground, but you can also include the following:

    1. Do not throw things.
    2. Do not walk up the slides.
    3. Sit on the swings.
    4. Stay within the boundaries of the playground.
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    Field Trip Rules for Preschool

    Using the sample classroom rules for preschool students on page one of this article is great for the classroom, but what about when you leave the classroom? Taking a group of preschool students on a field trip can be stressful. Setting up rules for the students and chaperons will help the trip go smoothly and ensure that everyone has a fun time.

    A few rules for the preschooler:

    1. Stay with your group.bus 
    2. Always walk with a buddy.
    3. Have self control.

    Setting forth rules for the parents is also necessary. Many of these rules should go unsaid, but you know how that goes!

    1. As required by state law: You must be at least eighteen years old, hold a currently valid driver’s license for the vehicle driven, and not be under the influence of any substance which could impair driving abilities.
    2. You will be responsible for the children assigned to your care.
    3. Smoking is prohibited when attending the field trip.
    4. So that your attention will be focused on the children in your care, we ask that you not use your cell phone at any time during our field trip unless an emergency arises
    5. You are asked to have the children in your care board and exit the vehicle from the curb side of the street and out of the path of moving vehicles.
    6. You are asked to keep children in-hand while crossing streets or in parking lots and have them within reach at all times.
    7. We ask that you notify teachers of children (other than your own) needing to use the restroom so that a member of the teaching staff can accompany them.
    8. Please direct discipline problems to a teacher.
    9. Expect and require good manners, courtesy, and respect.

    It is also best practice to obtain a copy of valid car insurance from any parents who are driving. Also, running background checks on all volunteers is in the best interest of your students.

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    Why Rules are Important

    Effective classroom management is essential to a successful school year. These sample classroom rules for preschool classrooms provide a strong foundation for your students, allowing them to succeed and thrive. With the right balance, your students will be ready to learn on a daily basis.