Students learn to not slip up

Discipline is not always easy and it certainly doesn’t come naturally to young, energetic students.

Shopping, however, is far more innate to their nature and marrying the two ideas is proving to be a great success in some of Cayman’s primary schools, states a GIS press release.

This union, the ‘Don’t Slip Up’ system, offers positive reinforcement for good behaviour, and works as follows: Students receive points for doing quality schoolwork and being good citizens and neighbours. When they earn enough points, they can redeem them for merchandise such as toys and books, at the school’s merit store.

The slip in the system’s title refers to different coloured slips, each representing a rule: Follow directions; Use time wisely; Walk safely and quietly; Raise your hand, and Respect yourself and others.

Failing to adhere to one of these rules, will earn a student a slip. Getting through the school day without any slips behind your name, earns you one punch. A punch is worth 10 points, allowing students to earn at least 50 points weekly. Children can add to this number with outstanding behaviour, pushing up store credits at a faster rate.

Classes then get to shop in the merit store with prices starting as low as 100 points and going up to more than 15,000 points. Students can choose to shop every week and get small 100-point items or save up and go for merchandise they really want – another life lesson they learn quickly, said Prospect Primary’s Principal Michael Walker.

‘The beauty of the system is two-fold: The rules of discipline are consistent throughout all grades, leaving students in no doubt as to what is expected of them, and they have the chance of starting with a clean slate everyday,’ he explained.

For the system to work, however, schools need to keep their stores stocked with the kinds of merchandise that students want. Prospect Primary will be doing just that by securing sponsorship from Cingular Wireless.

Commenting on the new partnership, Sales and Marketing Manager for Cingular, Lucy Tibbetts said: ‘Cingular Wireless is very proud to partner with the Prospect Primary School on the merit programme initiative. We feel that this type of reward programme is conducive to developing good behaviour as well as being a great lesson in goal-setting. When a child is encouraged to set a goal by selecting desirable items from the Merit Store, that student will focus and work toward achieving it. In support of the programme, Cingular Wireless is committed to ensuring that the Merit Store is always stocked with all the fun and educational toys that students want.’

Mr Walker initiated the merit programme at Red Bay Primary School where he formerly served as deputy principal. The programme has proved to be so effective that it already has been adopted by several other primary schools.

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