Classroom Meetings in
Early Childhood (Ages 3-5)
“You have to reach the heart
before you can reach the head.”
Positive Discipline in the Classroom, Nelson, Ed.D., Lott, M.A., and Glenn, Ph.D. 2000
Positive Discipline for Preschoolers, Nelson, Ed.D.
 Philosophy Behind Positive Discipline
Classroom Meetings
 8 Building Blocks
 The Agenda/Format
 Model a Classroom Meeting
 Common Concerns and Tips
What is Unique about Positive
Discipline Classroom Meetings?
Adlerian Psychology – Humans are
inherently social beings
Goal– To teach children early in life to
effectively solve social problems
through collaboration with their
Model – Students decide topics, total
class involvement, specified format,
valuable life skills are taught
Primary Needs
1. Perception of Significance in Primary Relationships = Acceptance
2. Perception of Personal Capabilities = Competency
3. Perception of Power to Influence One’s Own Life = Autonomy
When a child does not feel he or she can belong
in a positive way, they may resort to misbehavior
in order to fullfill the need to belong.
- Positive Discipline in the Classroom,
Nelson, Ed.D., Lott, M.A., and Glenn, Ph.D. 2000
“A Misbehaving Child is a Discouraged Child”
– Rudolf Dreikurs
The Four Goals of Misbehavior
Undue Attention
Misguided Power
Assumed Inadequacy
Group Activity
What Do You Really Want for Your Students?
Question: “What characteristics and skills do you
think children need in order to be happy,
contributing (successful) members of society?”
Write your list of characterisitics/skills to share
Classroom Meetings Empower Students :
The Significant Seven
“I am capable”
“I contribute in meaningful ways, and I am genuinely needed”
“I use my personal power to make choices that influence what
happens to me and my community”
“I have self-discipline and self-control”
“I can work respectfully with others”
“I understand how my behavior affects others”
My judgment skills and wisdom are improving through daily
Classroom Meetings Teach Social Skills
Taking turns
Hearing different points of view
Helping one another
Taking responsibility for one’s own behavior
Classroom Meetings
Strengthen Academic Skills
Oral skills
Critical-thinking skills
Decision-making skills
Problem-solving skills
Democratic procedures
Introducing Class Meetings
“No problem is too difficult once it is recognized as a
common task.” – Rudolf Dreikurs
Key Ingredients:
1. Regularly held meetings
2. Student-generated topics
3. The TOTAL class is involved.
4. Circle format that creates the kind of order that
allows more freedom for everyone involved.
The Eight Building Blocks for Effective
Class Meetings
Form a Circle
Practice Compliments and Appreciations
Create an Agenda
Develop Communication Skills
Learn About Separate Realities
Recognize the Four Reasons People Do What
They Do
7. Practice Brainstorming
8. Focus on Solutions vs. Punishments
Building Blocks 2-8
#2 – Practice compliments and appreciations
#3 – Create an agenda for the class
#4 – Listening Skills, Taking Turns, “I” Statements
#5 – Learning about Separate Realities
#6 – Why People Do What They Do, Deal with the Belief Behind the
#7 – Practice Brainstorming
#8 – Focus on Solutions vs. Consequences, Wheel of Choice or other
Problem Solving Cards
Group Activity
 Read more about your assigned
building block in your guide.
 Discuss ways to teach this concept to
your classroom.
 Design a lesson about this building block
to share with the whole class. You may
do a mock lesson or create a list of
Building Block Three: Create an Agenda
Must focus on the problem that affects the group NOT the person
(ie: the swings vs. Joe won’t share the swings)
Students and teachers can write what they want to discuss at next meeting.
Use the wall or notebook - teacher assists student in writing topic and name (ie:
SWINGS – Sally) or with a picture
The only items discussed are those on the agenda BEFORE the meeting.
Teach the 8 Building Blocks before moving on to problem-solving.
 Put a problem / concern you have
regarding classroom meetings on our
agenda to discuss at our classroom
meeting after the break.
Building Block One : Form a Circle
Activity: Form a Circle
Objective: To create a democratic atmosphere of
mutual respect in which everyone has equal
rights to speak and be heard.
Class-Meeting Format
1. Compliments and appreciations
2. Agenda Items - Solve problems that affect
3. Follow up on prior solutions
4. Future plans (field trips, projects, etc.)
Common Concerns & Tips
Timing – attention span, mood
Regularly held – 1x day or 1x week
Use special signals
Building Blocks FIRST
Hardest part = Letting go of the need
to direct the proceedings
 Re-read Positive Discipline
 Be Kind & Firm!
 Reflective Listening – Open Ended
 Give it at least one month
 Takes time to come up with solutions
 Write your concerns in the agenda
 Discussion must focus on ACTION not
 Trust the process…….
Six Criteria for Successful Class Meetings
Have class meetings regularly! (In elementary years esp.)
Teach the building blocks FIRST and re-teach as needed!
Focus on solutions instead of consequences.
Pass an item around the circle (talking stick”, stuffed animal,
Use the class meeting format to address problems that arise
during the meeting.
Allow time for training while teachers and students learn the
class-meeting process. Trust the process and use the mistakes as
opportunities to learn!!!

Classroom Meeting Workshop