The Ground Rules are the rules by which the children run the classroom. Lessons are given on a daily basis in regards to the Ground Rules by using role playing, role modeling and discussion. These responsibilities become part of each child’s ability to be comfortable and have the freedom of movement and choice in the classroom.
Responsibility: The child must use the materials respectfully. That is, the child may not harm the materials, himself or others. The child may not use materials in a way that disturbs the activities of others in the environment.
Right: The child is free to work with any materials displayed in the environment.
Responsibility: The child may not work at or on a display shelf, as her presence there would obstruct other children’s access to the materials. All pieces of the work must remain on the rug or at the table.
Right: The child may work at a table or on a rug, whichever is suitable to the work chosen.
Responsibility: The child restores the environment during and after an exercise. She is responsible for mopping up her own spills, rolling up her own rug, placing her chair under her place at the table, and returning her work to the appropriate spot on the shelf.
Right: The child has the freedom to use the room as her needs dictate.
Responsibility: No child touches the work of another without an invitation to do so. No child is allowed to interfere with another’s learning cycle (this provides security for the child involved in an exercise to continue it too its completion). If the child must leave her work temporarily, she can continue later confident that it will be as she left it when she returns.
Right: The child has the right to work unrestricted by others. She may initiate, complete, or repeat an exercise alone and without a break in her concentration cycle.
Responsibility: The child is not allowed to interfere or disturb an activity she has chosen not to join; this is her responsibility to the group.
Right: The child does not need to join a group activity. She may continue working with an individual exercise during group activities, or she may stand apart from the group as an observer of group activities without becoming an active participant.
Responsibility: A child is not forced or even encouraged to share work. Generosity develops from within as a child matures and gains self-security. With adequate materials and supportive ground rules, sharing comes naturally in cases where sharing is appropriate or necessary.
Right: The child may work alone.
Responsibility: The child’s idleness is not allowed to disturb or distract others’ activities.
Right: The child is free to do nothing if she so desires. She may be learning by observing others, may be thinking, or may simply be relaxing.
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