The Center operates on the premise that children are never “Bad”. The types of inappropriate behavior most often seen are usually the result of the Child’s level of development. The staff wishes to mold or change behavior using positive techniques with love, patience and understanding. Guidelines for behavior are clearly explained to the children.
Spanking or any other form of physical punishment is prohibited. Hitting is often misunderstood by a young child, who does not always see the connection between a slap and some action on his part. Hitting as a form of punishment rarely stops an inappropriate behavior, but does cause confusion and anger. Children will not be denied active play as a consequence of misbehavior.
We do not shout or yell at children. Yelling usually frightens children and distracts them from the problem. Shouting, which is often accompanied by name calling on the part of the adult, also damages a child’s self-esteem.
Children will not be subjected to discipline which is severe, humiliating, frightening, or associated with food, rest, or toileting.
The following Positive Guidance Techniques are used to enhance the child’s self-esteem and change a child’s behavior:
- Encouragement: Verbal positive reinforcement by praising the child for specific behavior. Catch them being “Good”.
- Talking: Children are encouraged to develop language skills that help them to communicate their needs and feelings to others. Language is modeled for them by the staff so that they may gain skills in using this tool for problem solving.
- Redirection: Redirect the child’s attention from something they can’t do to something they can do. Often interesting a child in another activity can eliminate a potential difficulty. We might ask a child to help us or send them to a different area to play.
- Assertive Direction: Telling the child what we want them to do, rather than using “no” or “don’t”.
- Safe Place/ Cozy Area: A place in the classroom where the child may choose to go to regain composure. In every classroom there will be a “safe place” bag with props to help the child breathe and calm down.
- Removal: If a child does not have control and is in danger of hurting himself or others, he or she is removed from the problem situation. The child will join the group when he or she has calmed down.
- Gentle Physical Restraint: Gently remove the child when one is in serious danger of being hurt.
One of the many roles of the Center staff is to work together with parents to help develop appropriate behaviors. Parents are invited to schedule a conference to discuss their concerns about their children’s behavior with teachers and to plan together means of responding consistently to problem behaviors.
Teaching staff make every effort to identify events, activities, interactions and other factors that predict and may contribute to the challenging behavior.
In the event of severe challenging behavior problems or risk to the safety of others, a child may be removed from the program for a short period of time. Refer to specific examples in the Family Handbook.