A certain amount of aggressive behavior, both physical and verbal, is expected in a group setting. Much of this behavior is normal and is related to certain developmental stages. However, aggressive behavior may become problematic for the teachers, the group of children, or even the families involved.
At the Center we deal with inappropriate behavior by following:
- Prevention – We structure activities and the environment so that confrontation is less likely to happen.
- Distraction and redirection – We encourage children who are having difficulty interacting with others to become involved with another activity or toy and/or help the child to verbalize his or her feelings.
- Removal – If the above techniques are not successful, and the child continues to act out we will remove the child from his or her immediate area for safety reasons and ask them to go to another area in the classroom. In extreme circumstances, when the safety of the child and/or others is jeopardized the child will be removed from the classroom and be under the supervision of another staff member until the behavior subsides. Parents may be called and asked to have their child picked up. Additionally, there may be circumstances where our program can not meet a child needs and a decision made to find a more suitable program.
The Center does not believe in formal time outs where children are asked to sit out and think about what they have done. Although, this may work for some children, as a general rule we believe that much older children may benefit more from this type of discipline but not the population we serve.
There are a number of things we look at if a child shows a pattern of aggressive behavior and our regular classroom approaches do not seem to change the pattern. We discuss the situation with the child’s parents. We will explore the child’s behavior at home as compared with the child’s behavior at school, in order to determine whether there is any correlation between the two patterns. We may encourage the parents to talk with their pediatrician and/or early intervention specialists. At this stage, the teachers will work with our Education Coordinator and Executive Director in collaboration with the parents on approaches to the problem.
It is important for teachers to communicate with the parents of the children who are at the receiving end of aggressive behavior and with the parents of the aggressive child. Our policy is not to give out the names of children who have been the aggressors. We also encourage parents to speak with their child’s teacher. As with all other parental concerns, the parents may always speak with the Executive Director.