HELPING CHILDREN MANAGE THEIR BEHAVIOR
Annsworth meets or exceeds the minimum standards as set forth by the Department of Children and Families. We train staff in appropriate discipline techniques and expect every staff member, substitute, and volunteer to read the DCF regulation (DCF Facility Handbook, 2.8 Child Discipline) in its entirety and comply with the DCF, NAEYC, and Annsworth Academy Child Discipline policies.
Teachers and support staff consistently work to improve their skills to protect children from harm and help children develop acceptable ways to relate to peers and adults. To help ensure that children and families receive the necessary support, information is shared between staff and families, help is provided to families to advocate for their children, and community resources are shared.
Positive Guidance Techniques
Preschool children are just beginning to develop the skills to communicate, manage their social behavior, thoughts, feelings, and ability to self-regulate. As children are introduced into a group play situation, we find that they often need guidance interacting with their peers. A young child is usually concerned only with getting his own needs met with little concern for those around him. Inappropriate behavior is often due to new situations, misunderstanding of expectations, or the lack of language skills. Some examples of challenging behaviors in the early learning settings include physical aggression, relational aggression, verbal bullying, whining, testing limits or refusal to follow directions or classroom rules. To help minimize these challenging behaviors, our teachers evaluate the environment, the routines, and other factors that may be contributing to behavior problems. They may determine to make some environmental modifications or implement different teaching strategies to support more positive behaviors. Viewed as a learning opportunity, the teachers help the children to understand the expectations, model behaviors for them, and give them the language needed to solve the problem. Learning to use words to communicate is a powerful tool for the child and enables them to handle problems independently.
Our teachers assist children to develop a sense of trust, security, and cooperation in this new environment. The teachers help each child practice appropriate social behavior through love and respect using positive reinforcement and consistent expectations. As children grow in their ability to interact with others, they will begin to develop feelings of empathy and make appropriate choices.
As children mature, they typically are able to begin to use logical thinking and problem-solving skills in everyday encounters. If a child emotionally and/or physically loses control, the teacher may redirect the child to allow them to calm down. As control is regained, the teacher will talk with and help them practice problem solving techniques.
Involving the children in helping to make the rules for their group will often assure their cooperation and participation in maintaining a harmonious classroom and playground environment. Clear, consistent expectations, positive guidance, and logical consequences help children develop lifelong pro-social skills.
We encourage Parent-Teacher conferences to facilitate open communication. Teachers and parents who work as a team and share information, progress, and expectations will typically facilitate the child’s positive social development. Annsworth has a variety of resources available for parent and staff use.
As outlined by the Florida Department of Children and Families, Annsworth Academy prohibits any form of physical or corporal punishment, psychological abuse, or coercion when disciplining a child. Examples of physical punishment include, shaking, hitting, spanking, pinching, excessive tickling, or requiring a child to remain inactive for long periods of time. Examples of psychological abuse include shaming, name-calling, humiliation, sarcasm, cursing at, making threats, or withholding affection. Examples of coercion include rough handling, forcing a child to sit down, eat or clean up. Additionally, children will not be exposed to excessive physical exercise or rest, or strenuous or bizarre postures. Children will not be isolated in any area where they cannot be seen or supervised. Children’s movement will not be restricted and food and beverages will not be withheld as a punishment. Appropriate use of restraint for safety reasons to protect the child or others from harm is permissible. Toilet training methods will not be demeaning, punishing, or humiliating. Children will not be exposed to derogatory remarks about the child or the child’s family. Active play, both indoor and outdoor will not be completely withheld from children who misbehave.
Suspension and/or expulsion is the absolute last resort of behavior management, with the goal being to severely limit or eliminate exclusionary measures. In the rare instance when a child’s inappropriate behavior is not remedied through intervention with our behavior management techniques, when we have exhausted our positive intervention techniques, when a child’s actions put other children and/or staff member’s health or safety at risk, or when parents do not actively participate in taking remedial actions, we will discuss and consider expulsion from Annsworth. If all possible interventions have been exhausted, we will help the parent explore other placement alternatives that would be in the best interest of the child.
Annsworth Academy complies with the Federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992 and follows these laws with our children, families, and staff. Annsworth Academy supports freedom from discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, pregnancy, national origin, age, handicap, or marital status. Annsworth supports protecting our children’s, families, and staff interest in personal dignity, to preserve the public safety, health, and general welfare, and to promote the interests, rights, and privileges of individuals.