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Preschool Behavior

  • 1.  Preschool Behavior

    Posted 05-20-2017 03:00 PM
    Has anyone had excellent professional development on how to handle aggressive behaviors (kicking, spitting, hitting, etc) for preschool aged students?  I am interested to hear if anyone has a program they use or have had success.

    Tim Wagner

  • 2.  RE: Preschool Behavior

    Posted 05-21-2017 07:05 AM
    I work in a developmental day school and see this behavior daily.   I find that you have to figure out what the underlying cause for the behavior and work on teaching a replacement behavior to get what  the child needs.  
    If the child is angry teach the child some calming techniques and away to say how they feel.  Working with challenging behaviors is hard. Overall make sure you give that you give that behavior to the child.  It's all about the child and how whatever is going on is affecting the child.  Good luck! 

    Luci Barnes
    Lead Teacher
    Child Development Center
    Wilmington, NC

  • 3.  RE: Preschool Behavior

    Posted 05-21-2017 08:55 AM
    ♥Hi.  Before, during and after (BDA). Chart the answers and look for a pattern.  Ask yourself what happened 5 minutes before the inappropriate behavior, what exactly did the child do during event and lastly what was your response (and the other children in the area) after the child's inappropriate behavior.  Example:  Before the child kicks he walked over to the wall between the preschool/infant room. After you intervened he was fine until he went back to standing by the wall.  POSSIBLE ANSWER:  He hears a baby crying the the room next door, becomes frustrated because he thinks it is his brother.  At home his dad always tells him "go check on your brother" when the baby cries.  He couldn't do it at the center and became frustrated.  Now you see the child standing at the adjoining wall and tell him, oh you hear a baby he is okay, Miss Lisa is helping him. BDA is critical to choosing the correct response.  If the behavior keeps happening go back to BDA, there is a pattern....keep looking and change your response.

    New Braunfels, TX

  • 4.  RE: Preschool Behavior

    Posted 05-21-2017 02:04 PM
    My name Maria. I've been working with preschoolers for almost two decades. What I do is that I explain the rules to the children about kicking, hitting, and more. Then I read books related to the topic to help them to understand more, I use visuals, puppets, doll toys and more. Being consistent with them and tell them every time they hit, kick, spit, etc. Also, I tell them to use their words instead of hitting. Also, I read, Hans Are Not for Hitting. Feet Are Not for kicking. Words Are Not for Hurting. They are many resources on how to teach these children. Good luck!

    Sent from my iPhone

  • 5.  RE: Preschool Behavior

    Posted 05-21-2017 06:34 PM
    Timothy, this was a hot topic at the McCormick Center's Leadership Connections conference from which I just returned. I spoke on something else, but listened at two sessions on the topic of troublesome behaviors. My background is psychology specializing in child development, and I think that we need to add some elements to our thinking. Sometimes noting time, place, background, and staff, solves the problem, but most of the responses to acting out behavior, even when the staff understands there are causes that make the behavior understandable, are still punitive. The negative evidence regarding even brain limitations from punishment is substantial, so we need to take another look at what we are doing. I claim that a child who has been aggressive needs soothing, treated like they have made a mistake, but not on purpose. They have just done the best they know how to do. Soothing is the crucial response of caregivers that overcomes many mistakes. It's scaffolding for learning. A child who isn't fearful of a teacher, doesn't expect to be punished, can think far more clearly about what went wrong with her negative response to something than if she is anxious or otherwise distracted.

    Jack Wright
    Success With Children
    St. Ignatius MT

  • 6.  RE: Preschool Behavior

    Posted 05-22-2017 09:36 AM
    Conscious Discipline from Becky Bailey.  It emphasizes that children are responsible for their own behavior.  It's a very positive and gentle way to interact with children, acknowledging their feelings.  I wish I had learned it in college (many many years ago).

    Mary Marjorie Shaw
    La Vista Public Library
    La Vista, NE

  • 7.  RE: Preschool Behavior

    Posted 05-22-2017 09:57 AM
    I respond to my toddlers in a similar manner that Jack recommended, "A child who isn't fearful of a teacher, doesn't expect to be punished, can think far more clearly about what went wrong with her negative response to something than if she is anxious or otherwise distracted." Often, I witness my co-teachers reprimanding or redirecting the aggressive child away from the child they are being aggressive towards and comforting the them. I responded differently, by comforting the aggressor, a child I am close with, and he responded well, calming himself in my lap. The other child was free from the aggression, and continued playing as he had been before. 

    In the traditional childcare center where I work, we have a lot of restrictions imposed on us for allowing children to 
    climb, throw, and move in wide, open spaces. As my infants have grown into toddlers, they've outgrown our room. The more time they spend outdoors or in our larger activity room, the less I see aggressive behaviors towards each other. 

    I'm a proponent of affording children as much outdoor time as possible, and I've seen no aggressive behavior when my group of children are outdoors.

    Mary Russell
    Journeys Out Yonder
    Boulder CO

  • 8.  RE: Preschool Behavior

    Posted 05-22-2017 12:27 PM

    This is a helpful and interesting thread addressing a core issue for all in early childhood. It's all good advice-but my feeling is there is no "silver bullet" here, in terms of one or two good professional development sessions. That being said, there are a variety of resources and approaches that provide guidance and skills that incorporate the best of what is mentioned above, in particular Nancy's advice re: BDA (akin to what I've seen described as "ABC": Antecedent, Behavior, Consequence) and the thoughts of Luci, Jack and Mary, which reflect approaches influenced by recognized infant/early childhood mental health principles.

    Every state represented in this thread so far has a QRIS in place, which should be a good resource. Here in Pennsylvania, as well as in Texas (Nancy's home, above) and Colorado (Mary) among others, there are not only QRIS systems but also active state associations of infant mental health. (In Texas, this organization is called First3Years Texas; in Colorado, the Colorado Association for Infant Mental Health, or CO-AIMH.) These states and many others are implementing specialized professional development opportunities that are competency-based and focus on healthy relationships and cultural sensitivity.

    As part of our work at Project LAUNCH in Pennsylvania (and the Project LAUNCH located in Weld County, CO, among other sites) there is direct collaboration between the state AIMH organization and Project LAUNCH to implement these opportunities. I highly recommend that anyone committed to positive approaches to these challenges seek out their state's Project LAUNCH, QRIS system or IMH association for more information. For contact information for Project LAUNCH programs and state QRIS systems, see the following sites:

    National Resource Center for Mental Health Promotion and Youth Violence Prevention, Project LAUNCH Grantees | National Resource Center for Mental Health Promotion and Youth Violence Prevention (to see states, localities and tribes implementing programs supporting early childhood wellness, including professional development, through Project LAUNCH)

    QRIS National Learning Network, QRIS State Contacts & Map | QRIS National Learning Network | (for state contacts at QRIS systems)

    Hope this is helpful!


    Patrick Webster
    IMH Learning Collaborative Project Manager
    PA Project LAUNCH
    Matilda Theiss Early Childhood Behavioral Health
    Pittsburgh, PA

  • 9.  RE: Preschool Behavior

    Posted 05-22-2017 12:34 PM
    We have been working on getting all of our staff trained in Pyramid Plus, which helps them gain skills in understanding the behaviors and in knowing how to help children learn more appropriate ways of working through their emotions. It's a long course, but well worth it. We also use the Second Step curriculum with our children, to help them begin learning and practicing self-regulation techniques. The classrooms we see having the most success in our organization are the ones that put all these ideas into place from day one, and follow through with the strategies throughout the year.

    Dorothy Frederick
    Colorado Springs CO

  • 10.  RE: Preschool Behavior

    Posted 05-22-2017 02:06 PM
    I second Luci Barnes' response to look for underlying causes for behaviors.  I suggest asking the parents about the child's sleep. Preschoolers require between 10-13 hours of sleep.  Inadequate sleep has been shown to impair social-emotional (and cognitive) function in young children. When we bring our Sweet Dreamzzz Early Childhood Sleep Education Program™ to Head Start classrooms, children get more sleep, and teachers report - among other benefits - student improvements in emotional well-being and relationships with others.  Sleep has a significant impact on behavior and focus in the classroom.  Teaching healthy sleep habits and a bedtime routine can really make a difference!

    Ann Raftery
    Sweet Dreamzzz
    Farmington MI

  • 11.  RE: Preschool Behavior

    Posted 05-22-2017 02:36 PM
    Becky Baily 's Conscious Discipline and there are lots of online resources.  Jill Molli Is amazing and does consult.  She will visit your school!
    Scream Free Parenting - it works for teachers too!  by Hall Runkle   You can also buy the workbooks and videos. 
    Love and logic good too!

    Susan Lindaman
    Sullivan MO

  • 12.  RE: Preschool Behavior

    Posted 05-23-2017 06:13 AM
    All these strategies are helpful advice, I'm sure. However, there is an important aspect missing in this discussion. And that is how do you feel about children's behaviors?

    How were we disciplined when we were children? How might that affect how we choose our interactions, behaviors, and strategies? Self reflection about our own emotional development, and how we were raised when we were young can often help us as we make those choices. Most of us filter our discipline strategies through emotional memory of how we were punished. It helps us to make connections between how we feel with what we do, for time and again we are tested with our responses when there are strong emotions. Discipline is all about strong emotions - of children and teachers - and it is all about relationships with each other and ourselves. Indeed, it is a large, complex, emotional topic with no quick fixes.

    Tamar Jacobson, Ph.D.
    Rider University
    Lawrenceville, New Jersey