We believe children learn best through experiences and play. Our teachers' positive guidance and direction will help children at Hearts & Hands learn to cooperate with their peers and with adults, and to have positive social and educational experiences to encourage and enhance their growth and development while in our care.
Our philosophy has two goals. First, we strive to find a solution to the current situation. Second, we attempt to help your child process feelings, recognize consequences, explore alternative solutions and outcomes, and develop internal self-control. We use the following techniques as a regular part of our teaching:
Prevention: Our classrooms are designed and equipped to the child's level of development, and tailored to prevent frustration, interruption and hazards. They offer privacy, independence and easy adult supervision. In addition, the daily routine provides enough time for play, a sense of security, little waiting, and few transitions.
Assesments and comfort strategies: These will be used when children are crying, fussing or distraught. Children cry for many reasons such as to communicate, to express feelings and to get attention. The teacher’s role will be to assess these types of situations to determine if the child is hungry, uncomfortable, sleepy, frustrated, bored, sick, etc. and respond accordingly with food, comfort, soothing techniques, stimulation, etc. Teachers will remember the importance of staying calm during implementation of the assessments and strategies and will ask for help from co-teachers or administration if needed.
Modeling: Hearts & Hands teachers will show appropriate behavior and positive communication, to each other and to their students. Children will tend to imitate the interactions they observe.
Limit setting: We have a few clear, simple rules that vary according to the developmental level of each child. Basically, the rules ensure that all children and staff members at the Center are provided a safe, secure environment in which to flourish. They are based on safety and respect for the individual, for others and for the environment. When a child tests the limits, the staff will patiently remind children of the rules and their rationale as needed.
Positive Reinforcement: Children will be guided and encouraged by teachers using positive non-verbal cues and verbal praise. We give children specific compliments and recognition for their appropriate behavior and successes by describing what we see and how we feel. “I see the books are all on the shelf. It feels good to take care of our belongings.” or “I like the cooperation I saw between Mary and Steve in cleaning up the dress up clothes.”
Redirection: Children’s unacceptable behavior will be redirected to an acceptable alternative. To redirect a child, we will:
make directives positive, “The sand needs to stay on the ground.”
offer acceptable choices, “Would you like to play with the truck here without throwing the sand or would you like to play on the grass?”
make the choice for the child, “You are still choosing to throw the sand. Now you need to play with the truck on the grass.”
Conflict Resolution: Conflict is a natural part of living and working together in a group. When conflict develops it is our goal to give each child effective and peaceful communication techniques to resolve the conflict. We appeal to a child's growing intellectual and moral reasoning by using natural and logical consequences, and asking questions to encourage problem solving. We will talk over the problem with the child (or children) speaking directly, clearly and at the child's level. The teacher facilitates resolutions by helping children to identify their needs, feelings, causes and then identifying choices they could use to resolve the conflict.
“Time outs”: When a child has a physical or emotional outburst, we provide comfort and privacy. This allows her to regain composure and ensure the safety of other children and staff. "Time out" will be used only as a last resort, when a child is unable to break a pattern of negative or attention-getting behavior. This is not a punishment, but rather a time of renewal for the child.
When the child has regained control, he/she will be allowed to join the group. In any event, the time out will not exceed the number of minutes corresponding with the age of the child (e.g. three minutes for a three year old). “Time Outs” will not be used for children under three years of age.
If conflict persists, the teacher will consult with the director to develop a plan to meet the individual needs of the child in question. The parents of the child will be called in for a conference to discuss this plan and to enlist their cooperation and input.
Disciplinary Actions We WON'T Take at Hearts and Hands, Inc. of Mt.Horeb. We will never punish a child in a way that is abusive, humiliating or frightening to him. There will be no corporal punishment or rough handling. Nor will children be subjected to any form of emotional abuse, or hear language that threatens, humiliates, or frightens the child. Binding or tying a child and enclosing a child in a confined space such as closet, locked room, box etc. in attempt to restrict movement will not happen.