Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Guiding Young Children's Behavior

I sometimes hear teachers talk about classroom discipline.  The difference between child guidance and discipline is sometimes seen as pretty much the same as whether a child is stubborn or determined.  It all depends on your perspective.  We all have the same goal of having the children in our programs behave appropriately and must train our staff in what they can and cannot do to achieve those goals.  However, it's also very important that our staff understand our philosophy of child guidance.

So, guidance or discipline?  If we simply look at the definitions of the two words, the difference is pretty clear. 
  • guidance--"supervised care or assistance" or "advice or counseling"
  • discipline--"training to act in accordance with rules" or even "punishment inflicted by way of correction and training"
Obviously, "discipline" has a negative connotation and punishment certainly has no place in a child care program.  Our goal is not to have children who follow our directions for fear of reprisal.  Our goal is to help children to develop self-control and good problem-solving techniques. 

We do this by:
  • making sure children know the rules of the environment, the choices they can make, and the consequences of their choices
  • never referring to a child as "bad"; the child is not bad, he or she just made a poor choice.
  • talking with children when they make poor choices so that they understand why the choice was poor and how they can make better choices next time
If you don't already have a written Child Guidance Policy, check ours out at: http://daycaretools.com/DaycareProducts.aspx#Policies
Image courtesy of www.freedigitalphotos.net

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