Our Approach to Guidance
The goal of any necessary "discipline" or guidance at the Infant/Toddler Lab School is to promote life-long self-control and self-discipline in children. We want children to learn to make appropriate choices by themselves and not to rely on adults to control their behavior for them.
In accordance with our goals of discipline, we utilize supportive guidance techniques that help children make choices about their behavior and build their self-esteem. We do this with positive attention and by setting appropriate limits.
Constructive methods are used in maintaining group management and handling individual behavior. Examples of constructive methods are as follows:
- Children are treated with respect and dignity at all times.
- The teachers give verbal instructions that are short, specific, and clear. The staff focuses on what the child should do (in a positive way) rather than what not to do.
- The teachers genuinely acknowledge children's positive/prosocial behavior.
- The teachers attempt to understand the possible reasons behind a child's behavior (e.g., fatigue, illness, unrealistic expectations for their developmental level, emotional environment at home, difficulty with self-control, frustration).
- The teachers use techniques which help to build long term inner self-control and positive developmental outcomes in children (e.g., providing them with words or gestures to express themselves appropriately, giving them choices whenever possible, using redirection, identifying and describing children's feelings, using reflective statements, giving reasons for limits, or changing the environment as a preventive means).
- When there is a conflict between children, the teachers use techniques that teach children to problem solve and negotiate with one another (depending on their developmental level).
- The use of external positive or negative reinforcers, which cause the child to perform to earn a reward or frighten a child out of a behavior for fear of punishment, are not used. Instead, the teachers value intrinsic rewards (rewards that are inherent to a task or activity itself) (e.g., personal satisfaction from working hard to clean up the blocks).
- Discipline problems are handled in the environment in which they occur.
- Although biting and aggressive behavior are not uncommon in children under three years of age, in excessive situations, families will be asked to meet with the Head Teacher and Director to discuss the situation and to come up with a plan to discontinue the aggressive episodes.
- At the Lab School, we do not use "time out" as it is not developmentally-appropriate.