Earthplace Preschool Policies and Procedures
Positive Guidance Policy
Our goal is to create a classroom community in which the children and teachers work, play, and learn together. At Earthplace Preschool we set the stage so that constructive behavior is encouraged in a variety of ways. The areas that we can plan ahead are room arrangement, materials, transitions, and teacher behavior. We know that a nurturing, well-organized, interesting environment is an important foundation for supporting positive interactions among the children. There are also certain techniques that the teacher can use to guide children to internalize expected behaviors. The environment, techniques, and expected behaviors are all based on knowledge of developmentally appropriate practice.
The room is arranged with a number of different inviting areas of interest. These interest areas ensure that a variety of activities, such as drawing, painting, blocks, manipulatives, sand, housekeeping, and puzzles, are always available in the room. There are spaces for small group, large group, and individual play. This includes a space for children to get away from the group.
All materials are in good condition in order to communicate to the children that they are to be taken care of in an appropriate manner. There are enough of each item, so that a particular toy does not become the cause of difficulty within the group. Within each area the materials are organized in a clear manner so that children can utilize and return the items to the shelf or area on their own. The materials in the interest area are kept "novel." For example, books are changed on a regular basis; different accessories are added to the blocks; the housekeeping area is turned into a store, office, or post office; supplies on the writing table are changed; or the manipulatives are rotated to go with a particular theme.
Developmentally appropriate transitions
Transitions are clear, fun, and quick and are planned to encourage children's independent behaviors and decision-making abilities.
Setting the tone: The teachers set the tone of the classroom by welcoming all students and their parents.
Setting clear limits: Teachers set clear limits for the children through the routines they create in the classroom. These serve as an overall structure for the children's behavior throughout the day. The behaviors expected at group time, snack time, clean-up time, and dismissal are clear and consistent. Teachers also set clear limits with their directions for the use of materials in the classroom; they explain, discuss, demonstrate, and role-play the expected behaviors at group time and as individual incidents occur. For example, in the block area the children learn that only those who have built a building may knock it down, that they may build as high as their heads, and that they take one block off the shelf at a time. The same methods are used to communicate the expected behaviors in interpersonal relationships. The children learn that they are to use words when they have a disagreement, include others who would like a role in dramatic play, and think of kind things to say when commenting on another child's art work.
Presence: The teachers know that simply their presence and positive, nurturing manner promote cooperative behavior as they move about the room.
Modeling: The teachers model the behavior they expect from the children. This would include saying "please," "thank you," and "excuse me." It would also include washing hands at appropriate times, sitting on chairs, and using indoor voices.
Positive Expectations: The teachers state the behavior that they expect from the children. For example, "When I ring the bell, I expect everyone to stop, look, and listen."
Child-directed activities: The teachers honor the children's interests and communicate a caring attitude by organizing the materials needed for the children to follow their ideas.
Teacher-directed activities: The teachers make sure that these activities are developmentally appropriate so that the outcome is a positive experience for all of the children. For example, group times are fun, active, and an appropriate length. Art experiences are creative and open-ended.
Techniques to be used when teacher intervention is needed
Positive redirection: The teachers redirect the children in a positive manner. For example, "Use words," "Blocks are for building," or "Paint on the paper."
Add novelty: The teachers add a novel element to the play. For example, colors, soap, baby dolls, and/or sponges could be added to the water table.
Helping children with conflict: There are six steps in our Conflict Resolution Process. The goal is to have the children realize what has happened and to be a part of the problem-solving process. The teacher:
1. Approaches quickly and calmly, stopping any hurtful behavior;
2. Acknowledges all the children's feelings;
3. Gathers information from all involved;
4. Restates the problem, using relective listening;
5. Asks for ideas and solutions, and they choose together;
6. Gives follow-up support.
Explain your intervention: The teacher tells why he/she is intervening and what will happen if the behavior continues. "When you splash Tommy you are showing me that you don't remember how to play at the water table. Keep the water in the table or you'll have to choose another place to play."
Accept children's feelings: The teacher demonstrates that she/he accepts the children's feelings, but not necessarily their actions. Let the children know that they can be mad about something, but that they must work to solve the problem. The teacher explains to the children that she/he will not let them hit anyone, and that she/he doesn't want anyone to hit them.
Help the child/children verbalize: The teacher encourages the children to say what they are feeling, or what they think happened, or what they want to do next, etc. The teacher discusses how to solve the problem next time.
Stop hitting or throwing: The teacher tells the child specifically what to do. "Put your hands down," or "Put the block down." The teacher may also put her/his arms around a child to stop him/her from hitting. The teacher lets go quickly and then discusses the situation.
Give choices: The teachers explain to the children what their choices are in the situation. For example, they could stay in the area (or with a friend) and play constructively, or they could choose another area or friend. Or the teacher could give the choice to move to one of two areas. The ideas that there are different choices to make in terms of behavior, areas being played in, or friends being played with, are important concepts to convey.
Time away from play: The teacher removes a child from the room only if his/her behavior is dangerous or disruptive to other children. This would include continuing to throw objects, hitting other children, loud screamin,g and a tantrum that does not calm down quickly. The child goes to the hallway or to the office with the teacher. The teacher talks with the child about his/her feelings. The child is not kept out for more than 10 minutes. The goal of the teacher is for the child to regain control. The teacher helps the child to reenter play or organized activity.