The following are a list of guidelines, the purpose of each, and ways to accomplish each for promoting positive guidance.
Guidelines Not Rules
Purpose: Set standards that are written and taught in a positive way
- Rather than threaten exclusion, guidelines teach what children can do to fit into and participate as a member of the group.
- Guidelines set the tone for the encouraging classroom.
Encouragement Not Praise
Purpose: to demonstrate that all children are valued uniquely but equally as contributing members of the community; authentically acknowledge ongoing progress when children most need kind words
- The key is to pick out details and compliment them either publically or privately.
- Can be group encouragement or individual statements of encouragement.
Listening to Life Experiences
Purpose: to reduce stress levels a child brings to child care that may prevent productive behavior
- Greet children individually to assess comfort and stress levels.
- Make time to listen to children in need as soon as possible after arrival.
- Use reflective listening to affirm child’s thoughts and feelings.
Purpose: to enable the child and caregiver to get to know each other beyond class routines
- Use chart of names to assure contact talks with all on regular basis.
- Establish physical proximity in a relaxed manner to ensure talk occurs.
- Follow child’s lead; discuss what is interesting to child to talk about.
Purpose: to guide a child to productive behavior by giving encouragement for effort and progress already evident and directing to further progress
- Start transaction with one (better, two) positive comments about effort or progress the child has shown.
- Offer one specific suggestion or request for continued progress for each set of compliments given.
- End transaction again with one or two encouraging statements.
Purpose: to experience and share enjoyable moments with children and their families
- Seek to enjoy the unexpected in words, behaviors, and situations.
- Share delightful moments with children and their families in friendly ways that laugh with and not at.
Purpose: to provide reassurance and affirmation to children in developmentally appropriate ways that words cannot
- Set, discuss, and follow specific policies regarding the use of touch with children in the family child care setting
- Provide information, discuss, and reach understandings about touch with the children’s parents.
- Respect individual children’s needs for touch and for personal space.
Adapted from Communication Skills for Building the Encouraging Classroom (Gartrell, 2004, The Power of Guidance. Delmar Learning, pp. 70-74)