An article written by Tina Barseghian in an on-line publication called Mind Shift caught my attention today. Tina wrote: Rules are important in any civilized society. Without them, chaos would ensue. Now, the rest of the article discussed teachers, students and on-line policies so it hardly applies to kindergarten readiness. But, the first 2 lines certainly do. A kindergarten classroom of 20+ kids and 1 teacher would indeed be chaos if there weren’t rules and routines. Plus, it’s very difficult to learn and even unsafe for our little ones without clear and appropriate rules. But, rules are not easy for kids. Just like other sorts of learning, rules need practice.
So how can the kitchen help when it comes to practicing? In any kitchen, there are safety rules. “No, no, no, the stove buttons are for adults, not for kids.” Or, “I know you are thirsty, but you need to ask a grown-up to get you a cup for water, not climb on the cupboard.” And the cookie rule–“We do not eat all the cookies at one time!” There are many more; of course, we do not want to sound like the kitchen witch with nothing but mean rules, so we try not to have too many and use age appropriate consequences to help kids learn.
Practicing rules at home and knowing that there are consequences for not using them help when it comes to readiness for kindergarten. Children understand that there will be rules and expect that there will be consequences. While they may be different they are not something unknown. Generally, having rules is something quite regular and ordinary. As a matter of fact, it’s also a source of security for children and they are less anxious. Has thinking about your kitchen as a classroom been a mind shift for you? Mmm, what’s your favorite cookie?
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