“Children want and need boundaries. They cannot ask questions about how far it is to go. They depend on parents to set the parameters and keep them safe. When children don’t have boundaries, they become stressed. And this is the reason why so many children are stressed: They have no real security. “, Barbara Harvey, executive Director of Parents, Teacher and Advocates.
Among the many ingredients for successful schools is a student body that is not only eager to learn but also well behaved. Children taught the difference between good and poor behaviour from an early age, bring this knowledge with them into the classroom and set themselves up for success.
Rules need to be enforced on a consistent basis throughout the school, with the support of parents and carers.
If there is not consistency between school and home it is hard for students to know who to listen to and what to do about the rules. The result of any disconnect between home and school is confusion.
Alternatively, when the expectations of home and the school are the same, a strong, clear and comforting message is given to the child – I am safe, I know what I need to do, I am cared for.
This is particularly important to those students who do not cope well with change or uncertainty. For them an alignment between home and school expectations is not only desirable it is critical.
Our teachers are very aware that they have an obligation to ensure that students meet our conduct expectations.
Most young children are by nature impulsive, and rules will need to be taught and closely monitored until they are able to make good choices. Naturally, as students mature they are capable of making intelligent choices and accepting more responsibility. This is a key process in growing into mature and responsible people. The fact is that a child armed with self-control and self-discipline has a tremendous advantage in addressing life’s challenges.
By late Primary and early Secondary School it is not unreasonable for students to:
- take responsibility for monitoring their calendar of school events and not “dump” responsibility for preparing for them on parents at the last minute
- know where they are allowed to be on campus and where and when they are restricted
- be on time and ready to work when class begins
- be responsible for the security of their possessions, uniforms etc.
- accept that violent behaviour, inappropriate language and repeated breaches of school rules come with significant consequences
In the end, we hope that we will guide our students to a point where they are developmentally capable of the self-discipline which the individual imposes upon oneself.
Our support of school rules aims to bring students an awareness of the value of self-control, orderliness and the need to cultivate a sense of responsibility for their own conduct and for the larger community of which they are a part.
What Self-Discipline Means
Just because a child is well-behaved, it doesn’t necessarily mean s/he has self-discipline. Self-disciplined students:
- Are able to forgo immediate gratification. They can make good choices regardless of how they feel.
- Can cope with uncomfortable emotions in a healthy way. They’ve learned anger management skills and are able to control impulsive behavior.
- Can respond respectfully when adults correct them and they can take responsibility for their behaviour.
- Make healthy choices for themselves based on weighing the pros and cons of their choices.
- Make good decisions in terms of work, homework, money, peer pressure and self-care.
The importance of this part of our education is shown when we see adults who have never developed self-discipline struggling to maintain employment, manage their money or make choices that injure themselves and their families.
Together we can give this gift to our students and we know that he effort is worth it!
Mr Terry Muldoon
Principal, St Columba Anglican School