Advice from a Kindergarten Teacher

We had the amazing opportunity to interview a bunch of passionate educators in our field. The following series, we share their advice to help best manage a classroom and address bullying. Please welcome Ms. Delaney!

What is your background and current position?  
My degree is Early Childhood Education from the University of Dayton; I then hold a certificate from the University of Notre Dame: English as a New Language Program. I taught Pre-Kindergarten for five years, and this is my third year teaching Kindergarten.

What are some ways you identify bullying?
As a Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten teacher I do not label behavior in my classroom as bullying. I believe at this young age the students do not seek out to hurt someone with their words or actions. With that being said, I do like to make my students aware that our words and actions effect the people around us. I hope that when my students leave my classroom they are self-aware individuals.

What are some ways you address bullying in your classroom or daily work?
When starting a new year with new students, I always express to them that my number one rule is kindness. When I see an unkind situation in the classroom, I address it right away. I talk to the student one on one about their words or actions, we talk about how that made the other student feel. I then pull in the other student so that a discussion can happen, and an apology can take place. During the discussion, I have the hurt student express how the words or actions made he or she feel.   

How do you prevent bullying?
In the beginning of the year the students make their own rules for the classroom. They think about how they want to be treated in the classroom, how they want to feel safe in the classroom, and how they want to be a friend in the classroom. We talk about these rules often, and we remind each other of the rules.

What are some activities you use to teach kids about bullying?
In the classroom, we do many activities to build each other up, it is encouraged that students help each other when they are having a difficult time with an assignment. The students complement each other’s work, and I refer to our classroom as a unit – we are one class that works better together than apart.

How do you address the victim/bully/bystanders differently?
As I said before, I do not believe that my kindergarten students have the intent to hurt someone in classroom, I do believe that they may not fully understand the effect that words or actions can have on a person. It is my goal to inform my students that they are able to effect people, and we want to effect people positively. For the person who has been hurt, I believe having a discussion with the person that hurt them is the best way to mend the hurt. For bystanders, we talk a great deal about being the best person we can be in kindergarten. We talk about the importance of being a “do-er”, if they see an unkind action or words, they should talk to the person about why it is hurtful and how they can be kind.

What are some ways you teach kids about social boldness?
Social boldness and how we should act with our friends is in our daily conversation. Everything in the classroom surrounds being kind and being helpful. In order to encourage this behavior, I have a marble jar in my classroom, every time I see a kind act or helpful act (without prompts), the students get a marble in the jar. When the students have filled up the jar, they get to vote on the party of their choice!

A big thanks to Ms. Delaney for her devotion to teaching kindness and connection at such a young and critical age. We applaud her for her dedication to teaching and strong strategies to build Kind Compassionate Leaders of tomorrow. 

Until Next Time…

Bulldog Team