Alternatives to punishments or rewards

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Alternatives to punishments or rewards

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We try to avoid external punishments and rewards in our preschool. We really believe in the code of natural consequences and that there are natural consequences for your behaviors. In the case of punishment, what that so often does is it takes the attention away from the behavior we're dealing with and puts it on the punisher. All the research shows, and most of the research that's been done shows that punishment works for a very short amount of time most of the time, and it really only works as long as the punisher remains present. When the punisher leaves the room, the child reverts back to that behavior very often. The only other way that punishment works is when it's debilitating. And I, for one, am not going to engage in debilitating punishments with a child. The same goes for rewards. When a child comes to me and says, "Look at this picture I made," they're already feeling good about it. They're showing it to me, they're excited, they've already received their reward. Me saying, "Good job," is almost confusing to them. They look at it, "Well, I don't need his approval to feel good." And they don't need my approval to feel good. I want the rewards and punishments to be intrinsic.

View Tom Hobson's video on Alternatives to punishments or rewards...

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Tom Hobson

Co-Op Preschool Teacher

Tom is a preschool teacher, blogger, artist, and author. For the past 10 years, he’s worked for the Woodland Park Cooperative preschools, teaching two to five year olds in Seattle, Washington where he lives with his wife and daughter. His award-winning blog, “Teacher Tom,” has earned him an international following as a leading proponent of a progressive, play-based curriculum and the cooperative model of early childhood education, as well as a fierce advocate for public policies that support the whole child and the teaching of democratic values to even our youngest citizens. His blog, like his classroom, is a place of exploration of the physical, social, political, emotional, and even spiritual world. It’s a place of experimentation, where the adults learn every bit as much as the children.

Tom is the author of A Parent’s Guide To Seattle, a regular speaker on early childhood education, a board member of the Fremont Arts Council, and a founding member of the Superhuggers performance art ensemble.

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