At the start of all my preschool age classes I discuss good behaviour with my students. I ask them to think up examples they can exhibit during the session. Once we have a list, I then ask them for examples of animals who demonstrate this behaviour. Some are as follows:
- bunnies – big ears for listening.
- owls – big eyes for paying attention.
- tortoises – slow and controlled movement.
- flamingos – good at concentrating (to balance on one leg).
- giraffes – calm and quiet.
For each of the selected behaviours and animals we choose an action, such as framing your eyes with your hands like an owl or stretching up tall like a giraffe. Once we have established the behaviour standard for the day we choose an incentive activity that will be their reward for adhering to this standard.
I prefer to allow the students to choose their own examples of behaviour, animals and actions. This way, if they break the standard it is much easier to reason with them when highlighting that they are breaking their own rules and not mine.
If I notice the group getting loud or I need attention back on me, shouting ‘let me see a bunny’ or ‘where are those owl eyes?’ serves as a quick reminder of the behaviour standard without having to scold the children.
Try is with your class for an added level of fun for rule keeping and characterisation in the drama classroom! It’s also a great way to gauge the group’s own standards and highlight any problems that they’re unaware of.