Behaviour Problems in the Early Years: A Guide for Understanding and Support

Behaviour Problems in the Early Years: A Guide for Understanding and Support

Behaviour Problems in the Early Years: A Guide for Understanding and Support

Behaviour Problems in the Early Years: A Guide for Understanding and Support

Synopsis

Addressing the issue of behaviour problems in the early years, this book offers early years practitioners a practical and well-researched resource covering subjects such as:

  • the nature and extent of behaviour problems in the early years
  • definitions of behaviour problems
  • theoretical frameworks and factors
  • screening and assessment
  • a blueprint for early identification and intervention.

This resource is based on the author's own experience and research in early years practice and she uses a range of practical tips, strategies, activity ideas, forms and checklists to convey her message.

Papatheodorou shows that successful early identification and management of behaviour problems requires informed practice that takes into account existing theoretical and conceptual works. All professionals working in an early years environment will find this an invaluable read.

Excerpt

As a nursery teacher, I worked with young children for almost fifteen years and, looking back, I can barely remember any children exhibiting behaviour problems. It was the same for my colleagues when, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, I conducted research into young children’s behaviour problems and the management techniques used (Papatheodorou 1990, 1993). In the light of a child-centred philosophy influenced by developmental psychology, young children’s behaviours were interpreted and referred to as developmental milestones which are expected to pass with time rather than difficulties which may have long-lasting effects.

However, nursery teachers’ replies to my research provided a wide range of statements describing behaviours which were perceived as being problematic in the particular context of the nursery class. Despite the overall resistance to talking about behaviour problems among young children, the nursery teachers described a range of behaviours, including aggressive and withdrawn behaviours as well as language and communication difficulties and lack of motor skills, which were identified as being problematic in the particular context of the nursery class. The findings indicated that, although a number of young children’s behaviours were ‘developmentally related’ (such as communication difficulties and lack of motor skills), these behaviours did raise just as much concern as acting out and excessively withdrawn behaviours, because of the demands and characteristics of the particular context of the nursery class, indicating that behaviour is not ‘context free’.

With regard to behaviour management, the nursery teachers reported the use of a wide range of techniques of different theoretical orientations. However, it was less clear whether their decisions were guided by any specific theoretical orientation or were just a ‘pick and mix’ of strategies which were perceived as ‘working’ with young children. Again, although these techniques were reported as being good and effective practice for managing behaviour in general, when employed with individual children their effectiveness was less clear. More recently, some insightful observations with regard to behaviour management and, especially, the implementation of behaviour intervention plans have been made by nursery teachers who have worked on a range of reallife case studies, as part of their continuing professional development. The nursery teachers showed awareness of the importance of planning for intervention that aims to meet the needs of individual children; however, they were less clear about the need to (i) identify the criteria to be used and (ii) develop a monitoring system, in order to demonstrate the successful implementation and effectiveness of interventions (Papatheodorou 2002a). These observations supported the view that emphasis should now be placed on training . . .

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