In an Out of the Box Training Kit called, “Classrooms as the Root of Challenging Behavior,” Michelle Salcedo writes:
“When a child exhibits challenging behaviors, what if, instead of blaming the child, we were to look first at the environment? What if the focus were to shift from fixing the child to adapting the conditions in which the child is growing and learning?”
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Francis- yes, there are definitely other factors to be looked at as well. Thank you.
Amy, thank you for sharing what you do in your classroom!
-Tiffany at Exchange
Its not just the environment we should examine. We should look at all the contexts that impact a child's behavior: home situation - i.e. has it recently changed; curricular expectations, new/different teachers, new policies, language issues, and so on. We should consider the child last in this examination. Unfortunately, the child is almost always viewed as the only "problem". I address this in detail in my book, Oh Boy!
I whole heartedly agree with this sentiment. We are taught as early childhood educators that he classroom is the third teacher. Children should be able to walk into a classroom and the classroom should tell them exactly what they are allowed to do or what do in that space. The space is inanimate it can not change itself to suit the child. That then can put unneeded stress/anxiety on that child making them feel as if they need to change themselves which can lead to behaviors. We know that children are just figuring out who they are and how they fit into this world. It is our job to create environments where they feel safe, loved, and supported since learning can not happen until these needs are met. Now this is not going to take away all behaviors but if we approach from observation to implementation we can ease this journey for our little friends.
I love to observe my students from day one in their response to the environment I have created for them. I am looking for signs of distress or confusion so that I can then go back to amend the environment for that child/children. It's my responsibility, not theirs.
My big take away is that the world needs to change for them and not the other way around.