Headstart (or any preK) behavior management

Discussion in 'Preschool' started by webmistress, Jul 20, 2011.

  1. webmistress

    webmistress Devotee

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    Jul 20, 2011

    Headstart (or general preK) behavior management

    I'm more comfortable with grades 2-5. My style usually works extremely well in those grade levels. (Stay in your seat, raise hand to speak, strict list of consequences for misbehavior, no tattling--instead write me a note, respect your neighbors, etc). I have a much harder time with the younger ones though. I do well according to other teachers, but I'm way more frustrated and drained after subbing kinder and 1st graders.

    Being that I have an interview with Headstart coming up, my biggest concern is managing the behavior of 4 year olds. I know I can do it, but need some guidance. So what is your behavioral management plan?
     
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  3. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Prevention is the key with young ones. Knowing your children and predicting behaviour and intercepting it is key. Here are some standard HS answers:

    1. Removal--of the child or the toy
    2. Reminders--simply tell the child in a positive way to play nice, use nice hands, nice words. Or we don't use those words here at school.
    3. Guidance should be part of every lesson plan. (You will not have a discipline plan, but a guidance phylosophy.)
    4. By establishing routines, you can eliminate bordom, which results in negative behavior.
    5. Room arrangement should invite positive behaviour.

    Remember to use positive words during your interview, as no child is bad, just making bad choices.

    Good luck.
     
  4. Pre-K Teacher 1

    Pre-K Teacher 1 Comrade

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    Jul 21, 2011

    Stick with the words "positive guidance."

    Frame your answers around how you would "guide" children.
    Be prepared to share specific techniques you would use.
    Be careful with removal from group/time out as some HS programs have shyed away from this practice.
    Room arrangement is VERY important. Bring examples of floor plans or layouts, if you have them.
    Share how you would be CONSISTENT with establishing routines and transitions. Share specific examples.
    Be prepared to share how you would work with children that have ongoing challenging behavior. For example, how would you go about helping the child and working with the parent. Think about outside resources at this point. HS will not remove a child from the program due to behavior issues. They believe in working to get the child the help that they need while enrolled in the program.
    Lastly, share how you handle stress and techniques you use while in the classroom to remain calm and collected despite behavior issues.
     
  5. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    Jul 21, 2011

    And all of that said......the above posters were very precise: Prevention is totally the key.

    If you know you have a biter, help the rest of the group understand the facial expressions and body postures that lead up to the biting. Those of the biter as well as those of the injured. Ok, a biter would be a bit big in a 4yr old classroom, yet not impossible. You got me it is my issue today........but the lesson is sound.

    Way more observing and being present in the moment with your group and far less action "after". Lots of teaching of teamwork and social skills.
     
  6. MissAdena

    MissAdena Rookie

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    Jul 21, 2011

    I'm a preschool teacher in a Headstart program. Sometimes it can be frustrating because we don't use discipline as much as prevention. The biggest thing with us is "redirection". If a student is behaving in an inappropriate manner, we "redirect". We try to direct the child in a different direction, either by distracting, or directing them in the proper way. So if a child is throwing blocks during work time, rather than disciplining the child or placing them in time out, you would go to the child and say something like "If we want to throw something, we should wait and throw a ball during outside time. Would you like to help me build a tower with these blocks?" Another important thing to remember is that a child of this age will hear the verb in a statement first. So if you don't want a child to run, it would be best to say "I would like you to walk to the playground" instead of saying "Don't run".

    Good luck! :)
     
  7. webmistress

    webmistress Devotee

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    Jul 21, 2011

    okay wow, thanks everyone, I am finally starting to see the light. I just see that once you 'discipline or correct' a child that young (like the kids in my family) they will often withdraw or cry cry cry because they are still somewhat in that egocentric stage of development and they can't rationalize why what they did is wrong.

    So prevention is key. That really makes sense. And redirection! Great, because I am usually like, 'You know the rules, break them, and these are the consequences' and I know that would not work for the little ones. I do want as few tears as possible...

    What do you guys do about crying kids with separation anxiety from their parents, especially at the beginning of the year? I'm thinking just reassure them that they are safe with you, and get them distracted and busy ASAP,...play music? Start an activity? Game or toy? Have a warm & inviting classroom for them.

    I will look into classroom arrangement. This is more difficult for me than Elementary, but I'm trying just in case an Elem. job doesn't come through, but the little babies are intimidating to me, LOL.

    MissAdena, how is it? I have read horror stories on here about the paperwork from Headstart.
     
  8. Pre-K Teacher 1

    Pre-K Teacher 1 Comrade

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    Jul 21, 2011


    The beginning of the year is hard. Many of the students have not had a preschool experience. For some parents, this may be the first time their child is enrolled in school. Remain calm and reassure the parents that this is normal. You will probably have to help to establish drop off routines with families. The last two years we have had LOTS of crying, and sad parents (yes, parents doing both) so we spent about 2 weeks trying to get parents established in bringing the kids on a consistent routine. Some parents had a hard time with their child crying at drop off and did the hit and miss thing despite reminding parents at orientation and home visits of what to expect the first days of school.

    I think it also depends on the population you serve. If you can, look up your local HS program and find out about the population of families in the program.

    Yes, the paperwork is a BEAR! You have to be super organized or it will eat you alive.
     
  9. MrsCK

    MrsCK Companion

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    Jul 21, 2011

    Wow this is an extremely helpful thread!! I'm PRAYING I get a pre-k job next week (I have an interview Tuesday) and GA uses the Bright from the Start curriculum which (I think) is just like Head Start. I obviously need to do some more research before the interview. If I get this job (Lord willing) it will be my first job. So do you all suggest bringing a portfolio full of a floor plan, lesson plans, or what else? I'm really excited about this...I am naturally extremely positive and organized and I know this is where I'm supposed to be. Anyway, thanks for the great stuff on this thread everyone! :)
     
  10. webmistress

    webmistress Devotee

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    Good luck MrsCK!

    Okay honestly I'm getting scared, especially considering I'll be dealing with having to be separated from my 4 month old. It wouldn't be right for me to cry along with the parents as I think of how I miss my 4 month old, lol :haha:

    But okay, seriously, if I know I didn't get in Elem position and take Headstart position I will buckle down and go into serious mental preparation mode. Right now I'm all over the place emotionally as I'm waiting to hear from other schools. Overloaded, It's been a rough ride.

    Thanks!
     
  11. MzMooreTeaches

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    Jul 21, 2011

    Behavior management strategies I have used.

    1. Have a kindness tree in the classroom. When you see random acts of kindness (sharing, positive words, helping a friend, cleaning up areas without asking etc.) Note it and say I see Sarah Jane using very kind words with John. Sarah thank you for being such a kind friend. Place a heart on the tree. (you can switch out what you use by them if you like. Sunshine for August, Apples for September, Pumpkins for October etc.)

    Children naturally want to please and do the right thing... I'm excited to use this! I learned about this during training.

    2. Recognize good behavior.

    3. Sometimes I have noticed that if you observe exactly what a child is doing... in some cases he could be doing something meaningful.

    4. I believe in talking a lot with children. Some say I talk to much, but I'm curious as to want to know why a child is doing what they are doing... i learn a lot from this ... because sometimes I only catch a glimpse of the behavior and in fact it wasn't what I thought.

    5. Have an area of the classroom where the child can go to calm himself down. In the montessori environment we have a peace table. We have a book on peace, something that the child can hold or touch. I'm also thinking of putting the family photo/tree in this area as well.
     
  12. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Jul 22, 2011

    Separation anxiety--

    1. Have a plan/routine that parents know. Help them leave. "Mommy will go home right now, but she will be back after nap, snack, whatever." Be sure to explain to the parents that when you tell them it is time to leave, that they leave. Many children will stop crying once mom is out of sight.

    2. All the things about re-direction, get them interested, etc. are perfect.

    3. Most HS suggest you have photos of the family posted in the classroom. These are a comfort to some children.

    4. If you HS allows, have a child bring a comforting toy.

    5. HS will require a daily schedule be posted for the children. Show the child when it is time for mom to pick him up.

    Paperwork. Yes, it is heavy, so develop a system immediately. Your Ed Manager should show you how. Expect lots of inspections by Ed Manager.
     
  13. Pre-K Teacher 1

    Pre-K Teacher 1 Comrade

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    Jul 22, 2011

    I do lots of teacher interviews. Yes, bring your portfolio! Pictures are awesome. I love when teachers bring in things they have made that go along with a favorite lesson/theme and give short examples of how they would use it in the classroom.

    Parent participation is a HUGE component of HS so bring in your ideas of how you would involve parents. Think outside the box as many parents are unable to come to "school events" at specified times. So think of other ways parents can be involved in the program/class and be prepared to share those. Hint: If they don't bring it up, that would be a good question or theme for you to focus on when they ask you, "Do you have any questions?"

    I'm always impressed with teachers that take the time to look up information about those we serve in our program and tailor the activities to that. For example, being a high population of Asian families, they bring in things that reflect this in their prep for the interview.

    Best of luck on the interview!
     
  14. MissAdena

    MissAdena Rookie

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    Jul 25, 2011

    I'm so sorry I haven't gotten back to this post. We had a death in the family, and it's been crazy this weekend!

    There is a lot of paperwork, but once you learn it, you can get into a routine so it isn't too bad. Our HS program is implementing something new this year that I am SO excited about: we are getting a full teacher work day at the end of every month so we will have the full day to get our end of the month paperwork completed and submitted. Yay!!!

    And you are absolutely right about quickly distracting the criers! I pick mine up and hold them tightly while I tell them something exciting we will be doing. And then I say something about "Do you like _____? Let me show you this really cool toy we have to play with!" Or "I'm so glad you are here today. I really need your help with ______ today and you are such a great helper!"

    Distraction is the key to this age group when you are having negative behavior!

    And I can't stress the importance of positive attention. Children love attention. And suprisingly, they will do what they can to get attention whether it is positive or negative, especially when at home the only attention they get is for doing something "bad". You will recognize if a child is just trying to get your attention. Make sure you recognize every positive behavior you see out of these children and make a huge show out of how happy it makes you. And try to ignore as much of the negative behavior as you can. You will slowly retrain the child to recognize that he will get positive attention from you and doesn't need to do things to get negative attention. It's very tough at first to do this, but the difference you'll notice is so worth it!
     
  15. webmistress

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    Thank you all so much! I just had the interview, it was 5 people interviewing me and it went excellent.Your answers helped me so much. I actually used examples such as having a section in the classroom where students can share photos from home...

    I answered with my heart and soul, and I'm glad they didn't rush me like some interviewers do.

    While it is all fresh on my mind, here are some questions they asked in case someone else has an interview coming up:

    ---What is your experience/background with pre-K learners, English Language Learners, and low income students and how do you incorporate the student's background into your lessons?

    ---Why is ongoing assessment important?

    ---How do you feel about screening or testing a child who may have learning disabilities?

    ---How do you form a positive relationship with families?

    ---What is the importance of environment as it relates to children learning?

    ---What do you think are the reasons for poverty?

    ---How do you incorporate children's interests into your lessons/classroom?

    ---What is the relationship between teacher and lead teacher.
    (I didn't know there were 2 teachers per class. THANK goodness for that.)

    --What do you think about the importance of Home Visits?

    --In regards to documentation and paperwork, what is your strength and weakness in this area?

    --How do you stay updated on current trends in Education?

    ---Why do you want to work for Headstart?

    -------------------

    ETA: One lady said (if hired) it will be more training than I ever had in my life. It all sounds scary to me.
     
  16. webmistress

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    MissAdena
    Great to hear this. This is one thing I do with the older ones so I'm glad to hear it works for the younger ones. I'm sorry about your loss.

    Blue and Mzmoore, I used the idea of letting them bring a family photo in the interview. :D
    PreK, your post helped me think deeper about parental involvement.
     
  17. Pre-K Teacher 1

    Pre-K Teacher 1 Comrade

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    Yes, in Head Start you have a budget just for training that can ONLY be used for Professional Development. I know we plan for 40 hours of intensive PD just in the first month alone!
     
  18. Pre-K Teacher 1

    Pre-K Teacher 1 Comrade

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    This is so true! I tell the teachers this very thing all the time.
     

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