• The Butterfly Circus: Come Out of Your Cocoon and Fly High

    The Butterfly Circus: Come Out of Your Cocoon and Fly High

    Young children with challenging behaviors quickly begin to see themselves as troublemakers, or “bad” kids and they can often see no alternative to this role. As teachers of young children, we can help our students see themselves through different lenses, allowing them to transform into the butterflies they were meant to be. Read More

  • Acting Out Cycle: Part III

    Acting Out Cycle: Part III

         So far, we have looked at triggers, agitation, and acceleration in children’s acting out cycle.  With careful observation and skills, we will never have to experience the Peak Phase of the cycle. Our goal should always be prevention. However, many children move rapidly through the cycle and we might be unable to intervene quickly enough. Read More

  • Acting Out Cycle: Part II

    Acting Out Cycle: Part II

         In the previous post, I introduced the idea of the acting out cycle from the IRIS Center. An understanding of the acting out cycle is helpful to teachers in order to prevent triggers of challenging behaviors and to calm children down quickly when they begin to show signs of agitation. Read More

  • Acting Out Cycle

    Acting Out Cycle

      It may often seem that children’s tantrums, hitting, fighting, or other challenging behaviors come out of nowhere. In actuality, there is a cycle that children go through when they act out and this can be predictable. Sometimes, it just happens so quickly it may be hard to recognize. Understanding this cycle helps us to know how to intervene and when. Read More

  • Separation Anxiety

    Separation Anxiety

          A special challenge for teachers of young children is helping anxious, crying children separate from their caregivers. When I first started teaching preschoolers, I was overwhelmed by a handful of crying children, clinging to their mother’s legs. I couldn’t get the parents to leave and I couldn’t help the children calm down. Read More

  • Apology-in-Action


    Should we force children to apologize? Tough question, and I think the answer lies in what we are teaching children when we make this decision. If we insist that a child apologizes, even if she is not at all sorry for her actions, we run into a problem. Children learn that we should say “I’m sorry” even when we don’t mean it or when we don’t know what we did wrong. Read More

  • Quiet Signal

    Quiet Signal

    I visit many classrooms in my job supervising student teachers. One of the first things I noticed is that the chaotic classrooms have no consistent way to get the children’s attention. I like to think of this as a rookie mistake! Creating a quiet signal is a simple, easy to implement strategy that will give you great payoff. Read More

  • Teaching Children How to Calm Down

    Teaching Children How to Calm Down

    I just starting reading a wonderful book called The Mindful Child (see link below) in which the author describes a clever technique she used to help her own children calm down: she grabbed a snow globe from the shelf, shook it, and had the crying children watch the snow fall as they held one hand on their bellies and breathed in and out. Read More

  • Teasing Prevention: Kind Words

    Teasing Prevention: Kind Words

         We were discussing different family configurations in my “Working with Families” course the other night and the question was raised as to what to do if children tease each other about their family – for example, a child who has same-sex parents, a child whose father is incarcerated, or a child who is homeless. Read More

  • Teaching Children to Get Positive Attention

    Teaching Children to Get Positive Attention

    What’s the difference between the children who are a joy to have in class and the children who push our buttons and challenge our last bit of patience? One important difference is that some children have learned how to get adults’ attention in positive ways and others haven’t. Read More