When it comes to discipline with young children our philosophy is using positive guidance strategies. We redirect, catch them being good, and use the environment as a tool. With these combined methods we see happy classrooms, filled with happy children, making great choices. The best part? These are methods that work really well not just at school, but at home as well.
Redirection is our primary discipline method.
It’s just as it sounds, we redirect less favorable behavior, for better choices. We give children two options “I can see you aren’t having fun with the blocks anymore. Would you like to work with the sorting tray, or explore a puzzle?” Most often the children will chose from your choices willingly, if not sometimes our teachers have to chose for them.
Secondary, but still vitally important, we catch the kids being good.
Kids seek attention, and the children who seek the most attention will get it however they can. Typically it’s really easy to get attention for poor choices, so we try extra hard to reward great behavior with lots of attention and love. A great example is when the children are lining up to go to the playground. If we thank and praise the children who are lining up well, suddenly everyone is in line. If we only ask the kids who aren’t in line to line up, it turns into a little chaos as everyone else falls away too. By praising good behavior, we foster more good behavior.
Last, but also not least is to change the environment to solve problems.
When we setup our classrooms we know that they will change. Our classrooms evolve to fit the needs of the children. Sometimes we need more open space for larger play, like oversized puzzles and dramatic play scenarios. Other times we need the classroom to have many smaller play stations. Sometimes the children crave extra math science activities, other times they crave cozier places to read books and practice early writing skills. We can actually use the layout of our classrooms to solve behavior problems.
Positive guidance strategies work so well with young children.
They raise the mood of the classroom, make the children feel happy, inspired, and most importantly loved. Positivity is contagious, and that’s true for the classroom too.