Positive Guidance For Preschoolers
At” Little Elly”, we believe young children are innately valuable, deserving of our love and respect. These preschoolers are still emotionally and socially maturing. They are new to the school environment and have little life experience and verbal ability, therefore they require our assistance. We need to lead children’s social and emotional development by constantly guiding them to cope with their new environment.
Positive guidance is founded on the idea that any method of child guidance should emphasise the development of a child’s self-control rather than only on a behavioural outcome. It might necessitate a mindset change. We must first recognise that it is not our role as teachers to remove conflict, disappointment, and frustration from children’s environment, but rather to educate them how to cope with those situations and emotions responsibly. We must also recognise that a child’s behaviour is a reflection of the child’s choices, not of us and our abilities as teachers.
It is our responsibility to help children develop self-control and pro-social habits so that they make better decisions in the future. Positive guidance emphasises the child’s authority over themselves rather than the adult’s control over them.
It’s not the normal reward system or sticker chart for good behaviour. These systems frequently produce immediate outcomes, but their long-term impact on behaviour is limited. When you run out of stickers, candy, or toys, children lose interest. Similarly, children who respond positively to such situations in one setting, such as the classroom, have no incentive to continue those positive behaviours at home or elsewhere.
It is very important for the teachers to be attentive and listen with undivided attention to understand the needs and respond positively with realistic expectations. Create and keep a regular routine in the classroom. Each child is unique. Set expectations according to the child and not set based on yourself. Example: If the child is taking more time to complete the given task, respect the effort put by the child and guide the child with positive strokes to complete the task.
Use of positive words are very important in the classroom. Instead of using the negative word “Don’t”, use a positive word “Please” to motivate children. Example: “please put away the toys back in the box”, can bring in a lot of positivity in the child.
As teachers we are always in the habit of ordering and not giving the child the choice to make their decisions. Instead, give the children the choice to decide what they want to do. Always keep two simple choices for them to choose. This helps them to develop mentally and make choices and give them the ownership of an activity or behaviour. Example: Give two books to choose from the class library.
Teach the children the problem solving strategy. If we have two children wanting to use the same toy at the same time, talk to them and acknowledge that you understand that they are either angry or sad as they have chosen the same toy and both want to play with the same toy at the same time or ask them to take turns to play with them. Explain the situation and work along with the child to fix the problem. Example: “ I understand you are angry because she has taken away your toy. Are there any other toys here that can make you happy”?
Positive guidance strategies are important for teachers to establish a positive dynamic between teacher and child. Listening and talking to the children helps solve most of the problems. Furthermore, these strategies help in fostering a more positive relationship between children and teachers. Children will slowly start making positive choices and follow adult expectations, allowing the children to have faith in their ability to make decisions as they grow.