How Is Discipline Handled in First Grade?

Discipline in first grade is beginning to be handled, in some ways, much differently than discipline may have been handled in the past, such as in kindergarten or in preschool. The differences between how discipline is handled in first grade and how discipline is handled in earlier school settings is not only a difference of degrees, it is often very different it its overriding ideas and philosophies about handling discipline, as well.

In many schools, discipline for younger children is handled in more of an indirect manner. For example, a child that is engaging in an inappropriate activity might be gently redirected towards engaging in an activity that is appropriate. In contrast to this, the first grade child who is engaging in an inappropriate activity is likely to be scolded, or punished in some form or another. This discipline may take the form of both rewards and sanctions; for example, a child may start the day with three behavior cards. Each time a child misbehaves, the teacher will take away a card. At the same time, when a child does something that is especially good, the teacher may perhaps put a marble in a reward jar. When the reward jar is full, the class may get a big reward, such as a pizza party.

In the first grade, teachers are also able to handle discipline in a more complex fashion. Because children are now learning to read and to write, a teacher can use charts and such in the classroom that reflect the childrens’ behavior. First grade children are also more able than younger children to follow directions with multiple steps, which is going to open up all sorts of possibilities in every area, not just discipline.

To find out how your child’s teacher handles discipline, you should check with the teacher. Each school and each teacher is likely to have a slightly different way of handling discipline in first grade, even though the school, the district, or even the state may have overarching guidelines which the teacher should be following.


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