Pounds 35 LDA, Dept CA97, Duke Street, Wisbech, Cambridgeshire PE13 2AE. Tel: 01945 463441
Age range: 5-11
Is self-esteem crucial to good behaviour? A new pack of materials from LDA offers teachers the chance to put into practice all those fine sentiments about respect for self and others, reciprocal appreciation and allowing enough emotional space for children to flourish, while maintaining firm boundaries.
The pack consists of attractive visual aids to back up a consistent whole-school policy for behaviour.
There is a Golden Rules posters set, which are nice bold sheets of A3 with gold and silver printed rules, divided into two columns of "Do's" and "Don'ts". Do (gold): be gentle, be kind and helpful, work hard, look after property, listen to people, be honest. Don't (silver): hurt anyone, hurt people's feelings, waste your or other people's time, waste or damage things, interrupt, cover up the truth.
A similar Playground Golden Rules comes in laminated form, and differs slightly. Do: be gentle, be kind and helpful, play well with others, care for your playground, listen to people, be honest, keep to the playground rules. Don't: hurt anyone, hurt people's feelings, spoil others' games, damage or spoil anything, interrupt, break them (the playground rules).
There is also a pack of glowingly attractive class target sheets, which offer a visual incentive to compliance with rules reciprocity. Scenes of spinning stars or squiggling fish can be filled in with re-usable reward stickers of fish or stars whenever a child does something kind, helpful or remarkable. There is a whole-class ethos to be generated by the urge to complete the picture.
Ancillary to these large visual aids are the stiff, highly coloured reward certificates which can be given to those who have lived up to the Golden Rules. Sample texts for these (there are six separate designs) include: Congratulations, you have kept the Golden Rules for a term; Congratulations for deciding to improve; and Congratulations for being a kind and helpful member of our class team. These echo an important aspect of the programme: that the quiet and well-behaved pupil can be easily overlooked and his or her contribution to the well-being of the class ignored. By explicitly making provision for rewarding these pupils, the scheme offers a much more inclusive tool for improving behaviour.
Stickers and re-usable badges compete the pack The stickers come in sheets and contain 36 different designs, allowing teachers to reward such diverse activities and attitudes as working well with other people, queuing calmly, noticing the good in people, staying calm, finishing work quickly, having great thinking skills and wanting to make a change for the better. They are in three colours, to denote praise in three areas: Golden Rules, Circle Time and Lunch-times. The nine re-usable badges, also in the smart colours of purple, orange and green, are either semi-official (I am a playground helper) or semi-honouring (I am special child of the week).
Altogether, the pack is a well- designed and coherent effort which should be of some use in providing a professional-looking backup to a whole-school behaviour policy. It will need to be implemented in conjunction with a circle time approach (Jenny Mosley's is the one published by LDA) and with the kind of overt trumpeting of shared values which British schools have often been wary of using. However, no one who has seen this kind of work done properly can be in any doubt that these techniques are extremely useful and can revolutionise both children's behaviour and the underlying feelings and attitudes that shape it.
* LDA Multimedia Education Show stand G51