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ERIC Number: EJ913837
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 5
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 10
ISSN: ISSN-0164-8527
Beyond Rules to Guidelines
Gartrell, Dan
Exchange: The Early Childhood Leaders' Magazine Since 1978, n194 p52-56 Jul-Aug 2010
Rules are not helpful in the adult-child community. They are usually stated in the negative: "No," "Don't," etc. The way they are worded, adults seem to expect children to break them. Even when they are not totally negative, like "Be nice to your friends," rules have an "or else" moral implication that adults carry around in their heads. When enforced, children may be aware that they have done something wrong, but the negative wording of rules does not teach them what to do instead. While busy enforcing the rules, the adult easily forgets to do this vital teaching. Everyone wants children to learn to get along in the adult-child community. The issue is that rules do not teach the child how to get along, just that there are consequences if the child doesn't get along. Young children are just beginning to learn difficult life skills--how to get along with others--that adults are still working on. And, children are learning these skills with very young brains that are still developing. Rather than punish children for something they haven't learned (which is just plain bad teaching), the role of teachers is to guide children as to how to get along. This is where guidelines come in. Unlike rules, guidelines are stated in the positive. They explain to adults and children alike what social expectations are in the adult-child community. This article guides teachers about how and why to use guidelines in the adult-child community.
Exchange Press, Inc. P.O. Box 3249, Redmond, WA 98073-3249. Tel: 800-221-2864; Fax: 425-867-5217; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Early Childhood Education
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A