On campus, we have a responsibility to ensure that we provide a predictable and safe environment for our children to be successful. Students thrive on consistency, a sense of order, and stability. In her book Positive Discipline, Jane Nelson writes, “A routine is something students can learn to count on; the routine itself becomes the ‘boss’ so teachers or students do not have to dictate what will happen.”
One of the tools we employ at Village to create and maintain a positive school climate is our trifecta of ‘Village Values’ — Model Respect, Make Good Choices and Solve Problems. These terms, taken out of context, may seem vague. But when we use them in context, they have an actionable meaning and provide us opportunities to support and encourage our students to repeat positive actions that create and maintain a positive school climate.
In the courtyard, for example, we model respect by cleaning up, we make good choices by walking, and we solve problems by keeping our voices low. As a learning community, we teach children these routines and reinforce the appropriate behaviors by offering encouragement and then modeling the expected behavior ourselves. On the rare occasion that a student doesn’t exhibit the expected behavior, we simply ask them to remind us what is expected, show us, and then we positively reinforce their successful behavior.
Our Positive School Climate and Yard Duty Teams are working to update our community’s student expectations in all common areas. In January, we will be re-teaching students the expectations at specific locations, and teams of students will be creating signage to further reinforce our school-wide expectations. Look for these signs when you are on campus and help our community maintain a consistent and predictable environment by encouraging students verbally and by modeling the expected behaviors. Establishing routines and encouraging successful participation creates a harmonious community of learners, striving to thrive.