A group of preschool students will have a difficult time controlling their impulses to the extent of Miss Lisa’s expectations. Asking the group to stand perfectly still with voices off before going out to the playground is like dangling a treat in front of a group of puppies: yes, some puppies will control themselves and respond to commands, but others will pounce and jump and fight for the treat. Though many older children will be able to stand in line and meet those expectations this is not always the case. Whether it is due to a disability or special need, a learning disorder, or an intellectual advancement, not all students are the same just because of their age. Instead you must consider the development of the child and the expectation being set.
It is important for the expectation to match the level of development of the child when considering classroom management strategies. For example, expecting meal or snack time in a toddler classroom to be mess-free is probably unrealistic. Likewise, expecting school-age children not to talk with their friends during lunch time is unrealistic. It is appropriate to set boundaries as long as it isn’t expecting unrealistic and developmentally inappropriate outcomes. The volume during a school-age lunch time period can be expected to be at a reasonable level or you can introduce proper handwashing techniques or clean up routines with the toddlers after meal times. These are appropriate expectations.
Knowing the children in your care gives you the tools that you need to design appropriate rules, routines, schedules and more.