Guidelines for Classroom Management

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One of the things that can really discourage children’s ministry volunteers is a poorly managed classroom… not simply having a poorly organized structure, but also poor expectations for student behavior and undefined consequences. That is why I have so appreciated these guidelines from Pastor David and Sally Michael.

PREVENTIVE DISCIPLINE:

  1. Pray before entering the room.
  2. Establish your authority.
  3. Create a calm, quiet, ordered atmosphere.
  4. Be prepared and organized.
  5. Anticipate problems before they arise.
  6. Let children know your expectations—establish rules.
  7. Make your rules consistent.
  8. Enforce rules (don’t ignore infractions); follow through on the instructions you give.
  9. Let children know the consequences of misbehavior.
  10. Be as lenient in your rules as you can.
  11. Affirm positive behavior.
  12. Let children make choices when possible.
  13. Make activities interesting and fun.
  14. Move quickly from one activity to the next.
  15. Make sure activities and expectations are appropriate for the age level.
  16. Give warnings before activity changes (especially with preschoolers).
  17. Arrange your room to prevent problems.
  18. Separate bad combinations of children.
  19. Make troublemakers into helpers—keep them busy.
  20. Ignore attention-getting behavior (unless it is harmful or distracting to others).
  21. Be actively involved with the children—not talking with other adults, or doing your preparation.
  22. Know your children.
  23. Make children feel safe—let them know you will protect their rights.

CORRECTIVE DISCIPLINE:

  1.  Redirect behavior.
  2. Let the child experience the natural consequences of his/her misbehavior when possible.
  3. Take action! Don’t lecture or just threaten to take action, for example:
    •  The child loses a privilege.
    •  The child is isolated for a time.
    •  The child is asked to make restitution.
  4. Analyze causes for misbehavior.
  5. Pray!

Also, if your church hasn’t already done so, consider developing some type of written church-wide, leadership–approved “behavioral expectations and discipline policy” to clearly spell out the specifics of what kinds of behavior is expected in the classroom setting and what forms of discipline are acceptable.

(Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.)

Written by Jill Nelson

Jill Nelson

Jill Nelson is a wife, mother, grandmother, teacher and author. She has taught Sunday School for over 20 years and writes God-centered curriculum for Children Desiring God.

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