Improving the Expectations in Primary!

Today’s guest author Jenn sent us a list of rules she uses in her primary and we thought the rules were great and want to share them.  Jenn explained the rules to all the children and teachers in a sharing time lesson and then followed up with a letter for the teachers.

Hello Teachers,

Many of you were in Primary today for my Sharing Time lesson about choice and consequences. We had been talking as a presidency about improving the expectations in Primary, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to introduce some new rules! I hope it was effective and that all of the children now understand what is expected of them in Singing/Sharing Time.

In conjunction with this, I wanted to thank you for YOUR part in helping the children to keep the rules. Really, the teachers will make a huge difference here! Let me just briefly review the rules and what you can do to help:

1. Sit by someone who will help you be reverent. We like to have the classes and teachers sit together on their respective rows, but we’re also happy to let the kids choose whom they sit by – as long as they choose wisely. As teachers, you should feel free to ask your students to move if they are sitting by someone who is NOT helping them to be reverent. You are more than welcome to sit in between two trouble makers! Make them move during Sharing Time if needed! You can also make deals with the children: let them earn the right to sit by their friends by behaving the week before. These are all things we as a presidency have a hard time doing because we’re not sitting right there with the kids!

2. Come to Primary with nothing in your hands. Of course, many children will bring things with them, but during Sharing Time, we want their hands to be free. Please encourage them to put any papers, toys, treats, scriptures, etc. under their chairs so they don’t get taken away.

3. Show respect for EVERYONE in Primary. This includes speaking kindly and with an “inside voice,” raising their hand and not shouting out, and not talking while someone is trying to teach. Obvious stuff.

So we’re all on the same page, this is the plan for consequences when children are breaking a rule:

1. Reminder from their teacher. This is YOU! Please tap them on the shoulder, whisper a reminder, or send a warning look down the row.

2. If misconduct continues, teacher sends child to the back of the room. This will be your call, since the presidency can’t keep track of everyone who has been “warned.” Please alert one of us if you need help convincing a child to come visit us in the back of the room. If they refuse to move, you can tell them, “That’s no problem. We can just go and get your parents to come help out!”

3. Once they are in the back of the room, we as a presidency will work with them to either help them prepare to go back to their seats or to find their parents.

Please let me know if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions on how to make this go smoothly. We just want to be consistent so the children know what to expect from us and know that we’re expecting them to be reverent!

On this same note, you may decide that the beginning of the year is a good time to set some rules for your own class. I would suggest either coming up with some rules on your own, borrowing ours, or having the children help you come up with your own set of class rules. It’s always good to start a new year in Primary by making sure everyone knows what is expected of them.

Also, if you’re searching for ideas on how to improve reverence in your classroom, you might try looking at this link or this link (specific to Sunbeams but has ideas any younger class would love). I always feel like I need a new reverence “trick” every few months.

Thanks for ALL you do for our children as you serve in the most important calling in the Church!




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Filed under Discipline, Sharing Time

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