Introducing Classroom Rules in Maternelle

We all know that maternelle is a… special adventure, especially in September ;)

When we school starts in September, some of our students may have never been in an environment where they have to follow group rules before.

(Or ANY rules ;) haha)

I remember one year having a student think it was okay to start a game of TAG in the classroom, while I was teaching!

Our students in maternelle are just getting familiar with school and all of the routines that come with it. Plus, they’re really young, so sometimes learning rules takes some time to stick!

There’s also the fact that not all of our students speak and/or understand French yet. So, how do I introduce classroom rules in maternelle? Keep reading to learn all of my teaching tips and tricks!

Introducing Classroom Rules in Maternelle

On Day 1, of course, we talk about classroom rules and expectations. Like I said above, this can be a challenge since not everyone can speak/understand French!

I introduce this topic by reading “David va à l’école” by David Shannon. This book is amazing because the story is mostly told through pictures, so all students can understand it.

It’s also hilarious, and it makes it very clear that the things David is doing are silly and don’t belong at school.

After we read the book, we talk about which rules David didn’t follow and which silly things he did. That makes a great springboard for talking about what we should do!

I like to write our rules together, focusing on what we should do. So, if a student says, “No hitting,” then I would write something like, “We keep our hands and bodies to ourselves,” and/or “We ask before touching someone else’s body.”

After that, we do a fun David freebie craft from TPT!

Another set of rules that we talk about specifically are my expectations for everyone at the tapis.

We talk a bit about how the tapis is a special place in our classroom, where they will learn so many new things that will help their brains grow. What would happen if everyone came to the tapis and was noisy and disruptive, laid down, jumped around, touched others, et cetera?

No one would be able to learn, and our brains wouldn’t be able to grow!

To help us at the tapis, I use animals plus one food item to remind everyone of how they should sit
We do…

  • Les yeux comme un hibou
  • Les oreilles comme un éléphant
  • Les jambes comme un bretzel
  • Tranquille comme une souris

I get everyone to show me each one – one at a time at first, and then we see if we can do them all at the same time!

From that point on, I am sure to point out when someone does any of the above all on their own. As soon as I say something like, “Wow! Look! I love how Hailey has her jambes like a bretzel, and I didn’t even have to tell her!”, everyone snaps to it and does the right thing with their legs, too!

We can always build on our rules later in the year, but for September, I think this is a great start.

The basics are covered thanks to David, everyone knows that we don’t play tag in the classroom, and everyone has learned how to sit at the tapis.

Of course, it’s my job to make sure that we are never sitting at the tapis so long that my students aren’t able to be successful! In the beginning of the year, their stamina is short, and it’s my job to respect that and help them grow, one day at a time!

What rules do you like to prioritize at the beginning of the school year? If you do things differently, I’d love to hear about it, so be sure to leave a comment!

PS – Are you a member of my FREE Resource Library for French primary teachers? If not, what are you waiting for?? Sign up below for access to every freebie I’ve ever made… and will ever make!

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