This paper reports an analysis of the classroom management concerns of pre-service early childhood education (ECE) teachers prior to beginning their career and further examines the difficulties they experienced in classroom management in their first year of teaching and their coping strategies. Sixteen pre-service ECE teachers enrolled in the same teacher education programme were interviewed immediately before graduation, and were again interviewed at the end of the first and second semesters after they started to work in public schools. Phenomenological analysis was utilized for the data analysis. The findings revealed that all of the participants had a fear of being unable to manage their classes before starting their careers because they felt unprepared. However, they experienced fewer problems than expected after they started to teach. The teachers first tried to build trusting and close relationships with the children to create a peaceful classroom climate, while also attempting to empower the children by involving them in decision-making processes. In this way, the children became aware of the class rules and felt free in their actions within the limits of the rules.