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I worked with a bully (both of us were preschool teachers). They are all ages and sometimes I believe it is built in (personality), no amount of 'positive attention' or redirecting will help. They are just mean, bottom line. This does not mean one should try all methods to detour the behavior. But call it like it is, I am sick of being 'politically correct" and tippy toeing around everything.
What about when bullying involves kids to adults like in the newest case of the middle schoolers bullying the elderly bus monitor?? I wish that adults could be in control of this behavior but I'm not so sure. I agree trying to educate in the preschool setting is very important but if it doesn't continue throughout their life, particularly at home, we are in big trouble!!
Bullying can be an issue at all stages of a child's development.
A wonderful Canadian organization called Roots of Empathy developed by Mary Gordon, emphasizes pro-social behaviour and the development of empathy in children to support children in accepting others. This especially speaks to the bystander who often does not know what to do when witnessing bullying.
Roots of Empathy brings a baby into the school classroom with the parent where students witness the unconditional attachment between parent/baby and where they can learn empathy/child development/love towards this baby. For Preschool/Daycare age the program is called Seeds of Empathy through the same organization.
Have a look at the website at www.rootsofempathy.org