The Golden Rule is the basis of Japhet School’s discipline policy, and our character education curriculum helps to head off discipline issues before they arise … what we call “proactive discipline.”
Peace, respect for others, reliability, judgment, and self-control – five of Japhet’s 18 character qualities – directly support proactive discipline. Walk into a classroom and you might hear, “We use peaceful words in Preschool,” or “Please use good judgment with that pair of scissors,” or, “Are you being reliable while you wait in the hallway?”
At Japhet, expressing good character is the norm and the expectation. Specific action statements define each quality so that students have a tangible understanding of what each quality looks like in their everyday activities.
Some specific “proactive discipline” strategies that have character as a base include:
Students sit at a peace table to work out conflicts with one another in the presence of an adult mediator.
Students are given the charge to “be reliable” when given the responsibility to do something independently.
Students who become over-energized are quieted with “express self-control” rather than with a statement that belittles them or labels them as “hyper.”
Students who engage in unsafe activities (such as jumping off of a moving swing) are stopped with “use better judgment” rather than with a fear-based prediction, like “you’re going to break your legs doing that.”
Multi-age buddy pairs are set at the beginning of the school year, and opportunities for buddies to play, read, and create together are purposefully scheduled throughout the year. This creates an environment of joy among ages, which can be witnessed during a multi-age football game at our all-school recess. At Japhet, students learn to value the companionship of all ages, rather than saying “I don’t hang out with younger kids,” or “Those big guys scare me.”
When discipline issues arise, students are usually asked to sit quietly in another area of the class or in the hallway, where they can think about their choices and then return to class. If this is not effective, or if the issue is more serious, students are escorted to the front office to meet with the Head of School.
© Japhet School 2021