In Kindergarten we discuss the "rules" of the class as the Class Promise, and idea we borrowed from Debbie Millier's Reading with Meaning. We wrote our class promise together. We discussed the things that have to happen in a family so that everyone gets along together, so the promise is in the children's words. They are the "Rules of the Jungle." When a child breaks one of the promises, he is given a warning. The next time, the child changes his white card to a yellow card. If it happens still again, a warning is given again and then finally the child adds a red card, misses a free time activity and a note is written to the parent so that the parent can discuss the issue at home. Each day the child's Home-School folder is marked if a yellow or red card is received. Most children stay on white all week and if they do, they get to go to the Treasure Box at the end of the week. Some children might need a single warning but as soon as they realize that they have broken a rule, they straighten right up.
In these early weeks, more children end up on yellow because they just forget or might not be entirely clear about an expectation. If a child is receiving reds, then there is a problem and the teachers will ask for a conference. A lack of respect for authority or hands on someone else are not tolerated because these are life skills with huge consequences. A real lack of respect for authority leads to problems with law enforcement or employment in later life. Children that can't keep their hands to themselves end up in fights and can be seen as bullies in later life. These are behaviors that we really want to turn around early because they have such huge implications later. Most kids thrive in this environment where they know the expectations and limits and they can always expect the same consistency. This environment of trust and mutual respect means that we can really concentrate on the learning. If a child continues to get red cards, there is usually a bigger problem, so the child is switched to a different behavior plan.