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Reducing Behavior Problems in Preschools

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1 Reducing Behavior Problems in Preschools
Meridian International Center PenMedia Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State

2 Behavior Management A  strategy for managing problems or undesirable behaviors that are usually pre-existing by: Eliminating an undesirable or inappropriate behavior Reinforcing and teaching positive social behaviors

3 Children attending Preschool
Each child entering the classroom comes from a different environment Each child comes equipped with a different set of behaviors, skills, knowledge, and attitudes Most children coming to preschool are unaware of what is expected of them Some children will come to preschool with pre-existing conditions that may increase the likelihood of them displaying behavioral problems.

4 Role of Preschool To help child adjust to preschool environment, rules, and activities To accommodate individual and group needs of children entering the preschool Support the child in developing the skills and knowledge to perform well, socially interact, and enjoy the preschool experience

5 What are challenging behaviors
Repeated behaviors that interfere/prevent learning Repeated behaviors that prevent positive social interactions Examples: Tantrums Hitting, biting, pushing, pulling hair, spitting, etc. Swearing, using negative language, shouting, ridiculing others, etc. Destroying property, games, materials, etc. Withdrawing, not interacting, refusing to obey rules

6 Why should we address these behaviors
Children with serious behavioral problems (who do not receive necessary attention and assistance) are more likely to: Fail in school Be less productive citizens Develop more serious behavioral problems Delinquency Aggression Anti-social behaviors Drug abuse

7 What can we do in the preschool
Identify and assess behavior problems early Assist child in learning and applying more appropriate behaviors and responses Enhance child’s knowledge, skills and capacities to respond and interact in the learning environment and with others Provide positive reinforcement and build children’s self confidence and esteem Support parents and child with home based activities Refer children for additional assistance

8 The Preschool Curriculum
The curriculum should have: A strong social skills development component A holistic approach addressing child’s physical, social, emotional, cognitive, and spiritual development A strong communication, language skills and literacy component An interactive and play based approach including using the arts, movement, indoor/outdoor play, problem solving approaches

9 Step 1: Developing Positive Social Skills
All children entering the preschool have a right to be supported in developing positive social skills. Each child will enter the preschool with his/her own “package” of social skills that may be in line with preschool identified “social skills.” Key role of teacher/caregiver is to assist all children in developing their social skills. Social Skills should support: Child’s ability to interact positively with others Child’s own sense of self respect Child’s respect for others – adults and children Child’s self confidence and esteem Child’s sense of belonging to a group

10 Social skills are dependent on the child’s socio-emotional development
Socio-emotional development is based on the child’s sense of: Social competence (knowing what to do and say when with others) Capacity to participate in individual and group work, Understanding and ability to participate within a group setting like taking turns, managing behavior, regulating one’s behavior, not acting out or overstepping rights of others, ability to play in groups of 2 or more children. Responsibility (acting responsibly to self and others) Sharing and taking turns Not harming others – verbally or physically Not destroying property of preschool or others Respect (rights of self and others) Readiness to explore new things – willing to explore and learn new things Pro-social and helping behavior – positive attitudes towards others Capacity to follow directions

11 Socio-emotional development (continued)
Usually there are different levels of socio-emotional development: Child’s ability to express his/her emotions Child’s ability to cope and adapt to different settings and groups Child’s understanding that others have feelings, needs, rights Child’s ability to empathize with other (this is based on development and maturation) Child’s ability to maintain relationships and interactions with others

12 Suggested Activities to Support Social Skills Development
Below are five simple activities to carry out in the classroom. These activities should be done during the first days of the preschool opening with all children of the preschool. These activities should be repeated on a daily basis until almost all of the children have learned how to perform them correctly and in the correct situations. The teacher should observe children during the activity: Do any children show attention problems (cannot focus, easily distracted, forget what is happening around them, play with other items or bother other children) Do any children have speech problems – cannot pronounce certain words, cannot hear well, etc. Do any children seem very shy, withdrawn, fearful of other children Continue to observe these children. Position yourself near them so you can provide more hands on and direct assistance throughout the activities. Do some children show lack of comprehension and have difficulty understanding and following instructions Record your observations over time and see when the child’s behavior seems to improve or get worse Provide one to one assistance and guidance to the child at a later time Continue to repeat this activity with them until they have mastered it. This may take reinforcement, encouragement, praise, and lots of repetition.

13 Social Skills – Teaching Children How to Interact Properly and Respectfully in the Preschool
Select 5 phrases you want children to learn to use appropriately: Hello, my name is ____. What is your name? Please, I would like to use this. Excuse me, I would like to say something. Please stop doing that, it is bothering me. Let’s take turns….you can go first. Write each of these phrases on big posters. In bright, fun colors. Make at least 3 copies of each phrase. Post these phrases throughout the classroom.

14 Suggested Activity #1 “Hello, my name is”
Group children (around 6-10 children only) in a circle. Ask the children, to repeat the phrase – “Hello, my name is…..” (Write this phrase on 3 posters and show them to the child and explain what the words say and mean) Let them go around the circle and introduce who they are. Each child will step forward and say – “Hello my name is _____Ahmed.” The other children should respond by saying, “Hello, Ahmed.” Then the children should be instructed to turn to their right and say, “Hello my name is ( ). What is your name?” Then they should turn to the left and do the same. After that let the children walk around the group and introduce themselves to others and get to know the other children. (The teacher should observe the group and notice if any children are having a problem introducing themselves and/or listening to other children.) Approach children who are having problems and support them in introducing themselves and listening to others. Introduce yourself to the child, have him introduce himself/herself – encourage them and praise them. Take the child’s hand and guide them to another child. Encourage them to introduce themselves…. Repeat 2-3 times Show the poster with the words, “Hello my name is…..” and ask them where they would like to place these posters in the classroom to remind them to use these nice words. Suggested areas – near the entrance of the room, in the free play area, and near outdoor play areas.

15 Suggested Activity #2 Regroup the children around a table that has an object for every child. This could include crayons, pencils, blocks, small cars, or any type of small object. Have the children repeat the phrase, “Please, may I use/play with this?” Have them repeat the phrase five times. Then tell the children that each one will be able to select one item off the table. But before taking the object, they must ask for it. This is done by saying, “ Please may I use/play with this?” The group should respond by saying, “Yes you may.” After the group says this, the child is allowed to take the item. Repeat this until all the children have taken an item. The teacher can then say, Thank You! You have all been very nice and polite. We will always use this phrase when we want to use something that is not our own. She can then tell the children, “Please put everything back on the table. Thank you very much.” (The teacher should observe children consistently to make sure that they use this phrase when they are playing with others. Remind children to use the phrase. Explain to children why it is important to ask permission to use things that don’t belong to them. This way, they are following the social rules that respect the property of others. They will know that they can use something, no one will get mad.)

16 Suggested Activity #3 “Excuse me, I would like to say something”
Group the children in a circle sitting on the floor. Hand each child a picture or photograph or object that the child can easily describe (for example, a tomato, tree, car, etc.) Ask each child to repeat after you, “Excuse me, I would like to say something.” Let them repeat this 5 times (or until they can say it correctly.) Then the teacher initiates the activity. She says, “ Excuse me, I would like to say something.” She then shows children a picture of a child and begins to talk with the children. “This is “Suha.” Suha loves to play and talk. Every time she has something to say, she raises her hand and says, “Excuse me, I would like to say something!” Let’s all remember to do the same. Let’s try it now. Who would like to go next and tell us about their picture/photo? A child should then be selected to talk about his/her picture. Make sure to encourage the child to say, “Excuse me, I would like to say something.” When the child says, Excuse me….the other children should all say together, “Yes you may!!!” Each child gets a turn practicing to say…Excuse me! And then to tell about their picture. After each child says, “Excuse me, I would like to say something,” the group of children should reply, “Yes you may.” This activity encourages children to learn to listen to one another. It helps them to understand that they should ask permission to speak in class and take turns listening to one another. During this exercise, encourage children not to interrupt one another. Praise all those who are following the rules and assist those who are having difficulty remembering to use these words. Provide them with one on one assistance and repetition of the activity throughout the day and in different corners of the preschool.

17 Suggested Activity #4 “Please stop doing that!”
Have children sit in a circle. Ask each child to name one thing that they don’t like other children to do to them…push them, yell at them, take their toys, use bad words Ask the children to stand up. Tell them to repeat after you…”Please stop doing that!” They should say it in a firm, but not loud voice. Repeat this five times. Now have the children sit down again. Ask one child to stand. Tell him he should walk around the circle and slightly push/tap a child on the shoulder. The child who has been touched should stand up, face the other child and say firmly, “Please stop doing that!” Both children should then sit down besides each other. Ask another child to stand up and enter into the circle. Ask the child, to move very close to another child. That child, should then stand up and say, “Please stop doing that.” Both children should then sit down besides each other. Have another child stand up and have him try to take something from another child. The other child should stand up and say, “Please stop doing that!” Both children should sit down besides each other. The teacher should then remind the children of what to say if someone is bothering them. She should explain that no hitting, swearing or yelling is to be permitted in the preschool. If someone bothers them they should report him/her to the teacher after they have asked the child to stop doing that kind of behavior. Show them the poster with the words…Please stop doing that!!! Reinforce and praise good behavior and help those children who are having a difficult time implementing the activity. Reminder: Teachers should listen to all complaints from children and respond to them. Ignoring what children have to say will lead them to act out in class and revert to negative behavior.

18 Suggested Activity #5 “Let’s take turns… you can go first”
Take the children outdoors. Use the swings, the slide, or bicycles to teach children how to take turns. Ask children to line up by height….the tallest in the front and the shortest in the back. When they are in line….ask them, “Who wants to swing (or slide or ride bikes…which ever activity you are doing? Usually all of them want to do it. Explain that there are more children than swings or slides. Ask them to tell you how to make sure everyone gets a turn. By using the words, “Let’s take turns…you can go first!” Have the children repeat the words, “Let’s take turns…you can go first!” Now ask the children to partner with the person behind them. They should now practice using and applying the practice of taking turns. So one of them should initiate…”Let’s take turns” Then they can proceed to take turns on the slide, etc. This activity can also be done indoors within any play area…puzzles, blocks, library, etc. Teacher should reinforce the use of the words and post a sign that shows the words “Please take turns!”

19 Step 2: Developing Cognitive Skills and Knowledge
Children’s cognitive development includes the ability: to process sensory information, to analyze the incoming information, to be able to use the information in short and long term memory processes, to use the information in making comparisons, generalizations, and taking decisions. Children with poor cognitive skills will demonstrate behavioral problems because they either cannot perform the task, cannot remember what they are required to do, or cannot use previously learned information to help them problem solve. Supporting their cognitive development skills usually improves behavior problems. Remember – cognitive development doesn’t mean force feeding children with information. It is encouraging children on how to use the information around them…internal processing of information.

20 Support Cognitive Development Through Your Curriculum-based Objectives
Cognitive-language development Analytical skills and mental problem-solving This is usually done through asking questions like…”What happens next? Who do you think did it? How can we solve this problem?” Concentration and memory Keep children focused on the task. Keep them close to the materials, ask them questions, stand by their side, guide them, ask them to tell you what they are doing, and what they will do next. Provide encouragement and reinforcement. Asking questions like, “What did you do yesterday? What did you do this morning?” Early numerical abilities or knowledge of numbers Repeating numbers, singing rhymes that have numbers in them Knowledge of letters Singing the alphabet song, having the alphabet and words posted throughout the classroom and asking child to point and pronounce specific letters and words Language and symbol recognition Fill the classroom with signs and words (red light, green light, stop signs, crosswalk, quiet sign, smiles, handshake, etc. Label things in the classroom…door, window, books, bathroom, kitchen, wall, bookshelf, etc. Ask child to focus on word and say the words on a daily basis Basic literacy Read stories to children, have the child sit nearby you or in a place that you can have direct eye to eye contact. Ask questions…what will happen next, how does the character feel, what would you do in this situation.

21 Suggested Activity #6 I Spy…(I See)
Have 5-6 children sit in a circle. Take one child from the group. Whisper in the child’s ear, “Pick something in the classroom. For example, a book lying on table. Let’s have the other children try to guess what object you are referring to. What color, shape, design is on the book that we can use to give the children a clue? The child might say, the book is red or it is square? The child goes back to the group and says, “I Spy I See something….Red. Guess what it is? Children take turns going around the circle trying to guess what the object is…. The child who guesses correctly now takes a turn at selecting something for the children to guess at. This is a fun game for children. It teaches them to focus on certain characteristics of an object, to listen to others, to see things from the perspectives of others, and helps children to categorize things.

22 Suggested Activity #7 Memory Games
Get five blank sheets of paper. On the first sheet, draw 3 different shapes (circle, square, X) Cut the page into 3 sections. Turn them over and mix them up. Have children try to identify where each of the different shapes are. On the second sheet, draw 4 circles using different colors for each circle. Cut the page into 4 sections. Turn the pictures over and have children try to identify where each of the different colors are. On the third sheet, cut out pictures from magazines or use stickers and place 8 different photos or pictures (animals, vegetables, flowers, etc.) Cut the page into 8 sections. Turn the pictures over and have children try to guess where each of the pictures is located. Or another game is: Have children stand in a group. Each child says his name, and then the next child says his name and the child’s name besides him, and the third child has to say his name and the name of the other two children. Go around the circle and see how many names they can remember.

23 First Steps in the Preschool Setting
Set clear, positive, well defined rules and expectations for children Identify any children who may need more targeted assistance and support in understanding and following the rules and expectations. Modify the classroom environment to accommodate the needs of children who are experiencing difficulties in observing rules (give more open space, provide separate time out and rest areas, mark off specific space for a child, etc.) Identify additional types of activities to assist the child in learning the rules and practicing them more frequently.

24 Preparatory Actions Meet with parents and collect information on the child – needs, behaviors, concerns, likes and dislikes Develop set schedules and routines that are easy to follow and remain consistent Set up clear signals when activities begin, will soon end, and what to do after an activity is completed Carry out activities that encourage and support positive interactions between children – shared accomplishments in building, painting, physical games, etc. Talk to children in clear sentences. Make sure they understand what is expected of them. Tell children what the rules are and what will happen if they do not follow rules…we must all take turns so that we can each have a ride on the swing, if you push or shove others to get to the swing, you will be asked to sit on the side and will lose your turn. Consistently and constantly observe children – reinforce and encourage positive behavior and guide children who are not following the rules

25 How to implement in the preschool
Write up/Draw the 4 or 5 rules that you want children to follow and post them in strategic locations throughout the preschool. These rules should be easy to follow Identify what you WANT the child to do and not what they SHOULD NOT do. They should be easy to implement Explain the rules to the children, demonstrate what is expected, and have children act out the rules one by one – make sure each child understands what the rules are and why they should follow the rule. Be consistent in observing children as they implement the rule – reinforce positive behaviors and encourage children who are not obeying on how to follow the rules. If a child repetitively disregards the rules then identify 2-3 consequences (child cannot participate in an activity for 5 minutes, the child will have to repeat the appropriate behavior, the child will not get a sticker, etc.) Constantly observe children, move close by them and observe what they are doing Provide them with reminders (Now we are going to eat….what are the rules…Pick up the toys and games and put them away, line up, and move to the bathroom to wash our hands!) Observe children who seem to have difficulty following the rules and identify what is the cause – lack of attention, forgetting, in a hurry, etc. Assist child in learning how to apply the rule…step by step instruction, acting out the behavior, providing immediate hands on assistance in a repetitive manner until the child learns the behavior (provide consistent reminders when necessary.) Reinforce positive behavior with rewards that the CHILD likes.

26 5 Steps Explain (why and what is expected)
Demonstrate and Model (teacher and child) Rehearse/ Guided Practice (reinforce positive behavior) Perform Independently (consistent observation and guidance for children) Review/Reteach (not all children learn at the same rate, individual differences in applying rules)

27 Helping children to learn positive behaviors
Preschool activities should be kept between minutes. For children experiencing difficulties divide activities into smaller parts (5 minutes) and then move to next activity or task. Teacher should provide one to one assistance and guidance with children – hands on, close and personal interventions…”Ahmed here is your crayon, here is your paper, where do you want to sit? Keep the child focused and move them through the activities. Support children in partnering with one another – children learn from one another and can be mentors. This will allow them to complete activities “together” and raise likelihood of success. Place signs, written words, pictures in certain places to remind children what to do…”smile”, “share” “wash hands” “pick up toys” “listen” “talk quietly” etc. Set up a reward systems for good behavior….children gather points for listening, washing, etc. At the end of the day they get a sticker, take home a book, or get to be the first one in line if they have gathered a certain number of points.

28 Students who don’t follow rules/expectations
All behavior happen within a particular context All behavior serves a purpose Children learn to behave or misbehave based on whether it addresses their needs Understanding why children act the way they do is the first step in problem solving

29 Why children “misbehave”
Sometimes to escape from doing an activity, task or event that they do not like or feel incompetent in Sometimes to get attention Sometimes because they may have difficulty in performance and comprehension Personal reward and gratification To be in power, to take control over others, or revenge Teacher must observe children’s behavior to determine possible causes for misbehaving and the “reward” the child is receiving for acting this way.

30 Pre-Discipline Before thinking about how or what kind of disciplining program you want to support: Ensure you develop a warm, considerate and supportive relationship with the child. Without this, the child is less likely to be responsive to you. Always demonstrate positive, appropriate and Observe the child’s/children’s behavior and be able to identify quickly changes in the child’s behavior and emotional state so that you can interfere quickly before the behavior or emotion gets out of control Teach the child to identify and communicate his/her emotional states, identify behaviors or situations that are upsetting to them, to seek out assistance when they need it Help the child to learn how to control their behaviors and prevent them selves from carrying out negative behaviors (those that hurt themselves or others) Assist the child in calming down first. Then address the problem and how it impacted on self and others Help the child to understand how the other child feels, help them to talk to one another Develop and foster positive, supportive relationships with the child

31 Discipline No type of physical punishment is acceptable.
Disciplining is a way of positively educating a child. Time out Remove child from setting Remove toy or game Reduce attention and reinforcement to child

32 Reinforcement and Rewards
Praise and approval for good behavior – good job, nice drawing, you are smart, etc. Modeling appropriate behavior – teacher talks quietly, listens, takes turns, is polite, smiles, etc. Positive programming – rewarding small steps in each of the activities as the child performs them – by developing new skills – “holding crayons, lining up, holding books, sharing toys” Shaping – reinforcing behaviors that are similar to the positive behaviors you are seeking. “Smiling at child who is playing well with others, encourage child who is helping to pick up toys” Token economy – giving child points for each good behavior. Points can then be exchanged for a reward – child gets to pick which activity they will do or wants to do

33 Steps in Analyzing Child’s Behavior
Teacher should discuss the following issues in consultation with other teachers who may also be interacting with the child: What behavior is of concern to the teachers? When does this behavior appear: Identify potential causes for the behavior – child is frustrated, child is tired, child is uninterested Who is around the child? Where is this behavior more likely to take place at? What happens after the child misbehaves? Do other children give the child what he/she wants? Does the child get to stop doing the activity? Does the child get more attention? Does the child have any kind of disability or learning difficulties? Is the child hyperactive, impulsive, have difficulty concentrating/ paying attention Does the child have any kind of physical difficulties – movement, visual, hearing, Does the child show signs of difficulty in communicating, autism, mental retardation Does the child have a learning disability – reading, writing, math, memory, etc. How can you change the behavior? Discuss the issue with parents and see if there are joint actions to take in the classroom and at home Discuss joint approaches to reinforcing child and guiding them towards appropriate behavior Discuss behavior with child, what is expected of them and what actions will be taken when they misbehave Assist child in developing skills to carry out activities or perform in a way that is not frustrating or limiting to the child.

34 Intervention Plan Identify potential causes for child’s behavior
Teaching strategies Communication and expression Skills Consequences are in place Child is tired, hungry, unable to perform the task, is being ignored by the children…. Teacher supports child in expressing what their needs are… “I am hungry, I am tired, I do not want to do this activity, no one is playing with me…” Teacher supports development of skills – “let’s read together, get the blocks from the top shelf, stand in line…” Teacher reinforces positive behavior and explains to child what happens if they do not follow the rules…time out, lose a turn, etc.

35 Behavior Intervention Plan
Identify what behavior you want to change Set the goal. Discuss with the child what the goal is and how you will work together to achieve Decide what social skills are needed to perform the behavior Decide what performance skills are needed to perform the behavior Decide on what curriculum or environmental adaptations are needed Decide on what consequences child will receive Types of reinforcement Types of discipline

36 Problem Behaviors Is the child demonstrating any of the following behavioral problems: Aggressive Behavior: Hitting, Biting, Pushing, Tantrums, Destroying Property/ Injuring Self, Swearing, Non compliant behavior Communication problems – not able to speak, not fluent in speech, speech articulation problems, problems with voice, non-communicative, non-responsive, other Personal care – not able to dress alone, not able to use toilet properly, poor hygiene habits, problems eating Physical disability – visual, hearing, motor, gross motor, fine mother, mental or psychological problems, seizures, Psychological problems – poor attention, withdrawn or isolated behavior, lacks concentration, anxious, fear of separation, loss of interest, depressed, hyper active Academic problems – poor logico-mathematical skills and knowledge, poor pre-literacy and/or literacy and writing skills, poor comprehension of science/exploration/curiosity .

37 Initial Actions To Take
Discuss problem with other teachers and parents to get more information on behavior and causes Review class dynamics – is behavior happening during certain hours of the day, during certain activities, with certain children? Does the child do better in small group work, large group work, individual play/work Does the child perform better when there is more space around him/her Does the child perform better when he/she is in quiet area or separate from the group Does the child do better when you give them small, short, clear tasks with directions Does the child do better when he/she is given more freedom and selection of activities Does the child need more breaks Does the child need more one on one contact and assistance

38 Initial Actions To Implement
Break down the exercise or task into smaller, shorter steps Support the child with one on one assistance – two to three times Guide him/her on the activity Demonstrate for the child what behavior or outcome you are seeking Role model the behavior or show child a model of what is expected Giver feedback consistently and reinforce good behavior Change activity if child appears very frustrated Allow the child more time to complete the activity Encourage the child to continue with work and reinforce Change the activity slightly by making it easier or using different colors, materials, etc. so the child remains engaged and interested

39 Parent Involvement Discuss the plan with the parent
Identify what actions can be done at home to eliminate the negative behaviors Identify means of sharing information Identify set plan of action to adopt within the home environment Agree upon reinforcements and disciplinary actions.

40 Children with Special Needs/Conditions
Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD – poor attention impulsivity overactive behavior The frequency, duration and severity of these behaviors is constant. Emotional and behavioral disorders Autism Learning difficulties Special needs

41 Children with Special Needs
Discuss behaviors and interventions with parents Identify additional support networks outside of the preschool if necessary Support other children’s understanding of differences in children and tolerance and acceptance Discuss need to coordinate plans and support mechanisms within the preschool or through parent involvement Set realistic expectations and goals for the child Support child-child partnering

42 Slow and steady Preschool and home involvement are necessary
In preschool cooperation and coordination is necessary Allocation of additional support from specialists should be sought when necessary Consistent, thorough work with the child usually will lead to progress

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