ACHIEVING POSITIVE BEHAVIOUR
Little Rockets Childcare believes that children flourish best when their personal, social and emotional needs are met and where there are clear and developmentally appropriate expectations for their behaviour.
Children need to learn to consider the views and feelings, needs and rights, of others and the impact that their behaviour has on people, places and objects. This is a developmental task that requires support, encouragement, teaching and setting the correct example.
Amanda Saunders and our SENCO’s have the overall responsibility for our programme for supporting issues concerning behaviour. They:
1. Keep themselves up-to-date with legislation, research and thinking on promoting positive behaviour and on handling children’s behaviour where it may require additional support;
2. Will access relevant sources of expertise on promoting positive behaviour within the setting; and
3. Checks that all staff have relevant in-service training on promoting positive behaviour.
We recognise that codes for interacting with other people vary between cultures, and requires staff to be aware of, and respect, those used by members of the setting.
We require all staff, volunteers and students to provide a positive model of behaviour by treating children, parents and one another with friendliness, care and courtesy.
We familiarise new staff and volunteers with the setting’s behaviour policy and it’s guidelines for behaviour
We expect all members of our setting – children, parents, staff, volunteers and students – to keep to the guidelines, requiring these to be applied consistently.
We work in partnership with children’s parents. Parents are regularly informed about their children’s behaviour by their key person or the Manager. We work with parents to address recurring inconsiderate behaviour, using our observation records to help us to understand the cause, and to decide jointly on how to respond appropriately.
Strategies with children who engage in inconsiderate behaviour
We require all staff, volunteers and students to use positive strategies for handling any inconsiderate behaviour, by helping children find solutions in ways which are appropriate for the children’s ages and stages of development. Such solutions might include, for example, acknowledgement of feelings, explanation as to what was not acceptable, and supporting children to gain control of their feelings so that they can learn a more appropriate response.
We ensure that there are enough popular toys and resources and sufficient activities available so that children are meaningfully occupied, without the need for unnecessary conflict over sharing and waiting for turns.
We acknowledge considerate behaviour such as kindness and willingness to share.
We support each child in developing self-esteem, confidence and feelings of competence.
We support each child in developing a sense of belonging in our group, so that they feel valued and welcome.
We avoid creating situations in which children receive adult attention, only in return for inconsiderate behaviour.
When children behave in inconsiderate ways, we help them to understand the outcomes of their action and support them in learning how to cope more appropriately.
We never use physical punishment, such as smacking or shaking. Children are never threatened with these.
We do not use techniques intended to humiliate individual children.
We use physical restraint, such as holding, only to prevent physical injury children or adults and/or serious damage to property.
Details of such an event (what happened, what action was taken and by whom, and the names of witnesses) are brought to the attention of the Manager, and are recorded in the incident file. The child’s parent is informed on the same day.
In cases of serious misbehaviour, such as racial or other abuse, we make clear immediately the unacceptability of the behaviour and attitudes, by means of explanations rather than personal blame.
We do not shout or raise our voices in a threatening way in order to respond to children’s inconsiderate behaviour.
If children hurt each other by kicking, pinching, biting etc they are sat quietly with a member of staff and given quiet time to reflect on their actions and feelings, and how the child they have hurt might feel.
If children display repeated disruptive behaviour then the parents will be informed and we will try to work in partnership with parents to overcome the pattern of behaviour. If a child is at Little Rockets and they are constantly hurting other children and or staff then the child will be given 3 chances to sit out and calm down, if the child’s behaviour continues to be unmanageable then the child’s parents will be contacted and they will be sent home for the remainder of that session. If the behaviour is considered to be dangerous to the other children or cause damage to Little Rockets property or cause distress to the other children or staff, then the child will be referred to enable Little Rockets to get professional support and advice. In some circumstances it may be necessary to exclude the child until additional support can be put in place, although this will be avoided where possible.
Children under three years
When children under three behave in inconsiderate ways, we recognise that strategies for supporting them will need to be developmentally appropriate and differ from those of older children.
We recognise that very young children are unable to regulate their own emotions, such as fear, anger or distress, and require sensitive adults to help them to do this.
Common inconsiderate or hurtful behaviours of young children include tantrums, biting or fighting. Staff are calm and patient, offering comfort to intense emotions, helping children to manage their feelings and talk about them to help resolve issues and promote understanding.
If tantrums, biting or fighting are frequent, we try to find out the underlying cause – such as a change or upheaval at home, or frequent change of carers. Sometimes a child has not settled in well and the behaviour may be the result of ‘separation anxiety’.
We focus on ensuring a child’s attachment figure in the setting, their key person, is building a strong relationship to provide security to the child.
Rough and tumble play and hurtful behaviour
Young children often engage in play that has aggressive themes – such as superhero and weapon play. This behaviour is not necessarily a precursor to hurtful behaviour, although it may be inconsiderate at times and may need addressing using strategies as above.
We recognise that teasing and rough and tumble play are normal for young children and acceptable within limits. We regard these kinds of play as pro-social and not as problematic or aggressive.
We will develop strategies to contain play that are agreed with the children, and understood by them, with acceptable behavioural boundaries to ensure that children are not hurt.
We recognise that fantasy play also contains many violently dramatic strategies – blowing up, shooting etc – and that themes often refer to ‘goodies and baddies’ and as such offer opportunities for us to explore concepts of right and wrong.
We take hurtful behaviour very seriously. Most children under the age of five will at some stage hurt or say something hurtful to another child, especially if their emotions are high at the time. For children under five, hurtful behaviour is momentary, spontaneous and often without cognisance of the feelings of the person whom they have hurt.
We recognise that young children behave in hurtful ways towards others because they have not yet developed the means to manage intense feelings that sometimes overwhelm them.
We will help them to manage these feelings, as they have neither the biological means nor the cognitive means to do this for themselves.
We offer support, calming the child who is angry as well as the one who has been hurt by the behaviour.
Our way of responding to pre-verbal children is to calm them through holding and cuddling. Verbal children will also respond to cuddling to calm them down, but we offer them an explanation and discuss the incident with them, to their level of understanding.
We recognise that young children require help in understanding the range of feelings they experience. We help children recognise their feelings by naming them and helping children to express them, making a connection verbally between the event and the feeling. Older children will be able to verbalise their feelings better, talking through themselves the feelings that motivated the behaviour.
We help young children learn to empathise with others, understanding that they have feelings too, and that their actions impact on others’ feelings.
We help young children develop pro-social behaviour, such as resolving conflict over who has the toy.
We are aware that the same problem may happen over and over before skills such as sharing and turn-taking develop. In order for both the biological maturation and cognitive development to take place, children will need repeated experiences with problem solving, supported by patient adults and clear boundaries.
We support social skills through modelling behaviour, through activities, drama and stories. We build self-esteem and confidence in children, recognising their emotional needs through close and committed relationships with them.
We help a child to understand the effect that their hurtful behaviour has had on another child, we do not force children to say sorry, but encourage this where it is clear that they are genuinely sorry and wish to show this to the person they have hurt.
When hurtful behaviour becomes problematic, we work with parents to identify the cause and find a solution together.
Where this does not work, we use the Code of Practice to support the child and family, making the appropriate referrals to a Behaviour Support Team, Health Visitor or GP, where necessary.