Supporting parents through challenging times with their children can be tricky and there are many variables at play. It is difficult to give really solid advice with out knowing more about the scenario. For example I wonder how old the child is, how well you know the parent/whanau, is this a common reaction for the child, what else has been happening for him/her during the day or leading up to this situation? As you will understand out bursts can be bought on by many triggers and being clear about the bigger picture is vital in making decisions about next steps.
I see that there are 3 issues at the fore in this question
1. How do teachers respond in supportive and encouraging ways to the parent at the time of the incident?
2. What strategies might be best for teachers to use with the child?
3. How can we build partnership with the parent to to enhance consistency and support the child's social competence learning?
Lets consider these one at a time
Firstly, how do teachers respond in supportive and encouraging ways to the parent at the time of the incident?
As suggested in the previous response post, it can be really helpful to acknowledge with the parent that this is not uncommon behaviour, even though it can be hard to handle. You could also consider asking the parent if they would like you to help/intervene as the parent may in fact be really grateful to have you step in. If they want support apply the strategies aligned with your centre Positive Guidance policy and procedure.
Secondly, what strategies might be best for teachers to use with the child?
Again there are many factors that will impact on how you work with this child, parent and scenario. For example your centre philosophy, pedagogy and beliefs about social competence and 'behaviour management' (I prefer not to use this term myself). You will have a Positive Guidance Policy and as stated above your first advice will be based in this document. If you find it gives little practical guidance I suggest you do some added research and consideration of pedagogy together as a team (and perhaps review the guidance policy as part of a spontaneous review). I advocate considering what is at the heart of the situation and behaviour from the child's perspective and look for ways to support their social learning through experiences in the curriculum rather than specifically focusing on 'behaviour management' as such. I recommend reading Porter, L., (2008, 2003, 1999) Young children’s behaviour: Practical approaches for caregivers and teachers. (3rd ed.) Sydney: Elsevier / Baltimore, MD: Brookes. or Porter, L. (2010). A guidance approach to discipline: Practitioner Workbook. Brisbane: Small Poppies International. Both of these resources provide very suitable advice for teachers and parents and can be purchased online from http://www.louiseporter.com.au/ .
Finally, How can we build partnership with the parent to to enhance consistency and support the child's social competence learning?
To me this seems like a great chance to build on your relationship with the parent and support his or her growing confidence and insight as a parent. I don't suggest trying to engage in that conversation at the time of the 'tantrum' but perhaps consider opening a discussion the next time they are in the centre. You could start by acknowledging the challenge for them and ask if they are keen to partner with you in learning more and working together to support the child through this tough time. A shared game plan can often quickly reduce the challenge and simply being in it together can be very supportive for the parent (and for the team). This can provide opportunities to share information, develop shared strategies and approaches and the ability to meet the child's needs collaboratively. I hope this is helpful.
Kia ora koutou
The use of Ipads, tablets and technology in general with young children is a relatively new advancement in the world of early childhood education. This can bring about a variety of views and is a topic fuelling some debate. CORE Education is playing a significant role in the development of insight into appropriate use and application of technology with young children and we are particularly interested in supporting teachers to use advancing technology in innovative and meaningful ways to support learning. It is very clear that education across all sectors is changing to embrace technology and therefore early childhood has a part to play in foregrounding children's experiences with this. I'm interested to hear the thoughts of teachers regarding technology.
How are you engaging with ICT in your centre? What approaches are you using to support learning and what are the challenges you face?
I look forward to hearing back and sharing a discussion on this topic. Nga mihi, Viv
Kia ora koutou
I've been involved in coaching and mentoring for quite some time now and hopefully some of you have had the opportunity to hear the recent podcast produced as part of Connected Educator 2015 on this topic. If not you can listen to it by connecting on the link below. I'm really interested to hear from those of you who;
1) have had the opportunity to be mentored or work with a coach, what do you see as the advantages of this experience for you?
2) have not had the opportunity to be mentored or coached, what are the barriers you have experienced to accessing this type of support?
What an interesting question Tairua and it immediately generates a million other questions for me. Firstly I wonder what motivates your idea to move to rolling lunches and if this is an issue you are investigating as a team e.g. through a process of review? I always find it useful to beginning considering a change by getting a really solid view of what is happening currently. This is such a useful phase in review (gathering evidence) and I usually suggest gathering 'internal evidence' i.e. what happens here now and 'external evidence' i.e. what does research tell us about this and what are others doing?
I am assuming that currently all children are attended to and supervised during the routine and clearly there are members of your team who really value this. I wonder what underpins their value for this supervised routine? Perhaps they enjoy the family-like context of eating together or maybe it makes them feel that the children are safe. I would be eager to come to understand what is at the heart of their thoughts, concerns and considerations and to know more about what the whanau/families might believe about eating times.
I also wonder what you have seen or know about the concept of rolling lunches? Have you seen this in practice somewhere else, or perhaps worked with it yourself in another setting? I wonder if you and some of your team might find it useful to contact other services and ask if they are implementing rolling lunch times, interview them or go and visit to see how it works. All of these undertakings can help you get a clearer perspective to inform your decision making.
I haven't personally worked in a centre using a rolling lunch but I have worked with 1 service using this approach. I can only comment from my observation and in relation to the comments they shared with me when we spoke about it. The centre moved to this approach through an engaged spontaneous review to ensure they made a collaborative change that worked for all of them including the whanau/families.
They told me that they recognised that one teacher was constantly involved in kai responsibilities all day and this person was based in the kitchen with rolling morning and afternoon tea and then preparing and packing away after a shared lunch time. They found the shared lunch routine often created issues of organising children on masse through hand-washing routines and they had altered approaches to mat-time some months before and were not eager to introduce a pre-lunch mat-time. They have a strong philosophical view advocating play and empowered choices so they were keen to limit the level of interruption to children's play and to better accommodate each child's personal rhythms. They also noticed that some children were needing lunch earlier while others were not ready to stop for kai at the allocated lunch time. Their nursery had worked using responsive kai for quite some time before altering the older children's routine kai so it seemed a natural progression to trial a rolling lunch for the older children. Their staff ratio's enabled one person to be in this 'kai role' across the day so unlike your setting the issue of children unsupervised was not a consideration. The teachers I spoke with when I observed the routine commented that they still ensure that some children are reminded (particularly the younger ones, many of whom still had an afternoon moe).
Generally this team have found it a successful development but it was clearly a change they undertook with sound consideration and investigation, collective decision making and with the involvement of families. I don't know if I have answered your question or just fuelled a lot to think about.
I hope others share some ideas on this topic too as I am very interested to know if others have tried this approach and how it has worked out. I think the important thing is 'that one size doesn't fit all' and it is really important to find out what works for you, your team, your tamariki and your whanau. Good luck, Viv
Kia ora everyone. I have been doing quite a bit of reading recently about establishing communities of practice, leading, facilitating and engaging teachers in an ongoing culture of professional discussion. I wonder whether putting efforts toward extending and consolidating insight into communities of practice might be a great place to begin when aiming for greater involvement in strategic development. Creating regular platforms for reflection, professional dialogue and pedagogical consideration can really empower teachers to gain confidence in sharing their insights and participating in review. I have popped in a link to Reflecting in Communities for Practice http://www.ecetrainers.com/sites/default/files/NAEYC%202013.pdf . This is just a PDF overview that introduces key ideas from
Curtis, D. Lebo, D. Cividanes, W. & Carter, M. (2013) Reflecting in Communities of Practice. Redleaf Press.
You might find this and interesting book to have a look at and I'd be so keen to hear your thoughts on this approach to your dilemma. Good Luck.