Positive Behavioral Practices Policy

Positive relationships are built with the children daily.  The children are greeted each morning with a positive attitude and a hearty “Good morning” followed by the child’s name.  Songs are sung during morning and circle time activities that set a positive tone for the day.  Songs include welcoming each child back to the classroom another day and eliciting how they are feeling or their mood at this time.  Time is also given for children to share anything exciting, interesting, or new that happened to them or for them since the last time that they were in the classroom.  Throughout the course of the day, the successful completion of assignments and/or art projects is celebrated through such assignments being placed on the bulletin board in the classroom for all to see or allowing children to verbally share their creations at times of recap of the day’s activities or writers’ workshops.  The birthdays of the children ae also celebrated during snack times with the assistance of the parents who provide the birthday essentials (i.e. cake/cupcakes, chips, juice, or even pizza).

Positive strategies are utilized at our program to encourage children’s positive behaviors.  One of these strategies is modeling positive words and actions.  Staff members serve as examples in our speech.  “I like the way that you are sitting on the carpet” or “I like the way that you are patiently waiting for your turn” is heard often.  Statements like these are then followed by actions that demonstrate the idea.  These statements also serve as acknowledgement of the positive behaviors that the children themselves are exhibiting throughout the course of the day.  Another strategy that is used is encouraging children to verbally describe their feelings.  A child who may be upset or sad about something that happened in the classroom is drawn into a conversation as to what caused that feeling and what can be done to lessen that feeling.  Simply talking about it with the adult or offering and agreeing upon something simple that can be done in the classroom such as allowing extra time to complete tasks can make a big difference.  A third strategy that is used is intervening before negative behaviors or situations occur.  This includes making sure that there are ample materials and supplies for all children to use while completing projects as to avoid the infamous grabbing and snatching or the saying “I need that red marker” that may occur as a result.

Providing Choices

Children are offered choices throughout the day. Upon arrival and during times of free play, children are able to choose the activities/centers in which they would like to participate.  After a certain amount of time, the children are free to choose a different activity/center on a rotating basis.  In addition, children are also given the choice of materials that they would like to use to create a project during free art time (i.e. creating a snowman or snow scene from given supplies such as cotton balls, google eyes, markers, etc.).  Other opportunities for children to make choices include deciding what they would like to eat for snack from what is provided for them by their parents and what playground equipment they would like to play with during outside time.

Children are offered choices to encourage them to choose positive behaviors and responses over negative behaviors and responses.  It happens often in the classroom at times when the required assignments and tasks have been completed.  As opposed to children waiting for other children to complete those required tasks, choices are given to prevent or interrupt negative behaviors.  That child who has finished the tasks may be given the choice to draw a picture or read a book instead of tapping on the table with his pencil.  Choices are given in the form of diversification of instruction.  The same assignment could be accepted or received in a different way for that child who needs it.  The child who gets frustrated with the spelling words would be given the choice to spell the words verbally or write them down on paper.  Children are also given choices that promote and develop problem solving.  For example, during a discussion on magnets, children are given a paper clip and a feather in order to elicit which object will adhere to the magnet.

Redirection

Verbal redirection is used to distract a child away from a challenging behavior or situation and guide them to more appropriate activities or choices.  Simple statements such as “please sit down” or “remember the rules” are often effective.  Verbal redirection is also used in the form of offering alternative choices or options as a means of preventing negative behaviors and calmly addressing potential negative responses.  For example, a child who is on the verge of escalated aggravation while playing with toys with other children may be given the verbal redirection of playing with toys brought from home instead.  Verbal redirection can also be given when the child’s name is called in an authoritative tone in an attempt to encourage positive behavior.

Physical redirection is given when an adult in the classroom stands near a child who may be exhibiting challenging behavior.  Gentle touch is also used when the adult takes a child by the hand and walks with that child away from the respective area or environment.  A child showing anger because of another child who got to the swing set on the playground first to swing would be escorted to another area of the playground to play as a means of calming him down and preventing a negative behavior or a negative response.

Visual cues are often used in the program to guide children’s positive behavior.  They include showing a stop sign to the child who might be talking while the teacher is talking or running in the classroom.  They also include ringing a bell to gather the attention of the children who might not be as calm and peaceful as they should be in the classroom.  It may also be the head of the adult that is shaking no in response to that child who is attempting to distract or bother another child who is not aware of the attempt.

Redirection with attention is a prevalent strategy used to guide the positive behavior of children.  The adult in the classroom is heard many times to say “look how nicely (insert child’s name) is sitting on the carpet” or “(insert child’s name) is working very hard right now.”  This type of redirection with attention shows the other children what is expected and serves as a reminder of what needs to be happening in the classroom.  It also serves as an encouragement to the child who is demonstrating positive behavior.

Rules and Expectations

The rules and expectations for positive behavior are established from the very beginning.  The children are included in the process of developing the rules and expectations of the classroom.  A discussion is had with the adult and the children in the classroom as to what the classroom should look like and what kind of classroom it should be.  A discussion of rules, what they are, and what function they serve is also had.  Questions like “what kinds of rules do you think we need to have in the classroom to make sure that our work gets done and that everyone is safe?” are then asked.  The children’s responses are then noted and adopted/formed as the rules in the classroom.  In addition, rules and expectations are developed for outside of the classroom such as on the playground or in the gym.  These rules and expectations help the children to remember what needs to happen while they are in the program.  With clear rules and expectations in place, the children know what behaviors are allowed and permitted while they are in the program.  As a result of their involvement in developing the rules and expectations, the children take ownership of them and are more likely and ready to follow them.

There is a visual associated with each rule and expectation.  The rules are posted in the classroom and serve as a reminder to the children of what is required.  The rules and expectations are written in short, simple phrases and sentences for the children to understand and are reviewed periodically throughout the year and as needed.

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