Conflicts naturally occur as children relate to each other in a group setting, and discipline provides an opportunity for growth and learning. To that end, Temple Beth Ami teachers actively engage children in thinking about and discussing positive behaviors in developmentally appropriate ways that facilitate children’s success. Teachers use many techniques when dealing with conflict situations, including:
- Limit setting: Children are given clear, concise, and consistent rules to guide their behavior. Boundaries and expectations expand as children grow, and children are given the opportunity to participate in the identification and definition of the classroom rules.
- Modeling: Adults clearly demonstrate compassionate, caring behaviors that provide examples for children to follow. Children are shown expected behaviors.
- Offering Choices: Children are given choices throughout the day, as appropriate, to choose their activities, thereby gaining control over their routine, interactions, and behaviors.
- Generating Options: After a conflict occurs, children are given the opportunity to reflect on the situation and children are given tools to settle future conflicts.
- Delayed Involvement: Teachers give children time to work through their own problems but are always available to engage with the children if they cannot yet reach a solution independently.
- Identifying/Interpreting/Validating: Teachers clarify difficulties and facilitate problem solving to help children learn to express and understand their feelings and frustrations, as well as those of other people.
- Redirection: A request to stop a negative behavior comes with a suggestion for an appropriate replacement behavior.
- Natural consequences: Teachers explain and reinforce natural consequences as they occur. Children see the results of their own behavior and begin to modify it accordingly.
Challenging behaviors that fall outside of developmental expectations include:
- Any physical aggression that puts another person at risk of being hurt, such as biting, spitting, scratching, hitting, pushing, or throwing objects.
- Any behavior that disrupts the flow of the classroom and consistently takes a teacher away from the other students, such as screaming, destroying property, or running away.
When such challenging behaviors continue despite consistent implementation of the techniques listed above, parents will be contacted to discuss strategies and consider next steps. The professional staff is committed to open and honest communication, and we expect that parents will take an active role in helping us collect all relevant information pertaining to their child. In some cases, parents may be advised to seek outside professional support in order to promote their child’s development. In rare cases, after all of the above avenues have been explored, a child may be asked to leave the school. In that case, we will make every effort to help the family find a more suitable placement and help ensure a smooth and positive transition for the child.