Lots of schools make a big effort to improve home-school communication and they understand the importance of sharing good news. Parents love to know how their children are doing especially when the feedback is positive.
A Good Behaviour (Rewards and Consequences) Policy is an important policy to have because this creates a positive, caring and learning environment for everyone within the community.
All children need to feel that their achievements are recognised and rewards should outweigh sanctions by a ratio of 5:1.
A common reward that feeds into a Behaviour for Learning approach is the use of praise postcards. These are normally sent home to reward consistent good effort and achievement and they can make a powerful impact.
I have seen praise postcards given as part of a levelled reward system. For example:
Bronze: phone call home, praise postcard, certificates, note in planner
Silver: assembly reward, mention in a newsletter, reward badge, Hot Chocolate with the Head
Gold: end of term award, reward trip, Amazon voucher!
Praise postcards do have their place and should be used appropriately. Aim to send home at least two per week to students you feel are deserving of the recognition but don’t go mad!
They can be hand written physical postcards or digital ones. Digital might save you money but the physical post cards are so much more well received and I believe they actually mean more. You can’t beat getting some post and the postcards can be displayed at home on the fridge!
There are loads of companies that produce praise postcards now but the personalised ones are the best as you can add your school details, badge etc.
Some schools hold a competition to design a new set of praise postcards. They invite children to invent their own cards linked to and celebrating the school’s ethos. The winning entry or entries are then sent off to the printers and become the school’s new praise postcards!
If they work, use them, if they don’t then don’t. I’ve yet to see them fall flat on their face – if anything schools don’t use them enough.
Happy New Year.