Behaviour Guidance Policy

CONTENTS

  1. Policy Statement
  2. Strategies for Implementation
  3. Legislation and Considerations
  4. Sources and Related Policies 

1. POLICY STATEMENT

The purpose of the centre’s Behaviour Guidance Policy is to:

  • encourage acceptable forms of behaviour by using strategies that build children’s confidence and self-esteem;
  • provide children with support, guidance and opportunities to manage their emotions and develop ways to appropriately control their own behaviour; and
  • promote collaborative approaches to behaviour guidance and support between the centre’s stakeholders and/or external agencies.

Behaviour guidance and support is a process that focuses on the child as a ‘whole’. The educators will endeavour to build relationships with children based on mutual respect and trust. The centre will provide a secure, respectful and stimulating environment which encourages children to co-operate, enhances their self esteem and encourages their ability to interact with others. Acceptable behaviour is promoted and any recriminations are kept to a minimum.

The centre recognises and understands that a child’s behaviour may be affected by:

  • their age and development;
  • their level of familiarity with the centre’s routines and play limits i.e. when they first start education and care children may not understand what behaviour is expected of them;
  • their general health and wellbeing;
  • their relationships with their family;
  • the play and learning environment, which includes the physical indoor/outdoor settings, the weather, the time of year, the time of day;
  • the educators’ teaching strategies and caring practices, and their implementation;
  • their relationship with other children and stakeholders, such as students, volunteers and visitors; and
  • external factors, such as family, home life, school or peer group experiences, or media coverage of traumatic events

Educators will encourage children to talk about any concerns they may have, and will ensure the program reflects and encourages core values such as friendliness, acceptance, respect, kindness, tolerance and co-operation. Educators will always listen and respond to children when incidents of violence or harassment are reported or observed, and will act to eliminate such incidents at the centre. Where a child continues to behave in an unacceptable manner, families will be consulted to establish behaviour support strategies, which ensure that children are treated with the same respect and empathy as an adult would expect.

2. STRATEGIES FOR IMPLEMENTATION 

Creating the right environment

  • Educators create environments with sufficient space that are likely to encourage positive social interactions.
  • Children initiating their own experience using equipment and resources that they can access independently.
  • Educators plan experiences in which children practice cooperating, sharing and helping, and point out the advantages of behaving this way.
  • How children move from one experience to another is planned to allow smooth transitions and limit interruptions for other children.
  • Adequate resources are provided to reduce conflict, while still providing opportunities for children to share.

Positive behaviour guidance strategies

  • Educators build relationships with children that are safe, secure, and convey respect. Educators show their respect by allowing older children greater freedom and responsibility in recognition of their developmental stage; working co-operatively with children to solve problems; and by using regular tone and volume when speaking with children. Shouting at children is not acceptable.
  • Children’s appropriate behaviours are acknowledged so that children identify when they have acted appropriately.
  • Positive behaviours are encouraged by showing appreciation for appropriate behavior, building on each child’s strengths and achievements and diverting children to more appropriate experiences.
  • Children are encouraged to express their feelings in acceptable ways and to settle their differences in a peaceful manner. Educators talk to children about the types of emotions they experience and how to recognise similar feelings in the future.
  • Educators listen to children’s needs and provide them with opportunities to work through their emotions independently. Children’s attempts to deal with their emotions are acknowledged and supported.
  • Educators will help all children to understand how their behaviour affects others and will ensure children’s self initiated play:
    • does not make any other child feel frightened or intimidated;
    • respects the rights and feelings of others;
    •  is not overly boisterous or loud; and
    • is valued and supported.
  • Educators will always model behaviour that encourages inclusion, a sense of fairness, empathy and co-operation with others.

Setting limits

  • Clear guidelines about acceptable behaviours are developed with input from children, families, educators and management. Families are consulted about expected child behaviours at the centre at enrolment through the Parent Handbook, newsletters, and daily contact with their child’s educator.
  • Limits to behaviour will be clearly expressed in positive terms and reinforced consistently in a developmentally appropriate way.
  • Children are involved in establishing play and safety limits in the centre, which reflect recommended best practices, and become aware of the consequences involved when limits are not adhered to.
  • Younger children will be given safety and behaviour guidance limits by their educators as they need direction to understand what is acceptable and appropriate in particular situations.

Challenging behaviours

  • The centre believes that developing a supportive relationship with the children encourages them to learn skills in self control. Punishing a child stops the negative behaviour for a while but does not teach the child self-restraint. The consequences of negative behaviour will be discussed with the child and will be consistently followed through. No further punishment will be given and the child will be reminded in positive terms of the expected behaviour.
  • Educators will label the negative behaviour and not the individual child, so that it is always the behaviour that is being managed and not the child.
  • A “cooling off” period may be needed so the child can calm down before discussing what happened and sharing their feelings with the educator, who will in turn talk about their own feelings and responsibilities with the child. Educators will always talk to the child quietly and as an equal, and preferably away from the rest of the group. Time out to cool down will vary from child to child and may include:
    • redirection to a quiet activity;
    • listening quietly to soothing music;
    • sitting quietly with the educator;
    • doing something physical i.e. kicking a football;
    • sitting quietly with a book;
    • talking to a close friend;
    • being left alone (but not out of sight of the educator).
    • Where a dispute or conflict occurs educators will talk separately to all the children involved and be calm, fair, positive and firm in their assessment of the situation. Wherever possible the children will be involved in deciding on the appropriate course of action to follow. Educators will not react to conflict situations by getting angry themselves as this could inflame the situation further. If an educator feels they are unable to control their anger in a particular situation, they will ask for assistance from another educator while they remove themselves from the incident to cool down.
  • No child will be isolated for any reason other than illness or accident for any period of time. Children will be supervised by an educator at all times.
  • No child will receive any form of corporal punishment, punishment by solitary confinement, punishment by physical restraint or other demeaning, humiliating or frightening punishment, or withheld food or drink as a form of punishment.
  • Parents/Guardians who wish to discipline their own children whilst in the centre will not at any time use any form of corporal punishment or use unacceptable language.
  • Non-enrolled children in the company of their parents/guardians will be required to conform to centre policy on acceptable behaviour. If a parent/guardian is not able to control their non-enrolled child’s behaviour they will be asked to remove the child from the centre’s grounds.

Biting and hitting

  • Biting and hitting are normal behaviours in the development of most children, usually influenced by stage of verbal communication skills. If a child bites or hits another the following procedures will apply:
    • Educators will attend first to the victim to comfort the child and assess their injuries. First aid will be applied in accordance with the Centre’s Management of Accident, Illness and Health Policy.
    • While attending to the victim (or immediately afterwards) the educator will talk about the incident with the biter/hitter, explaining the consequences of his/her action, in words they will understand. The educator will show their disapproval for the child’s actions using tone of voice and facial expressions, and encourage the child to “help” make the victim feel better through positive and gentle touching. The educator will suggest an alternative action to biting or hitting i.e. tell the child to say “My turn please”, and will follow this up by encouraging the biter/hitter to ask for a turn and making sure he/she does have a turn.
    • An Incident, Injury, Trauma and Illness Record will be completed. Parents of victims do not need to know who bit their child.
    • A record of what happened will be made including how the situation arose and why the child bit or hit. This information will help educators to prevent a repeat incident.
    • If biting or hitting is an on going concern with a particular child his/her parents/guardians will be informed and strategies developed that are consistent between home and the centre.

Managing extreme or persistent behavioural challenges

  • If a child’s behaviour places him/herself or another child in danger, educators will act immediately to prevent the danger, and then talk through the problem with the child or children concerned.
  • If children consistently display unacceptable behaviour the senior educator in the child’s room will ensure:
    • the expectations of the child’s behaviour are realistic and appropriate to their developmental level;
    • the child understands the limits;
    • there is no conflict between centre and home expectations;
    • the child’s needs are being met i.e. adequate storage for personal belongings, adequate nutritional snacks provided, centre set up to encourage independence;
    • the child has no impediments which may cause the unacceptable behaviour;
    • the child isn’t copying an observed behaviour;
    • events at the centre have not encouraged the behaviour;
    • consequences of the behaviour do not encourage it to persist;
    • strategies are consistently followed by all educators in contact with the child.
  • Where children exhibit recurring behavioural challenges the nominated supervisor and the child’s educator will work with the child and the child’s family to develop a behaviour guidance management plan that is consistently followed between the centre and home. The plan will:
    • explain why the displayed behaviour is inappropriate;
    • document inappropriate behaviours that occur consistently;
    • identify triggers to inappropriate behaviours;
    • document emerging patterns of behaviour;
    • define the context in which the behaviour occurs;
    • identify where the behaviour could possibly harm another child or adult;
    • document the appropriate behaviours that are required to replace the inappropriate behaviours;
    • reflect a collaborative approach with the child’s family.
  • The room leader, with the support of educators in the child’s room, will document observations which will include the date and time of incidents and a record of the behaviour observed. This will assist the child’s family and educators together with the Nominated Supervisor to better understand the child’s behaviour and to assist in the development of a behaviour management plan.
  •  The nominated supervisor is available to discuss and assist with any concern a family may have in respect of their child’s behaviour or participation in the program.
  • If the unacceptable behaviour persists the nominated supervisor will jointly with the family seek advice from an appropriate agency or professional.

Excluding a child due to inappropriate behaviours

  • After the child has been given every opportunity to respond positively and if all methods fail to result in an improvement in behaviour, the nominated supervisor will discuss alternative care with the parent/guardian, in consideration of the health and safety of the other children and educators in care.
  • Depending on the severity of the behaviour the centre may implement the following steps:
  1. The approved provider will write to the parent/guardian asking that they attend to their child’s challenging behaviour. The centre will support the family to access further professional assistance, the child will be given reasonable time to respond positively to new strategies and the family will be supported in this as far as possible.
  2. If there is insufficient improvement in the child’s behaviour the approved provider will write to the parent/guardian to advise them of this, and to explain that the child’s attendance at the centre is suspended for the next two weeks in order to give the child time to modify his/her behaviour away from the centre. After this time the child may return to the centre and will be given reasonable time to display a positive change in behaviour.
  3. If the child does not demonstrate a positive change in behaviour on their return to the centre, the approved provider will write to the parent/guardian to explain that the child’s attendance at the centre will be suspended until such a time as the behaviour is corrected.
  • In the case of severe behaviour which threatens self harm or bodily harm to educators or other children, the parent/guardian will be informed that the child will be suspended or dismissed immediately.

3. LEGISLATION AND CONSIDERATIONS

  • Education and Care centres National Law Act 2010
  • Education and Care centres National Regulations 2011
  • National Quality Standard for Early Childhood Education and Care 2011

4. SOURCES AND RELATED POLICIES

  • Children’s centres Central – www.cscentral.org.au
  • Management of Accident, Illness and Health Policy 

Policy adopted: 12 March 2015

For review: March 2017

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