Behaviour Management: Setting Routines and Classroom Procedures

If you are a teacher in Australia, this is usually about the time you are getting back into school mode and begin to think about your new class! It's such as exciting time of year! A fresh set of new students to teach and little minds to shape :) However, it takes time to get these children into routine and to adjust to your personal teaching expectations and classroom procedures.

It is so important to establish your expectations early on in the term. Actually, from Day 1! Especially if you are teaching Grade Prep/Kindergarten/Foundation. These children have no idea what its like to be in school and NEED you to show/tell them. They will follow your lead. If you are blasé about things, your chances of creating an organised and smooth running classroom will be slim.

I have put together some tips and resources that I use when setting up classroom protocols at the beginning of the year and I hope they can be of use to you!

1. Create some classroom rules/expectations. 

The most important thing about creating classroom rules is that it MUST come from the children. You can encourage them to come up with certain rules, but ultimately, the children need to take ownership of the rules and must feel as though they created them.

Here is an example of my CLASSROOM LIBRARY RULES. My students came up with these with me and I created the poster afterwards. They NEVER forgot the rules because they were responsible for creating them and someone would always advise me if another student broke them!

If you would like a free copy of this Classroom Library Rules Poster, click on the link.

2. Use VISUALS!!!

I cannot stress how important this is in the early years. We repeat ourselves over and over again, all day, every day! Save yourself the stress (and your voice) and encourage the children to use their own initiative to find the answers themselves!

'What are we doing next Miss Jacobs?' 'When do we have Sport Miss Jacobs?' 'Do we have Library today Miss Jacobs?' AAARRRGGGHHHH It's enough to make you want to scream!
So... I created some DAILY VISUAL DISPLAY CARDS to eliminate these drainingannoying, eye rolling important questions from the kids and to give them an idea as to what was happening throughout the day. It gives them an overview of the day as soon as they walk in so they know what to expect. It also works a treat for children with Autism or special needs - children who need structure!

These are Aussie Friendly, and have been created with the Australian teacher in mind. They also come with a set of editable spares to allow you to create your own task cards to suit your classroom. I place them on my whiteboard so they are on display and in eye shot all day.
These are my original task cards, however I have since created some new rounded ones either with polka dots or bright colours.

3. Use a Prop for Assessment Time! AKA 'Do not interrupt me!'

This is me. I look ridiculous, I know, BUT... whenever I put my ladybug headband on, the children know they are not allowed to approach me. I introduced this very early on for times when I am involved in Guided Reading sessions, Reading Conferences, Running Records (or other forms of assessment). Now the kids know, whenever I have these on, it means I am busy working with another student and they will need to wait or ask someone else for assistance.

This has been a life saver! It really works!

4. Positive Reinforcement

A while ago, I blogged about my Behaviour Management System, Ticks and Traffic Lights. It encourages positive reinforcement and focuses on the good things the students have done, rather than the bad. This has worked for me for years and I introduce it on Day 1 of school every year.

You can read about it by clicking the link below.


  1. Fabulous post, Chantelle! Love (and agree with!) all of your ideas.

    Miss Galvin Learns

  2. Hello,
    Loving your posts! This is my first year teaching foundation and my school has a school wide positive behaviour support plan which is similar in that it rewards students positive behaviours opposed to giving attention to the negative/ unwanted behaviours. i wanted to know how you are introducing them on day one. I'm beginning to think i'm running out of time. I currently have 9- 9:30 students arrive and do activities i have set out around the classroom ie. puzzles, colouring, train blocks etc then I begin with the roll and a book which leads into developing our classroom rules and behaviours for within the classroom. Once we've done this we move onto how to go to the toilet at school and practice/ do that. Then before recess i realised i have to teach them how to play outside and how to line up and wait for me so I think I might do that after the toilets but i want to brainstorm/ read a book on what we do outside.. then give the students an opportunity to play and then line up etc... then recess I havent figured out what i'm doing after that but i did want them to colour in these hands i have so i can make a classroom decoration ... does this sounds alright? I'm at a really small school and am the only prep teacher. Sorry long post but i'm beginning to get nervous because these little gorgeous creatures are relying on me ... P.S apologies for the bad writing I am genuinely half asleep and this box is so small :)

    1. Hi Leena,
      Thanks for popping by!
      It sounds like you have really thought things through and you are really prepared! That's great :)
      The first day is going to go so quickly! You are right - there is so much to do and you are not going to be able to get through it all. The first day of prep/foundation is all about making the children feel comfortable and safe with you and their new environment. I wouldn't worry too much about going through EVERY rule with them, I would focus more on the things you have mentioned like lining up, morning routines (where to put your bag etc), toilet trips and finally how to behave during learning times.
      Praise and reward good behaviour on the first day - go over the top with compliments - "Wow!!! I love the way Alex has put his hand up when he needs to speak! He is showing me he is ready for school! Well Done!" or "I can see that Lisa is ready for learning - she is sitting so beautifully with her hands in her lap!"
      In terms of formal classroom rules and expectations, i would discuss with the children what they think is acceptable classroom behaviour and create a class list - together. I would do this on Day 3-4. You don't want overwhelm the children on their first day.
      Good luck with it all - you are gong to be fine though!!! - I would love to hear how you went.
      Enjoy your first year of Prep!! :)

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