F.6. Behavior Guidance and Discipline

UNOW Behavior Guidance and Discipline Policy (1.2019)

A copy of this policy is also provided to families at the new family orientation and is posted on the bulletin board in the main lobby.  Additional copies are available upon request.

The basis of the guidance and discipline policy at UNOW is to encourage positive behavior and successful experiences for children.  Children generally desire positive attention from adults. Negative behavior is greatly diminished when those adults provide a supportive and nurturing environment.  Building positive and respectful relationships with children is important in minimizing negative behaviors and maximizing positive experiences for children.

The teachers and staff provide a safe, hazard free setting with careful supervision.  The classroom daily schedule, curriculum plans, room arrangements and staffing patterns are designed to promote positive and enjoyable learning experiences.  Picture schedules are visible to children to help them understand the daily routine. Teachers, staff and students model and promote respectful and trusting relationships between adults and children.  The daily curriculum includes activities that promote respect for others and verbal expression and understanding of feelings.  Consistency and following a daily routine, reinforcing positive behavior, redirecting and setting clear limits are the foundation for facilitating the development of self-control.  Because we recognize that young children may not understand or remember the rules provided for their safety, these rules or limits are frequently restated and defined. Safety rules will be written and posted in the classroom for reference.  Older children may participate in establishing the safety rules. Though there are common limits and guidelines set by UNOW, each teacher individualizes their responses according to each child and each situation and depending on their developmental abilities.  The rules should be brief and few.  They should state the rules for reason of safety, respect for others and property.  It is also important to include what the child may do in the environment and not always what is restricted, for example, “Blocks are for building not for throwing.  Get a soft ball if you want to throw something.”

In response to potential aggressive and disruptive behavior, teachers, students and staff will:

Prevent or restrict the child from hurting self or others.  A clear, firm and concise reminder of the safety rule is stated. (Example:  take the block out of the child’s hand and say, “You may not throw blocks.  I will keep you and the other children safe.”) Acknowledge child’s feelings of anger, frustration or disappointment.  Once the child calms down, help the child try other more appropriate means of solving the problem. 

In rare instances, if a child is out of control with anger and frustration and poses a danger to self or others, the supervising adult will calmly and firmly remove the child from the situation.  The teacher will stay with the child until the child regains control.  The adult will then help the child work toward a more appropriate resolution of the problem. The objective is to help children re-engage in play in an appropriate way. The Lead Teacher or the Associate teacher may contact the family to inquire about any behavior or family changes occurring at home so we can better support the child through difficult times while at school.  Aggressive or violent behavior will never be ignored. Ignoring aggressive behavior sends the message to the child and other children in the classroom that aggression is acceptable.

It is also important to demonstrate concern for children if they are hurt by another child.  Attention will be given to the injured child in the presence of the perpetrator.  We do not require children to say they are sorry or to “hug and make-up”.  These actions are often not truthful or developmentally appropriate. The teacher can point to the tears and the sad face of the injured child or point to the injured area. Depending on the age of the child, teachers will encourage the perpetrator to offer the injured child an ice pack or to ask the child what they could do to make the injured child feel better. This way we are encouraging true empathy and helping children learn the effects of their behavior.  The injured child will be comforted and encouraged to express their rights and feelings with assertive words and tone.  If the child does not have the language capability to verbally assert their rights the teacher will demonstrate the proper words and posturing.  For instance, “Don’t push me; I don’t like it when you push me”. Aggressive behavior does not just mean physical injury.  There is also the reality of emotional injury and bullying, and is not acceptable behavior. Teachers will set individualized goals and strategies for children who need extra encouragement to be confident or who need to practice skills in expressing feelings appropriately.

If there is a continued pattern of inappropriate behavior lasting more than a week or less, the teachers will document behaviors and patterns.  The teacher will schedule a conference with the parents/guardians to determine appropriate guidance and steps needed to best support the safety and most positive experience for the child as well as the other children in the classroom. The Program Coordinator must be updated and brought in for support if needed prior to meeting with the family.  In partnership with the parents, the teacher will document goals and strategies for developing these behavioral changes. 

If the issue still persists after parents and teachers have attempted to help the child then a Child and Family Support Team Meeting will be scheduled with the Teacher, the Program Coordinator or Director/Associate Director and Parents/guardians.  Documentation of behavior patterns and observations will be brought to the Child and Family Support team. UNOW will with other professionals, and community agencies regarding consultation and referrals for children and families if needed.

If behaviors continue to threaten the safety of the children and staff and the parents/guardians are unwilling to participate in a plan of action and refuse to utilize recommended resources, the UNOW Director may determine to permanently exclude the child from the program. 

Under no circumstances will threats, bodily harm, humiliation or denial of food, toileting concerns or isolation be considered as a means of discipline.