The Power of Positivity
Understanding how to be mindful is a great skill to learn at any age but particularly important when you’re an active participant of a group of young learners within a school.
Research shows that children respond very effectively to repeated praise of positive behaviour and whilst this can require a great deal of patience, the results can truly change outcomes. For all students at King’s College Prep School in Al Thumama, positive behaviour reinforcement starts as soon as the children arrive at the school.
They each greet their teacher with a handshake as they start a new day and a fresh opportunity – for Pre-Prep children this means a new opportunity to ‘Reach for the Stars’!
Reaching for the Stars
Reach for the Stars is a lovely initiative where the children know that they will begin each day on the sun and the sun sits on a simple chart displayed in their classrooms. Over the day children may be moved around the chart based on their behavioural choices – they can move up to the rocket, or even a star for making excellent choices – or if their behaviour has negatively affected others during the day, they could move just below the sun to a cloud. There’s even a stormy cloud lurking if things become a real struggle.
This gradual movement allows children time to consider their behaviour and make improved or sustained choices; they know they can break away from a cloud at any time by doing something positive. This instant reward for their positive behaviour is an excellent way to engage children in positive choices and it helps to reinforce the other positive messages they hear throughout their school day.
Children who end the day on a star are added to a tally and those with the most appearances are celebrated in a special ‘Superstars’ assembly where everyone sings the King’s special ‘We’re all Superstars’ song.
King’s believe that being mindful helps train our attention to be more aware of what is actually happening, rather than worrying about what has happened or what might happen. By focusing on the here and now, we learn to bring greater curiosity to whatever it is we’re currently experiencing. In the classroom this brings enormous benefits.
Head of Pastoral Care at King’s explains:
We take pro-active steps to reinforce positive behaviour throughout the school and we see fantastic results. Our role as educators is to give all our young students every opportunity to learn and every opportunity to be a ‘superstar’. By equipping them with key inner-guidance tools from as early as Pre-School, children can move forward with confidence, knowing where to seek and use that guidance appropriately for the benefit of themselves and others.
We encourage positive behaviour in our children through many initiatives, the important thing to remember is to talk to each other, to communicate, to resolve and move forward. This way trust can be regained and lessons are learned on both sides.
Building on research based on Restorative Practice, King’s provide this short sequence of questions, which they say can be useful to help children question their behaviour and decide for themselves whether they are making a wrong choice:
- If I do this/that, what will happen?
- Will it have a positive or a negative outcome?
- How will my actions affect those around me?
- How will my actions affect the person I have hurt or upset directly?
- How can I help the person I have hurt or upset?
- How can I get them to regain my trust?
For the Head of Pastoral, consistency is key. He regularly cites this in talks to colleagues and parents. It is imperative that everyone is on board and remains consistent with their lines of questioning. It is no secret that children respond well to boundaries and thrive off fairness. In keeping things consistent, boundaries are maintained and children flourish. This works both at school and at home.
This feature article is shared by King’s College Doha. If you want to learn more about their programme and their curriculum, visit their website at kingscollegedoha.com.