Blossoming through good reinforcement

LUCY TOWNEND
Last updated 12:00 28/01/2014
Family
WARWICK SMITH/ Fairfax NZ
FAMILY FUN: James Freeman, Casey Adamson, Mila-Jade Freemas, 15 months, and Lilia Laskey, 6, from Longburn Primary School, are part of the PB4L programme and reaping benefits at home.

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Playing nice is on the agenda at a Manawatu primary school, with pupils learning more than just literacy and numeracy in class.

Longburn School signed up to the Ministry of Education-run Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L) scheme - which addresses pupils' performance inside and outside the classroom.

Principal Joanne Emerson said instead of doing lessons on just reading and writing, the school tried to incorporate "life lessons" based around the principles of "respectful, responsible and being positive learners".

PB4L is a behavioural merit system which focuses on encouragement rather than punishment.

Points are tallied for pupils when they show conscious, clever conduct linked with the school's principle - doing things like helping another child who had tumbled in the playground, having polite manners and using their initiative.

"Instead of growling at [children being silly] we just reinforce the positive behaviour, which is very clear to the kids because they know the expectations," she said.

As a result the school's atmosphere was more bubbly and the children's outlook brighter.

The programme is about to enter its third and final year at the school and parents are raving about the ripple effect PB4L is having on their children at home.

James Freeman and Casey Adamson's daughter Lilia Laskey may sometimes act like she's "6 going on 16", but Lilia has blossomed by following the fundamentals taught through programme.

"It's not just with Lilia, but every child at this school is so warm and welcoming when you walk through now," Mr Freeman said.

"When you come in here you're being greeted by kids with smiles on their faces, and they all look after each other as well."

Longburn Primary School is hosting a celebration of its PB4L success with a community event at the school on February 15 from 10am to 2pm.

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- Manawatu Standard

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