How to set a positive culture
We can probably agree that we are best off where we feel welcome, respected and accepted as we are. That’s exactly the atmosphere that should prevail in every kindergarten.
KWhen kindergarten becomes a place where no one has to worry about being misunderstood or ridiculed, miracles happen. Children relax, open up to others and become more involved. They feel safe so they can experiment, explore and play. As a result, they make great strides in their intellectual and socio-emotional development.
How to achieve this?
We can think of three things that should not be overlooked when setting a positive culture in the nursery:
Good relationshipsGood relationships and mutual trust between the teacher and the children, as well as within the children’s team, are essential for a positive atmosphere in the classroom. Try for example:
- Greet the children arriving each morning by name.
- Communicate with children at their eye level if possible.
- Show an interest in the things children like, are interested in and do outside the walls of the nursery.
- Morning encouragement
Sit in a circle with the children in the morning. Remind everyone of what they did the day before, even if it was just a small thing.
- The tree of kindness
Draw a tree on a large piece of paper and glue pieces of Velcro to its branches. Next, cut out lots of little hearts, Velcro them back on and put them in a plastic bag. Display the tree in the classroom so that the children can reach it. Place the heart wrapper near the tree. Observe the children’s behavior during the day. If someone does something kind, send them to pin a heart on the tree. At the end of the day, count together how many hearts have appeared on the tree.
- For more ideas for kind activities, see How to develop children’s social-emotional skills in kindergarten.
Cultivate a sense of belonging and responsibility in children. Teach them to care for others and the common space. When children feel part of a team and are acknowledged, they are more likely to participate and contribute to the overall well-being of the classroom.
To feel safe, children need clear rules about how to behave in the classroom. But there is no need to overdo it with prohibitions. Rather, focus on positively articulating what you expect from children. Instead of “Don’t shout”, how about “Speak softly”? This will make children more aware of what to do. It is also true that fewer commandsequals less resistance. The big change comes when duty becomes play. Like changing clothes. Where before there was a need for constant urging, suddenly it’s all done before the song ends.
Emotions are unavoidable. In the article How to support the emotional development of young children, you will find out how to deal with them.
An inclusive approach
In inclusive education, every child matters, regardless of their gender, nationality, religion, talents or disabilities. With an individual approach and targeted support, everyone has the right to integrate into the community, feel safe, develop their potential and experience the joy of learning.
As a result, the common education of all children without distinction shows the world as it really is – diverse. Children have the opportunity to learn about other languages, cultures and traditions. Differences are not a barrier for them, but a natural part of life. Without prejudice and with an open mind, they learn respect and empathy for others.
So make the classroom a space where everyone feels welcome. Talk to children about diversity and teach them tolerance. These books will help you do that too:
- Petr Horáček: The Blue Penguin
- Markus Orths: Zebra under the bed
- Markéta Pilátová: Kiko and the Secret of the Paper Butterfly
- Books have great power. Prove it to your children with the activities in the article How to awaken a love of books in children.
Children’s behavior is influenced by their environment. We wish your classroom to be full of positive energy, goodwill, kindness, responsibility and courage.
1. 6. 2023 | Martina Zatloukalová