Discipline and conflict at preschool

Tom Hobson, Co-Op Preschool Teacher, Blogger and Author, shares advice for parents of how to turn discipline and conflict in preschoolers and turn them into learning opportunities
Parenting Tips | Discipline And Conflict Resolution In Preschool
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Discipline and conflict at preschool

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In our school, the children make all of their own rules. We are truly a democracy in that sense. The children are the legislative body in our school, and any one of them can raise a hand, propose a rule. And the only time these rules get made is via consensus, when every child in the room agrees. If one child objects, we don´t make the rule. I have been doing this for 10 years. Every year we get the 10 commandments down. We get no hitting, no biting, no kicking. We get no taking things from other people. We get all the important rules because the children all understand that they don´t want these things to happen to them. So when children are in conflict, the classic battling over a toy, and they are pulling in one way and they are angry perhaps, making the angry faces at each other perhaps, shouting at each other, what´s great for our adults is we are able to step in there, maybe put our hand on the object. That usually allows them to relax a little bit so they can hear what you are saying and talk about it. And you are able to say to them not don´t do this because I said so. We point to our list of rules on the wall and we say you all agreed that we don´t take things from each other. I see Johnny has his hand on this toy. I see Susy has her hand on this toy. What can we do? And my goal is to get the children talking to one another in that momentary relaxed moment when they get a chance to say. Usually it´s along the lines of I want it, I want it. And you say you both want it. We have a problem to solve here and we need to discuss it.

Tom Hobson, Co-Op Preschool Teacher, Blogger and Author, shares advice for parents of how to turn discipline and conflict in preschoolers and turn them into learning opportunities

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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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