Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Kudos for Kiddos

Today I thought that I would share something that I do everyday in my classroom and absolutely love.  At school, I often run in to the problem (since I work 7-3:30) that I do not see parents pick up their children and so I am not able to tell them about their day.  I think it is very important, (specifically to the parents), that they get to feel asthough they are part of their childs day, even when they obviously aren't there for it.  My solution to this problem was something I like to call kudos.  

It's nothing fancy, just a sheet of loose leaf paper glued to a piece of construction paper. This is stuck to the wall with sticky tack so that it can easily be removed to write on, and then put back up. On the top, I write the child's name.  Everyday (that they child is there) I write the date and write something that this child did that was great that day.  It's not always something complicated- "Susan held the door for Miss Elizabeth," "Sarah really got into dancing today," "Tom had fun experimenting in the science center today," "Benny figured out how to use the art materials in a really creative way."  Sometimes I read what I write to them, sometimes I don't.  The purpose of this is two things.  First, it is for the parents, to let them know some part of their child's day; four year olds, like all children (after they have had lunch, nap and snack between the bulk of their day and being picked up), are not bubbling over with events that happened 3 and a half hours prior.  Second, the children get recognition for things that they do that are outstanding from their parents.  I want to make it clear that it is not really that children need to be recognized for things that they do that are great like "being creative with magnets;"  they know for themselves that it is great; However, it is a chance for them to have a dialogue with their parents about school and to have positive associations with their school day. I do not say things like "Joe made a beautiful picture today."  The definition of their projects and art is up to them. Rather, I try to highlight things like hard work, creativity, fun, joy, interest, experimentation, wonder, exploration, kindness, and consideration. 
(On a side note:) I have found this also helpful when, for some reason, you have to speak to a parent about a problem or concern in reference to their child.  To use a business term, this helps you build a kind of rapport with parents and more importantly a working, friendly relationship; This way, when you have to talk about something negative with  parents, they don't feel as though you do not acknowledge or notice all aspects of their child, the positive and negative.  The parents don't feel attacked, and can feel secure that you know their child and are interested in what is best for their child. 


1 comment:

  1. We love the kudos! And I meant to add that the texture you mentioned in the project the other day really was unusual -- squishy, yet firm. Very cool.