Building a Classroom Community
Why build a classroom community…
Children in Cambodia want to feel loved, just like all children. Although, parents in Cambodia often work long hours to provide for their families, therefore finding the time to give their children undivided attention becomes difficult. Cambodian children might often act-out because their needs are not being met at home, of course like all children they crave attention. Building a classroom community not only increases learning but also improves behavior. Children who feel part of a classroom community are more likely to learn in school and less likely to interfere with the progress of others.
How to build a classroom community…
- Build a partnership with children’s families. Children benefit from these partnerships by learning that they are supported at home and school, inappropriate behaviors are reduced, and progress in learning democratic life skills becomes real.
- On the first day of school send home a class a letter introducing yourself. Tell children’s families about your life and what they will be doing in class. Tell them how excited you are to have them in your class.
- At the beginning of the year, have a large group discussion in which you hear the children thoughts in how they want their class to function. Then, have the children make a classroom rules poster with pictures.
- Continue having large group meetings during the year. Have your children vote on issues, discuss concerns, and plan special trips or events. Children learn to become effective, participating members in a community when they get to be active and participate!
- Have an open house night! Have a class meeting to decide how the children of your class community should present their classroom to their parents. This is an awesome chance to foster learning, presentation skills and feelings that this is truly our class.
- Have your children decide on an appropriate name for the class. Examples: Tie-die Crocodiles, Cool Coconuts, Flying Fishes etc.
- DO NOT arrange your class in rows, this isolates children and puts total focus and all attention on the teacher. Arrange your classroom desks in pods of four this promotes team-work and social development.
- Keep families up-to-date by sending home weekly or monthly newsletters. Your newsletters should include: things to do at home with your child (read stories, sings the ABC’s etc.) important dates (birthdays, holidays, etc.) and classroom learning objectives.
- Invite families to the classroom to share special traditions or experiences.
- Make the classroom the children’s space by displaying their artwork!
- Listening, observing, and knowing the interests of your children can help you find common interests.
- Classroom jobs: line leader, super star of the day, feed the pet, water plants, door closer, bathroom monitor, snack helper, etc.
- Have children practice behavioral social skills by helping, sharing and playing together.