Kindergarten students are learning and growing every day, you can help them celebrate their success with rewards.
Verbal praise, reward charts, award celebrations and classroom awards can all help students see their strengths.
Choose a reward that focuses on something your child did or a character quality that you see in the child.
Awards are just one way to praise growth and skill development in kindergarteners.
Award Ideas for Kindergarten Students
Kindergarten students are not developmentally able to set goals for themselves so they need help tracking their achievements.
While award ceremonies generally take place at the end of the year, students should be recognized more often than once a year.
Award students with verbal praise, written notes and public praise regularly when you notice them making a positive choice or showing growth in skill.
Kindergarten students are working on a lot of new academic skills which offer a great opportunity to reward their new brain growth.
Track these achievements and share success with parents, teachers, grandparents and any other adults in your child’s life.
Display work that your child is proud of in your home to remind them of their accomplishments.
Classroom Award Ideas for Kindergarten Students
Creating awards for your kindergarten students can be a great way to reinforce positive behavior that you see in your students.
These creative ideas for classroom awards can be used by teachers for regular awards
I Can Add!
Sight Word Seeker
Show and Tell SuperStar
Navigator of Numbers
I Can Count to 100!
Healthy Habit Guru
Silver Lining Spyer
Above and Beyond
Self-Management Super Star
On Time In Line
Self Control Master
How to Use a Reward Chart
Reward charts are helpful for kindergarteners as they work towards a short or long term goal.
Reward charts are a digital or physical chart with blank boxes that will be filled with checks, stars or stickers as the child makes progress towards the goal.
Reward charts are a form of behavior modification that can help children make positive choices towards a goal.
Generally, children respond more positively to rewards than to punishments and so using a sticker chart is a way to use positive reinforcement rather than punishment.
Reward charts are a great way to start teaching goal setting.
Set a Goal
Talk to the student about the target behavior or skill.
Make it clear what the child will do or accomplish in order to get a box checked on the reward chart.
The goal should clearly state the way the child will get that sticker.
Choose a Reward
When you are setting up your reward chart, put reward days on the chart.
When possible, allow the child to choose their reward.
They may want to sit with a friend for a day, a piece of candy or a small toy. The choice is up to you.
When your child completes the action add a sticker to the chart.
Be sure to check in on the goal at least once a day.
If your child gets close to the goal, but does not quite meet it, recognize their effort.
A high five or a note can help encourage them to keep up the hard work.
Small Reward Ideas for Kindergarteners
Small rewards may help keep students engaged as you learn a new skill or work on a difficult behavior.
These small awards can fill a classroom treasure box or keep you connected with your kindergarteners as you work towards a goal.
Special Seat Pass
Special Show and Tell
Extra Library Book
Positive Call Home
Check with your school to see if they can provide any rewards that you could pass on to your students, or reach out to the PTA to ask for donations.
School supplies can be a great reward mid year when students may need a refresh of regularly used items like pencils and crayons.
Be sure to keep any treasure box free from common allergens or dangerous items.
Are Awards Good for Kindergarten Students?
Awards have their drawbacks. Some kids will not receive an award and some kids will get many awards.
Awarding students can also become demotivated if all their motivation is provided by external results.
Consider these things when you give awards in your home or your classroom.
Long Term Effects
Students may become less motivated by awards if they do not get awarded.
Character comes from within and students who rely on external awards or praise may not develop a lasting work ethic.
Early elementary students tend to respond well to awards, but the spark fades as they move through their schooling.
Be sure to help students begin to recognize their own strengths as they move through the curriculum.
Teaching students to set goals is a skill that can benefit them far beyond early elementary.
Collaboration and Awards
Awards single out one student and highlight one aspect of their character.
Students in 21st century classrooms should be focusing on learning collaboration skills.
Awards can undermine the team environment that you are trying to build in class.
What are we rewarding?
When designing rewards for your classroom be careful what you are rewarding.
Are we rewarding effort or achievement?
Character or personality?
Parent engagement or academic skill?
There are lots of ways we can communicate values with our students when we give awards.
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Emily Anderson is a mother of three children, all under the age of 10. Located in the Pacific Northwest of the US, Emily is a mom and part-time blogger, jumping in front of the computer when the kids are sleeping. She started this blog in April of 2019 and is proud that the blog is now paying for itself. If you want to know about her journey as a blogger, check out out her personal digital journal or her post about failing her way to blogging success.