Having officially taken on the name of The Super Lollipops, we turned our attention towards the next step in our community building: determining our class rules. Where the name selection process helped us understand WHO we are, the development of rules helps us understand HOW we’ll be.
This was a collective process, one in which we wanted to solicit direct input from all members of the Super Lollipop community. We started by brainstorming a list of rules the children felt were needed. Over several days, they came up with quite a few…
Always try your best.
Have fun everyday.
Never ever break somebody’s stuffie during Rest.
Never ever say anything different at Hello or Goodbye Meeting.
No talking during Rest Time.
No knocking down people’s structures.
No talking during StoryLine Online.
Don’t talk when other people are talking.
Don’t talk when a teacher is talking.
Don’t erase all the words.
Don’t cut people’s dress.
Only go out of school if it’s goodbye time.
Don’t hit people’s faces.
No going out of school if it’s goodbye time or after school.
We don’t take people out of our school.
Never move the bouncy mat in the gym.
If you’re on the big bouncy mat, never pull it down or you might get hurt.
No grabbing people’s arms or necks.
Don’t kick people’s face or tummies.
Don’t slap tummies.
The only thing before Goodbye Meeting to leave the classroom is to wash hands.
Don’t put your thumb or hand in your mouth.
No going out of the class.
No talking when eating snack or you might choke.
Don’t make silly sounds when eating.
No pushing people.
Never ever hit somebody on the back.
At lunch time, don’t push past someone carrying lots of things.
Never ever kick someone’s behind or their back.
Don’t talk when you’re eating.
When you’re eating, don’t talk or you’ll choke.
Don’t talk when you have food in your mouth.
You can’t go out of the classroom without telling a teacher.
We can’t let bumble bees sting us.
Ask a teacher if you get stinged or a booboo.
Only put food in your mouth… nothing else.
Don’t sit on people’s head.
Nothing above the shoulders.
Don’t kick somebody when they’re eating.
Don’t eat people’s arms.
Don’t pull hair.
Don’t climb the walls from the gym to the tricycle track.
Don’t pull on people’s necks.
Don’t trick a classmate and say, “I’m not gonna bite you,” and then bite a classmate.
Don’t bite people’s arms.
Never eat someone’s food if they’ve licked it.
Don’t go to the Red Room unless it’s Community Time.
Never hurt someone’s eye.
Don’t pull people’s hair.
No kicking people’s butts.
If you think a friend needs help, ask them.
Don’t whisper when people are asking a question.
If you’re scared, ask a teacher.
Never change someone else’s card.
Never be mean to each other.
On the roof, don’t take stuff that other people have in their hands or they say don’t take.
Don’t take stuff from other people’s hands when they’re still using.
Say please every time.
Never talk when another person is talking to somebody.
When you miss a friend on the roof, you can find a different friend.
Never take something that is somebody’s.
Don’t take anyone else’s drawings.
63 to be exact (yes, we counted). WOW!
As impressive as their list was, we realized a few things. First off, 63 rules is a lot of rules to remember… possibly too many. And the kids still had ideas for more! Also, almost all of the rules started with words like “Don’t” and “No” and “Never.” And as powerful and important as saying “No” is, it can feel frustrating to have so many rules telling us things we’re not allowed to do.
So… we looked more closely at our list. We printed all the rules out and spread them on our Meeting Rug. And… we began to notice some patterns. Lots of the rules felt connected to one another. So… we decided to “smush” them. Just like we could take small pieces of play dough and smush them together to make one, larger piece, with the aid of our Magical Mystery Bag, so too could we “smush” our many small rules together into fewer, larger rules. The kids watched in awe as we gathered the rules that seemed related, smushed them into our Magical Mystery Bag, and pulled out one, large rule after another. Which, as luck would have it, didn’t have any “Don’t” or “No” or “Never” words. Instead, they told us what we SHOULD do. In total, all our smushing turned our 63 small rules into 4 big rules:
RULE #1: BE KIND: TAKE CARE OF PEOPLE’S FEELINGS
RULE #2: BE SAFE: TAKE CARE OF PEOPLE’S BODIES
RULE #3: BE RESPONSIBLE: TAKE CARE OF OUR SCHOOL
RULE #4: BE A SUPER LOLLIPOP: WORK HARD, HAVE FUN!
Our final step was to return to where we started: brainstorming. But instead of another list of dozens of things not to do, we focused on specific ways we could live out each of these rules. The children had lots of ideas. Even better, they quickly began pointing out the many ways they were already living these rules each and every day at school.
This intentional, collaborative process positions the kids to feel invested in our classroom rules and the culture they help create. They are our rules and they help us to be our best selves, individually and collectively. Framing them as Do’s instead of Do Not’s allows us to think big picture about what we are trying to achieve and how we can work together to get there. Focusing on big yet familiar ideas — kindness, safety, responsibility, and fun — helps the rules feel achievable, supportive, and responsive.
Please join us in celebrating our rules and the hard work the children put in developing them. Their commitment to both the who and the how of the Super Lollipops is what makes this group so special.