Appropriate reward/punishment at school? - FamilyEducation
Appropriate reward/punishment at school?
06/04/2013 at 01:21 AM

At my children's school, on the last full day of school there will be an ice cream party. In grades K-5 and 1st grade, the teachers have decided that only the kids who have "earned" the ice cream with good behavior throughout the year will get to eat the ice cream. The other children, the naughty ones, will have to watch the other children eat their sundaes. Do you think this is an appropriate reward/punishment for 5-7 year olds? Is such a public reward/punishment system a good way to encourage students to be better the following year, or could this be viewed as a humiliating experience for kids this age? Are kids this age able to learn from this sort of reward/punishment idea? I appreciate your opinions!

No, I don't think that this kind of reward or punishment is going to have any long term positive impact. Kids performing bed behaviour should be punished right at the moment. Children provided with such kind of food or beverages for “good” behaviour is not going to work as the parent will give their kid that short of food when they are out of school which will basically negate the efforts made to punish them AND will create resentment among the bad kids.

An end of the year party should be for all children - isn't the year ending for all of them? Your post doesn't say what the school deemed as 'bad behavior' - if it's the typical behavior of children who are sometimes late, sometimes don't do homework, have trouble sitting still, have trouble following directions etc, - it's very wrong to exclude those children from an end of the year celebration and it's counterproductive to what the school is trying to accomplish. Children left out of an end of the year party will not return to school in September with a new behavior pattern for having been excluded from the party. It's overall a pretty antique approach to working with children and seems almost downright mean on the part of the school. And if the excluded children were forced to watch some of their classmates happily eat ice cream in front of them - it is downright mean on the part of the school.

This reward type system is demotivating and very harmful to chidren in any school setting and is just a way for school administration to steer certain kids in the wrong direction. Stay on your school districts and voice your concerns to eliminate this type of treatment on your children. It is backwards and obsolete treatment. You pay taxes to have your children educated not segregated and excluded from activities.