Understanding Behavior Expectations and Rules

For most young children—that is, those ages three to five—school is a complex and novel setting. Educators should not simply assume that young children will intuitively understand the expectations of this new environment.

Rather, early childhood teachers need to be prepared to support and promote appropriate behavior. When children understand what is expected of them, they are more likely to display appropriate behavior.

Thus, it is important for teachers to establish behavior expectations and rules as part of the overall classroom behavior management system. Behavior expectations and rules are important for young children because they explicitly describe how to behave.

Although the terms behavior expectations and rules are often used interchangeably, they actually refer to different things. 

Behavior expectations can be defined as broad goals for behavior or the general ways that teachers would like children to act. They serve as guidelines for behavior and apply to all children across all settings. In addition, behavior expectations apply to the adults in these settings

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