Prevention over Intervention is a go to mantra for work with children who have explosive responses to change and stress.
Create a routine that meets their needs for rest, water, food and stimulation (physical and mental). This looks different for every child. Have a routine discipline strategy that you utilize when you need to pull the adult card and train the little ones to be decent human beings. (I train parents and teachers to use 123 Magic. It is not really magic, but can work like magic for many kiddos! If you are interested you can attend one of our free workshops.) Schools often implement school wide discipline strategy. Working together with parents to teach them what is working in the classroom can do wonders for the consistency in your kids’ lives.
We are jumping in with Katie at the end of our interview to ask her about prevention in her classroom! Check out her rockstar, experienced responses.
Emily: Awesome. Okay, so last things last… um. So basically, how do you reward them finding their calmness, slash set them up for success. I’ve heard you mention different things that are already set up in your classroom, but if you want to elaborate on any of that specifically…
Katie: So I would say KIPP is really great at that. We have a school culture plan that is typed and everyone is normed on. So there are procedures and routines that are in place and they are the same in each classroom: How we stand up, how we line up, how we get materials. And that is different from any place that I have been before. They are set up for success because they know what to expect and they know what is expected of them. And when they are not meeting those expectations it is a clear and consistent “you will lose dojo points” . Everyone has dojo, period the end. For some kids that is a trigger, that’s a hard thing. And my discussion after that is “do you know what a dojo is for? It is reminder. It is not a consequence. We use the points to measure our consequences and rewards. It is a reminder in the moment that we have been warned and we need to make it right.” I will say, “you can earn it back if I see you sitting this way“, or “you can earn it back if I see you doing this”. I’ll say, “thank you, so-and-so, you earned it back.”
Emily: And the dojo is visual and auditory or just auditory?
Katie: It is both. If I am using my screen then they cannot see their name, but if they hear their name then they know it is for them. Some classes have chosen to turn off the sound because they find it is a trigger. I like the sound because it helps get their attention. When no one is doing what they are supposed to do and they hear a point come off they all look. Or if they hear a reward sound they look around to see what they should be doing. I like it because it is helpful and it is good communication with the parents, too. The parents can see what has happened. But, um yeah so that’s how I typically reward them for calming themselves down and I will let them know if you fix it or do this.. I will give your point back. Also when I send them to chillville a lot of times they will have a timer, or I will say when you are ready you can come back.
Emily: Well, thank you! You have so much experience. That is something we talk about a lot. In order to have regulation, you have to have a normal, a structure or a routine to fall back on and a discipline strategy they can depend on.
This concludes our interview with Katie- what a resource she has been! KIPP is so lucky to have her and she LOVES her job at KIPP.