7 Rules In Kindergarten

We made it to the first two weeks of Kindergarten class. My son had been very excited about school, meeting his new and old classmates, of learning new things and of car pooling with other kids in our subdivision. He was so into it that he would even wake up his mom to tell her that it’s time for him to take a shower and prepare for school.

Yesterday, we had our first parents meeting. The teacher was really warm and understanding about our kid’s concerns in her class. She was very thorough in her discussions that ranges from the daily schedule, homework and attendance. The one that striked me the most was the topic on discipline. Our son can get overly excited and active in a lot of things. Last year, during the first few weeks of his Pre-K, my wife and I had a temporary episode of stress due to his teacher’s remark on his behaviour.

A Fortress made of reading cards.

I can still clearly remember how upset and embarrassed my wife was when the teacher handed my son to her and told her, ” your son has issues.” In her mind she told herself, ” what issues?” There was no way to discuss what it was all about in front of the other parents. We had so many questions that weekend that left us feeling helpless.

To end our fears and undue anxiety, we scheduled the earliest parents conference that we could get. It turned out that the teacher is working closely with our son and that she understood the adjustments he’s going through. She also raised an only child. We felt a sudden relief. It was a simple case of misunderstanding. We did follow her recommended advises by heart. Everyday we would go over with our son the school rules and their consequences. We also made it a point to let him know that we love him and care about his well-being. That we want him to grow up respecting the rules and the people around him.

A rocket ready to blast off.

My son learned about the planets and the solar system in school. The next day, the solar system found its way on my patio door.

In the end, our persistence and consistency paid off. Our son improved tremendously. He attended an 18 day Summer class this year and not a single “bad day” remark on his conduct sheet. We were so proud and happy for him. He always gets a compliment, a hug, a kiss and a special treat when he finishes a 7 day of straight “good days.” His teacher said that he is such a joy to be with and that his classmates are fond of him.

The 7 golden rules are the following:

1. Listen when others are talking.

2. Follow directions.

3. Work quietly and do not disturb others.

4. Show respect for school and personal property.

5. Keep hands, feet and objects to self.

6. Work and play in a safe manner.

7. No running in the hallway.

Math seems like a breeze for my son but reading needs more tutoring. I enjoy his enthusiasm to learn. Every night, he picks up a story book and say, “Dad, time to read me a book before I go to sleep.” Love for reading starts at home. My son lights up every time I tell him we are going to his favorite library. Same excitement when I tell him we are going to Lego Store.

These rules are a challenge when you’re talking about 22-23 active kids cramped inside a small class room.

You might be asking, ” how in the world is she going to manage all of them?” Well, each teacher has her own effective way to make sure that the kids follow the rules and still got to enjoy their school experiences.

One effective  tool is “stamp in the folder.” Each child is given four cards of various colors inside a paper holder. For each rule that gets broken, the student pulls out a card. Each card that is pulled out has a corresponding consequence.

Consequences:

1.  A pulled out green card means no stamp in the folder at the end of the day.

2. A pulled out orange card means 5 minutes time-out.

3. A pulled out blue card means 10 minutes time-out.

4. A pulled out yellow card means a phone call to the parents. Now, this one I dread the most. It’s one consequence that motivates me to work religiously with my son even if it  involves a lot of time and energy.

A sailboat made of recycled paper.

At the end of the day, the kids get an inspiring praise and compliment as well as a “happy face” stamp to tell them that they were so behaved that day. On the seventh consecutive “good day,” the student gets to go to the treasure chest and picks his surprise present or reward. This is one incentive my son looks forward each week. Every time I pick up my son after school, he hurriedly pulls out his precious treasure inside his back pack and tells me excitedly, “Look dad, a toy for my good days.” One time, he was jumping with joy because he got a Bakugan toy which he was trying to collect. My heart melts every time I see him this happy. Who wouldn’t be?

A scene from his graduation play, ” The Three Little Pigs.” It teaches our little one’s the “bad wolf” in this world. At the end of the play, emphasis is given to “Don’t talk to strangers” and other pointers to avoid “bad wolves” out there. A less scary way for kids to understand the “reality” around them.

Kindergarten is just the beginning of the most amazing adventures and journey we will make with our children. Cherish, celebrate and always treasure each and every moment.

As much as Pre-K and Kindergarten is about learning, of play and interaction with peers, it is also about molding our children to be responsible and respectful citizens that cares about others. A lesson in life that will prove invaluable when our kids grow up.

Some “good days” we celebrate by making a homemade cake. This one we decorated with a cut out drawing of our family that my son made including his imaginary dog.

What is your ” Kindergarten story?” How was your back to school experience this year?

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About Island Traveler

A devoted husband and father who tries to make a positive difference in the lives of his family and friends. A person who finds inspiration and strength on those he loves and who loved him in all aspects of his life.
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41 Responses to 7 Rules In Kindergarten

  1. Jenny says:

    This is a great post and story of the first days of school. I love all your photos especailly the cake, sailboat and solar system. Those are things my Kindergartener, Charlie, would create. Charlie’s classroom is smaller in numbers and the teacher has similar methods for rewards. It must work if two teachers are doing the same things in two different parts of the country.

    • Thank you. It does work. My son has improved a lot and he always look forward to get a perfect good days. He got his first “happy face” stamp yesterday. He so proud and happy to get it each time. He loves going to school and he’s even so eager to do his assignment. Now I can relax and just enjoy my son’s journey in Kindergarten. It’s nice to know that there’s another parent somewhere who shares a similar story. Hope that Charlie is a having a blast in his Kindergarten class.

  2. wolke205 says:

    Great post! This card thing is a pretty good idea I should try the same with my 3 nieces lol I dont have any children yet, but I remember the first day in Kindergarten of my oldest niece. Her mom was pretty worried about her (she s shy & sensitive) so she went back earlier. Emily saw her & tried to hide in small pool while saying “I m not here mom, come back later!”…. She almost started to cry cause she first thought she was a bad mom lol But Emily had sooo much fun there, that she didn’t wanted to go home (:

    • I enjoyed reading your niece story.I remember my son’s first few days in his mother’s day out class. He actually cried and I saw my wife getting teary eyed too. It’s normal for them to be a bit scared of a new environment but once they get used to it, they don’ t even want to live because they are having so much fun. The “happy face stamp- pull a card-grab a surprise gift inside a treasure chest” combination works coupled with the time out as part of the consequence. My son as well as his friends are living proof of its success. thanks for sharing. Stay blessed and have a great day.

  3. misswhiplash says:

    Such a lot to learn for a little fella, but I am sure that with your help he will make it.
    a great post showing how such simple things can mean so much to small children.
    Thank you for the pleasure of reading it

    • Your welcome. Yes, there’s so much to assimilate for my little boy but he’s like a sponge that basically just absorbs everything. I think all kids are. I admire his zest for learning. Sometimes he gets cranky after a long day at school but he’s drive to do more persists. Each day I spent with him reminds me of my school boy days. It’s a beautiful, rare and priceless experience. Have a great day. Thanks for the sharing.

    • I admire kids for their appreciation for simple things. They are easy to please. On labor day, my son made a bridge made of marshmallows and toothpicks. He was so proud and happy of his creation. I was too. Thanks for the visit/comment.

  4. Louise says:

    Hi! Thanks for sharing! Your son reminds me so much of my first Massimo. Is yours “malikot”?

    We will be sending him of to school next week for the first time. I am happy, but there is a little pull in my heart too.

    Cheers,
    Louise

    • Yes, when I read your posts about your son Massimo, he does reminds me a lot of my son. My son is very active. I thought I’m hyperactive but he beats me in this category. But just like your son, he’s very loving which melts our hearts each time. I sometimes feel bad because I could see the excitement and spark in his eyes every time he see the other kids playing and I know that he wants to join them too. He’s very sociable that’s why he looks forward to go to school each day. He had great memories during his last Summer class. He played the role of one of the three little pigs. It was hilarious. Thanks for sharing. Best wishes to you and your family.

  5. What a wonderful post, you have a great little boy and his art work is awesome. Sounds like he has a good teacher!

    Oh and I especially like the picture of the cake with the family and maybe one day he will have a real dog although the imaginary ones are usually better behaved ;)

    • That’s right , the imaginary ones are easy to manage but it would be nice to have a cute little puppy running around the house. My son would be so thrilled. My son already got 2 happy face stamps. I’m so happy for him. His assignment today is to count the number of stairs and draw his teacher. I guess she inspires him because the drawing looked really pretty. My son loves art. He enjoys creating things out of scratch. He reminds me of how it was when I was a kid. I’m grateful each day for those sweet moments. Life is truly beautiful. Best wishes to you and your family. Thanks for sharing.

  6. ElizOF says:

    You bring back memories of my kids in pre-K school days, and the many challenges kids go through trying to adjust and learn new rules in the classroom… I wish the teacher hadn’t blurted out ‘issues” in front of other parents; that was not a good thing for her to do….
    Anyway, it worked out and your son is happy… that is the most important thing that matters to us as parents; that our kids are happy and adjusting to a new setting.
    Keep up the good work you do with your son. and thank you for sharing these memories. :-)

    • “the most important thing that matters to us as parents; that our kids are happy and adjusting to a new to a new setting.” So true. As a parent , I now realize how much my parents had to give up or spend so we their children will have a happy and comfortable life. We would do anything for them. But it’s also important to raise them right and equip them with the right virtues and morals in life so when they grow up, they are ready to face the World and make a positive contribution of their own. I still have a long way to go and It’s a learning each time. I’m always appreciative of parents, such as yourself when they talk with so much love and enthusiasm about their children. Wishing you and your family all the sweet blessings in life. Thanks for sharing.

  7. MOL says:

    This is so refreshing to read. My husband and I raised an only child too, not by choice. People used to ask us if we think she’s spoiled. We always reflected on the matter and came to the same conclusion: If spoiling a child means that she has our undivided attention, because she is “unica hija,” then yes, she’s spoiled that way. But spoiled as in she got away with disrespecting other people, indulging in candy, toys, late nights, buying the most frivolous things because “everyone else has it and we can afford it, and other “hooliganisms” that would give her the wrong impression that the there is no order in life and everything is up to her whims and fancies, then it’s NO!
    Ours graduated last June. She’s working now, after traveling for two months across the world. We hope that we have instilled in her a strong moral compass, a great work ethic, and a sense of self that is not corruptible, not by anything or anyone. And yes, she sure knows how to have fun at the same time.

    • Thank you for sharing such a beautiful story about your daughter. You and your husband are great parents and I’m inspired by how you raised up such a wonderful daughter. We do need to give our undivided attention to our kids regardless if we have 1 or 6 kids. Each child needs all the love and guidance from us parents. And you’re right, there’s a huge difference between giving undivided attention as compared to raising a ” bratty” kid who gets away with everything. Parenthood is not easy. My parents and my in-laws are my role models but each parent has some invaluable experiences that we can all use. I just learned a few from you today. Thank you. God bless you and your family. I wish your daughter the best.

  8. So glad it’s going well! They do learn fast, faster than we can imagine what the rules are. It sounds like you are reinforcing them well. If only all teachers could know on the first day you are among the best parents out there…it takes time to get to know one another. Like the tide from Galveston ebbs and flows, the personalities and class make up are giving and taking. Remember this…form, storm, norm, perform…these are the stages of establishing an excellent team. A storm is natural, it will happen…but soon things go to norm and possibly perform.

    • “A storm is natural, it will happen…but soon things go to norm and possibly perform.” Priceless words of wisdom. Thank you. I will remember that always. I value our teachers in teaching our children the important knowledge in life. What they do is not easy and now that our education budget has been cut down too, it is a challenge for them to handle more kids in such a small space. I just wish our government would give our teachers the credit and recognition that they truly deserve. This year my son has improved a lot as a student. He is so eager to learn and always excited to go to school. I’m so proud and happy for his progress. Thank you for sharing. God bless you and your family always.

  9. jameyprickett says:

    “No running in the hallway.” This has to be the all-time rule for every school. Our youngest son started kindergarten this year. He is a talker but so far he has kept a “green card.”

    • That’s good to know. Sometimes I wonder what goes on in my son’s mind or any kid’s mind for that matter when they try to keep themselves from talking or running. It must be hard. But I’m impressed by how effective the discipline methods are. I salute the devotion and patience of our teachers. Thanks for sharing . Hope your son is having a lot of fun in Kindergarten.

  10. cocomino says:

    I’m glad to hear that your son’s teacher is kind and can improve your son.
    Of course the seven rule is basic for every one.

    • Rules are vital in putting order into things. It helps our kids learn how to follow, be responsible for their actions and respect other people. And all of these starts at an early age. I’m thankful for my son’s teacher. Teachers are one of our unsung heroes. They help mold the young minds of the next generation.Thanks for the comment.

  11. thedailydish says:

    Those rules are something we all should try to live by. Although I do like running in the hallways! ;)

    • Ha, ha, ha. Me too. it’s liberating, right. I was talking to my wife this morning that I recalled also getting in trouble in grade school because I talk to much. Hmmm…now I know where my son got his talking skills! Seriously though, I think it’s cool that rules are implemented early. Thanks for sharing.

  12. 2e0mca says:

    No teacher should ever just hand a child over to a parent with a casual ” your son has issues.” remark. That is unacceptable. They should have given you a polite request to attend a private meeting to discuss your child’s education. It’s as shame that you initially had this bad experience but never forget you are not alone – all children will fall foul of school issues at one time or another! I’m pleased to see that a parent / teacher meeting did happen after and it was beneficial The vast majority of teachers form a good rapport with their classes and it won’t be long before you’ll be wondering who this child is that is so well behaved in the Teacher’s report – ‘cos they won’t be at home ;-)

    I Loved this bit at the very start… “He was so into it that he would even wake up his mom to tell her that it’s time for him to take a shower and prepare for school.” … I wish my sone was like that – I spent 10 minutes getting him out of his pit this morning :-(

    • I felt bad at first when my wife told me about the initial remark. I thought it was tactless and insensitive but after I met the teacher during our first parent meeting, I mellowed down. I’m sure it was not intentional. She was great with him after our initial meeting. Sometimes it’s easier to forgive and give second chances. I was told that she was a good teacher and may be she was in a bad mood or something. We all make mistakes. This year has been smoother as what Georgette said , first comes the form,then the storm, followed by the norm and perform. Kind of deep but makes sense. Thanks for the kind sharing my friend. Stay cool and have a great day.

  13. john tugano says:

    Good to hear that he has a great improvement in terms of his character now…Those seven rules are really Vital in honing kids discipline.Give him a constant appreciation on the good deeds he has done and continue guiding him.. Tomorrow you’ll see a better man on him.

    I can feel the enthusiasm he has now..keep that up Bro..=)

  14. I always acknowledge his accomplishments big or small. We praise him for the progress he makes in his academics as well as his conduct/behaviour. He would give us a big smile every time we say, ” good job,” or “great work!” Honestly, my heart feels like it has swelled up with happiness whenever he does a wonderful job in school. Thanks for sharing.

  15. Cheryl says:

    Mr. B. I love your ‘Kindergarten story”. I think those rules could just as easily apply to adults … what would our days be like if we all followed them? I’d even be willing to carry the 4 coloured cards and collect the stamps if it would help grown ups set better examples for our children in how ” … to be responsible and respectful citizens that cares about others”!

    • That’s right. Adults needs as much teaching about rules and respecting others. In fact, we all can learn a lot from kids. They are more obedient and catches up on instructions quickly. When I watch the news, there’s so much crimes that involves a complete disregard of others people welfare, property and even life. I wish the adult world is just as simple as that of a child. Lets cross our fingers that people will eventually change for the better. Thanks for the comment . Have a great weekend.

  16. Sabina Brave says:

    I want to be back a kid :)
    Have a great weekend :)

    • Me too. I miss those days when all we think about is play, school, Summer breaks, Christmas and toys, to dream , to hope, to run free without reservations. On second thought, we can still child-like, it may take more efforts though. Thanks.

  17. Miss Emm says:

    Those are such wonderful memories. When my daughter started school I swore that I would only keep ONE project per semester. The way I figured, was when she graduates High School, I will only have one box full of memories. She is in third grade and we are working on box number seven.

    • I figured out by the time my son graduate high school, I need to spare one room just for all the memorabilia of his entire student life. Each and every piece of school Art that he brings home is a priceless work of Art. As a father, I feel proud and happy for each achievement he makes, big or small. We are their greatest fans as were our parents when we’re a budding student ourselves. It’s always a special moment for me when another parent shares a bit of her child’s story. It feels like a personal letter from a friend. Thank you. I admire how you value your daughters school works. Box seven and counting… God bless you and your family.

  18. jhirzel88 says:

    My sister actually had to repeat kindergarden. I’m not exactly sure why though. I knew she was a great rule follower. I think she had trouble pronouncing certain words correctly. I do remember during story time one night when my mom was reading to her, she shouted, “Seaping Booty”, instead of “Sleeping Beauty”. I thought that was pretty funny! I’ll always remember that moment.

    School is never a thing to look forward to once you are in college. It seems like I do nothing but hear the instructor talk. One time, I remember being excited to go to school on that one day of the week that I had my computer class when I was in the 5th grade. I also liked chorus class too. I’m sure your son will probably be excited when he starts doing electives.

    • ” Seaping Booty.” That is funny. My son also has difficulty in saying some letters. Today he said, ” intement” instead of saying instrument. It took us a few seconds to figure what he meant. College is a different ball game. It’s more stressful, more pressure, too many lectures that we have to listen even if they sound boring. My son loves going to school. I hope his interest keeps building up as he gets older. Thanks for sharing my friend. Stay cool in your studies. It will be of priceless use one day. Your future is brighter with it.

  19. Barbara Rodgers says:

    What a wonderful thing it is when parents and teachers work together! Your son is in good hands… Your posts always bring back a flood of memories for me…

    As a mom, the “first day of kindergarten” story I still fondly remember is about one of my sons, who is 33 now. I was eagerly waiting with all the other parents for the class to come out, wondering how his first day went. When I asked, he shrugged nonchalantly and said, “Well, they didn’t teach me how to read.” Somehow he had acquired the notion that he would be taught how to read in one day! :) So he was decidedly unimpressed with the curriculum, even at five years old… He’s a voracious reader now…

    • Your son reminds me of my son. He also gets frustrated when he does not learn that quick. He gets all moody when he does not get it. He’s starting to read simple words now. I’m proud of him. He gets a hug, a kiss, and a “good job” compliment each time he does accomplish something. I love how he smiles back, just pure happiness. Thanks for sharing. I enjoyed your sharing. Best wishes to your family.

  20. nuvofelt says:

    So many new rules, it’s hard to take it all in. Discipline with love is good. I look forward to watching him grow.

  21. I do too. When I look at him and kids his age, I see hope and a bright future. Kids like him makes us look forward to what tomorrow brings. When they grow with respect for others with a big capacity to love, we know that we were able to raise them right. Thank you.

  22. The 7 golden rules are the following:

    1. Listen when others are talking.

    2. Follow directions.

    3. Work quietly and do not disturb others.

    4. Show respect for school and personal property.

    5. Keep hands, feet and objects to self.

    6. Work and play in a safe manners.

    7. No running in the hallway.
    These can be applied to adults too. It’s a matter of respecting rules. I learned all of this in K too! What lovely Photo’s too. I think God gave us each one mouth and two ears for a reason, to listen more than we talk. I do listen and observe as a natural trait of mine. I think I am like an ADHD blogger, writer and internet gale. I just cannot seem to read enough or get enough information into my head. Keep up the great posts. Jackie

    • Hi, Jackie. I think I’m an ADHD blogger too…I can’t get enough of it. When I’m not into blogging and writing, I get restless. It feels like my mind is always on the go except when I’m in deep Zzzz’s. Yes, this rules apply to all of us. A lot of adults out there can learn a lot from these kids. If they can follow these basic rules, so can we. If we don’t then It’s a shame. As for me, I need to follow rule 1-5 by heart. I need to be an example to my son so I’m trying my best to follow his golden rules as well. Stay blessed my friend. Thanks for being there…

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