Behavior Guidance Policy
We believe that when children are actively involved in developmentally appropriate learning activities, misbehavior is least likely to occur. This is one reason we believe so strongly in proper developmental placement. While proper placement will not solve all discipline problems, it at least provides a healthy context within which to deal with individual situations. Our goal is to assist children in conflict resolution strategies to help strengthen their problem solving abilities.
Discipline at the program has two primary goals. First, we strive to find a solution to the current situation. Second, we attempt to help the child process feelings, recognize consequences, explore alternative solutions and outcomes, and develop internal self-control. We work with the children in developing acceptable behaviors. We teach the children acceptable alternatives to their non acceptable behavior(s).
A well-designed and well-equipped classroom tailored to the developmental level of the children prevents frustration, interruption and hazards. It offers privacy, independence, and easy adult supervision. In addition, the daily routine provides enough time for play, a sense of security, little waiting, and few transitions.
The basic procedure used in all classrooms is positive redirection, which is redirecting unacceptable behavior to an acceptable alternative. This may be enhanced by verbal praise and other reward systems. We praise children for their appropriate behavior and successes by describing what we see and how we feel. ” I see the books are all on the shelf. It is nice to have such a clean room.” We encourage acceptable behavior by giving positive verbal rewards. This reinforces a child’s good feeling about them self and serves as an example to others to act in such a way as to receive this praise.
Asking a child to stop and think about their unpleasant behavior enables that child to work at self-control. Each child will be encouraged to develop self-control, self-esteem, and self-direction.
Teacher-modeled appropriate behavior and communication, as well as positive peer models, are provided to help children learn responsibility for their actions. Our staff will model positive techniques by teaching children the importance of listening to others, identifying the problem at hand, seeking solutions, and agreeing on solutions. We feel it is important for adults to be facilitators in the problem solving effort rather than dictate what the solutions should be.
We have a few clear, simple rules that vary according to the developmental level of the children. In establishing rules, each teacher follows these guidelines:
- Tell children what they are to do in a positive tone
- Post rules prominently throughout the classroom for parents and staff to read
- Specify rewards for following rules
- Explain rules to students and apply rules consistently
- Post staff reminders of positive guidance
We appeal to the toddler, preschool and school age child’s growing intellectual and moral reasoning by using natural and logical consequences and asking questions to encourage problem solving. Teachers help children identify their needs, feelings, causes, alternatives and choices. We provide cues such as the statement, “Use your words.”
For a child not cooperating in a group listening situation, the child is seated by a teacher and given several examples of positive behavior that is considered acceptable. In a less structured situation, the following four-step process shall be implemented:
1. Verbal reminder that the behavior is unacceptable and given an acceptable alternative.
2. The child is redirected away from the children or objects that are part of the problem and led toward a constructive activity in order to reduce conflict (“cool down”). In this situation, the child will have the first choice of activity, but if the behavior persists,
3. The child will lose that option and the teacher will have to make the choice for the child.
4. “Problem Solve” whenever conflict situations arise. We will work with the children to resolve the conflict. The teacher will assist the child in verbally giving examples of solutions/resolutions.
There are certain behaviors that are part of normal growth and development, but are not necessarily considered acceptable (e.g. biting, hitting, etc.). Children usually resort to these behaviors when they are unsure of how to resolve conflicts, how to enter into play, or various other developmental social skills. That is why the core curriculum must approach these social skills on a regular basis. Consequences for a child’s unacceptable behavior must be immediate and directly related to the behavior. We must be acutely aware of each child’s developmental level and tailor all intervention and guidance techniques to fit that level. If a child has a regular problem with biting we will 1) meet with parents; 2) document the frequency per day; 3) child sent home when it occurs 3+ times/day.
It is also the goal of this program to help children become happy, responsible, cooperative participants in the program through positive, non-threatening teaching techniques.
It is normal for young toddlers to be curious about their surroundings. During active exploration of their environment, we may find them in situations that could cause harm to themselves, others, or materials around them. We understand that a child’s natural curiosity can override their ability to comply with rules, while we do our best to provide a “child proof” environment so that children are able to enjoy free exploration of their environment. This is a delicate stage in a child’s development. During this stage they are forming their self-concept. Keeping this in mind we attempt to eliminate negatives such as “no” and “don’t”, instead we use phrases that let the child know what appropriate choices they can make, and redirect inappropriate activities.
Older Toddlers and Preschoolers are beginning to learn responsibility to their own actions. It is our goal to guide them in continuing to develop this self-respect. Young children are beginning to learn what they do affects other people. It is our responsibility to give them feedback and help them grow in respecting the rights and feelings of others. During this stage of development children need to know what is expected from them. The staff set guidelines through classroom limits, schedules, and teaching strategies geared toward assisting children to become self-confident, critical thinkers and problem solvers. The staff realizes that conflicts will occur with young children. We use these circumstances to help children learn conflict resolution strategies and problem solving skills.