Child Care Okehampton

Behaviour for Learning Policy

Posted on Wednesday, June 10, 2015 in Our Policies

Behaviour for Learning Policy

Stepping Stones Day Nursery aim to work towards an environment in  which children can develop self-discipline and self-esteem in an atmosphere of mutual respect and encouragement.  We understand that children flourish best when their personal, social and emotional needs are met and where there are clear and developmentally appropriate expectations for their behaviour.  We believe in promoting and nurturing positive behaviour and are committed to teaching children how to behave in socially acceptable ways and to understand the needs and rights of others.

In order to achieve this we aim to provide appropriate opportunities for all children to develop taking into account children’s previous experiences and developmental stages.  In our setting we believe in order to behave join socially acceptable ways and to understand the needs and rights of others children should 

• Be encouraged to have respect for themselves and treat other people with respect, kindness and tolerance

• Speak appropriately and politely and be encouraged to use good manners such as ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you’

• Be good listeners and display a level of self control during circle and story time

• Begin to understand how to be fair by sharing and taking turns • Look after toys and resources available to them and take care of the environment

• Be aware that there are different rules for playing indoors and outdoors

• Have self-confidence and high self-esteem

In children’s terms;

• We are gentle – we don’t hurt others

• We are kind and helpful – we say nice things to each other, we smile, we tidy up

• We listen – we take our turn to talk

• We look after toys and books – we don’t break things

• We say what really happened  – we tell the truth

• We try new things – we enjoy learning

In order to achieve this practitioners need to know;

• Clare Acton and Lorraine Neighbour will be responsible for behaviour management Issues. They will be supported by the early years advisor (Louise Carter) and training in acquiring skills to provide guidance to other staff and to access expert advice if ordinary methods are not effective with a particular child.

• All adults in the setting will ensure that standards are applied consistently, so that  children have the security of knowing what to expect and can build up useful habits of behaviour.

• All adults will try to provide a positive role model for the children, with regard to friendliness, care, understanding and courtesy in the way they respond to the children, each other and parents / carers.

• Demonstrate and model positive behaviour especially when playing alongside children.

• Adults in the setting will praise and endorse desirable behaviour such as kindness and willingness to share.

• Help children to understand the effects of their behaviour on others by praising good behaviour, such as consideration for another person, taking turns, sharing and helping others.

• Be confident to pre-empt problems that may arise and take steps to de-esculate possible conflicts to limit their occurrence.

• We will take positive steps to avoid a situation in which children receive adult attention only in return for undesirable behaviour.

• Be aware that some kinds of behaviour may arise from a child’s specific needs

• Avoid shouting or raising their voices in a threatening way.

• Shadow a child or spend quality time playing and building a positive relationship with a child who has been displaying unwanted behaviour.

• Make themselves aware of, and respect, a range of cultural expectations regarding interactions between people.

• Will ensure all individuals feel respected and included regardless of gender, race, religion, ethnicity, background, family or social circumstances

• Ensure children are free from judgements, whether based on previous behaviour or the behaviour of other family members.

• Never humiliate, label, make fun of, or talk negatively about children under any circumstance.

• Respect that children will make mistakes and ensure that children learn from them

• Be willing to listen to children sensitively

Ensure adequate supervision and interact with children at all times to limit stressful  situations

Stepping Stones will promote; 

Clear routines

It is important that staff agree consistent routines for the nursery.  Photographs, symbols, visual routines are used to support children’s understanding of the daily routines.  Any changes are explained to the children and practitioners focus on supporting children who find transitions difficult.

Supporting Transitions

Practitioners give warning of impending change to the daily routines.  Allow children time to finish something when they are engrossed.  Provide visual symbols and auditory aides to show what is happening next.

Tidy up times

Practitioners encourage children too put things away as they go along, before getting new things out. Children are given notice when it is nearly tidy up time “When this sand timer is finished it will be tidy up time” or “It’s five minutes until tidy up time.”

Children are provided with a visual and auditory signal that it is tidy up time such as an instrument, song and sign.  Practitioners are consistent across the nursery and encourage all children to actively participate during tidy up sessions.  Children are asked to turn off the computers and come off any climbing equipment.  Children’s constructions can be photographed if they need to be cleared away.

Resources are clearly labelled to support children in developing autonomy and becoming independent learners.

Providing sufficient equipment or materials

It is important to provide numerous items of the same toy so that children do not have to wait too long for a turn.  When ordering new resources it is important to order a large amount of popular equipment.

Meeting all children’s needs

Developing positive relationships between parent, child and key person is a priority at Stepping Stones Day Nursery.  Practitioners gather information from parents / carers during the induction about children’s interests, developments and needs.  This information feeds into planning to ensure activities provided meets the needs of the children.  Practitioners observe children playing and use this information to identify next steps in their learning.

Setting Limits 

We are aware of having age appropriate limitations and expectations; we set realistic limits for children according to their age and stage of development.  Children need choices and opportunities to succeed.  Adults need to model, encourage and praise children.

Useful Strategies; 

• Say what you want the children to do e.g. “I would like you to….”

• Say ‘yes’ rather than ‘no’ e.g. “Yes you can have turn on the computer when the sand timer has finished.”

• Give limited choices e.g. “Would you like to tidy away the cars or the bricks?” “Would you like a cracker or fruit?”

• Use “When…then” statements e.g.  “When you have your coat on then you can go outside.”

Group times

Practitioners ensure group sessions meet children’s different learning styles by providing visual props and opportunities for movement.  The length of group times should be long enough to sustain interest.  It is important that the adult leading these sessions is already in place before the children arrive.  Waiting time should be kept to a minimum.  Practitioners use visual prompts to support the expectation of “Good sitting” “Good Listening” “Good Looking” and “Good thinking”.

Children’s health

Children’s behaviour can be affected if they are feeling unwell, tired, hungry, and thirsty, have a poor diet or are on medication.  Physical problems can mean children are unable to cope with additional stresses.  At Stepping Stones we provide children with a self service morning snack, cooked lunch and afternoon tea.  There is drinking water available in all the play rooms. Practitioners are vigilant to children’s health and any sudden changes in their behaviour.


At Stepping Stones we want children to be motivated by the satisfaction of doing the right thing rather than for a tangible reward such as a sticker or a stamp.  Practitioners provide children with social rewards such as; smile, praise, a high 5, a gesture or sign by telling another member of staff, another child and talking to parents / carers.  Tapestry can be used to support behaviour

by practitioners recording the positive efforts made by the children.  We encourage children to say positive comments about each other and talk about how they have kept the Golden   Guidelines (see display).

Supporting children’s emotional development and wellbeing

To maintain a positive learning environment practitioners at Stepping Stones believe that children’s emotional needs must be met and supported.  This is achieved through both direct and discreet teaching.  Practitioners make the most of any opportunity to talk about feelings with children.  During story times adults can explore the emotional content of the books they read.

Tribe time

Children are provided with the opportunity of small group times with their key worker.  These times can be used to talk to the children about their feelings or any problems they may have encountered.  Practitioners encourage all children to become involved in creative problem solving.  Visual images are used to support children in the early stages of acquisitions or who have English as an additional language.  Children are provided with the opportunity to identify and discuss boundaries and why they are there.

Use of puppets

Puppets are a useful way of teaching emotional literacy skills.  Puppets can be used to act out scenarios which may have taken place between children without it becoming personal.  They can also be used to explore feelings and negative or positive emotions.

Social stories

Social stories are used to help children understand specific social situations and how to deal with them.

Additional Strategies to Manage Behaviour

Praising children showing appropriate behaviour

If a child is displaying an unwanted behaviour, the adult can praise a child sitting close who is displaying the correct behaviour e.g. “I like the way you are sitting with your hands in your lap.”

Stating the positive

Adults aim to use positive language and focus on ‘do’ rather than ’don’t’ e.g. rather than stating “No running” the adult would say “walk inside, it is safer”.  Instead of saying “No, don’t throw the toys” you could say “Let’s put the toys in the box together.”

Offering a choice

Providing children with a choice can be empowering for the child.  For example “….. has the orange car, you can have the blue or the green one.”  When going on a walk a child may be given the choice to; “Hold my hand or go back to the nursery.”

Diverting children

It is important that adults intervene to prevent a situation becoming worse, an aggressive attack taking place or a child hurting themselves or another child.  Sensitive adult interaction can support children by rearranging an activity, taking the role of referee, encouraging the children to work together rather than simply saying “come and help me.”

Express feelings

Children have strong feelings.  At Stepping Stones we acknowledge children’s different emotions.  We encourage children to express themselves by providing the words children need to describe their feelings e.g. “You look very angry” or “you don’t look very happy, what’s the  matter?


At Stepping Stones we want to provide the children with the skills to solve their own problems.  If a child has behaved inappropriately towards another child we encourage the children to explain what they did not like.  E.g. “ Don’t pull my hair, I don’t like it.” or use “I feel “ statements

When you pull my hair I feel sad because you hurt me.” Practitioners can also use “I feel” statements e.g. “When you won’t come when I call you I feel sad because I have to come and get you.”  Children in the early stages of language acquisition can say “stop” and use a hand signal.

Identifying Challenging Behaviour

Types of behaviour that are deemed inappropriate are as follows;

Physical abuse / violence Kicking, biting, hitting, hair pulling, scratching Verbal abuse

swearing, racist comments, derogatory comments or actions Throwing

Throwing objects in rage, spitting, deliberate destruction of the nursery or other people’s property. 

Explaining Rules

There are times when children do not understand what is expected of them, therefore the practitioners at Stepping Stones strive to explain the reasons behind the expected behaviour.

Strategies for dealing with specific unwanted behaviour


If children have become involved in any form of conflict, practitioners at Stepping Stones follow

the High-scope six steps for conflict resolution;

1. Approach Calmly – Stopping any hurtful language or actions.

A calm manner reassures children that things are under control and can be worked out to everybody’s satisfaction.  If an object is causing the conflict the practitioner holds the object until the issue is resolved.

2. Acknowledge Feelings – Children need to express their feelings before they can let go of them and think about possible solutions to a problem.  A practitioner makes simple statements like, “You look cross’” or “Yes you want the bike

3. Gather Information – Adults are careful not to make assumptions or take sides.  We ask open ended questions to help children describe what happened in their own words.  Practitioners may ask; “What happened?” or “What is the problem here?”

4. Restate the Problem – Using the information provided by the children, the adult restates

the problem, using clear and simple terms, and if necessary, rephrasing hurtful words.

5. Ask For Ideas For Solutions And Choose One Together – Adults encourage children to suggest solutions, helping to put them in practical and concrete terms.  We accept their ideas rather than impose our own, thus giving children the satisfaction of having solved the problem. Adults may need to model how to make the situation better.

6. Give follow up support as needed – Adults help children begin to carry out their solution, making sure that no one remains upset.  If necessary, we repeat one or more steps until all the children return to their play.

Physical Aggression

Interrupt and stop any violent behaviour calmly and firmly say “We are kind to each other”.  Deal with any injuries first then take the children through the six steps.Record the incident.

a. Comfort the victim and encourage the other children to make amends, if appropriate, e.g. stroking or hugging the injured party, offering to play with him or /her

b. Talk to both children about what happened and discuss / suggest an alternative way of behaving

c. If appropriate encourage children to re-enact the scenario with appropriate behaviour. e.g. If a child has snatched a toy they could model asking for a turn instead.


• Practitioners reinforce expectations by saying; “We don’t use those words here.”

• Praise child’s use of appropriate language

• If swearing continues this needs to be discussed with the family


• Point out what has happened

• Encourage the child to clear up the mess or reconstruct a child’s work that has been damaged

Unwillingness to Share

• Ensure there are enough toys to avoid disputes

• Give children permission to finish playing with a toy before being expected to hand it over to another child

• Structure turn-taking by using a sand timer

• Praise children for being ‘kind’ when they willingly share equipment.

Uncooperative child

• Give plenty of warning of activity or changes

• Use auditory or visual prompts to pre-warn children

• Find steps to help the child join in slowly

• Provide a more appropriate activity

Superhero and Gun Play

• Become familiar with the programme children are acting out so that themes can be incorporated into the educational programme and negative effects can be moderated

• Engage in the play and redirect the play to have a ‘rescuing’ or helping focus

• Remind children to pretend play and they must not have physical contact, this ensures none gets hurt

• Extend the play into making props to support the story lines

• Teach ‘dramatic’ skills e.g. Showing how to pretend to be trapped or frozen

• Support children in setting limits, “If I’m not in your game , don’t shoot me”


• Focus attention on the hurt child but involve the other child in reparation if appropriate

• say ‘No’ firmly, a visual aid such as a red cross can be used

• The victim will be inspected immediately for any visible injury and any broken skin is treated with a cold compress

• Use language that reinforces that biting causes pain

• Encourage the child to help look after the hurt child

• Encourage the child to be ‘gentle’

• Provide alternative and appropriate things to bite on if teething

Serious biting

If a child continues to bite, practitioners will track the child and make observations to identify any causes.  The practitioner and parents/carers will record details and draw up a behaviour plan.


Having tantrums is a normal part of a child’s development, it is important that adults remain calm.  Tantrums are an expression of a strong emotion that children are learning to deal with.

While a child is having a tantrum practitioners need to; 

• make sure the child is safe by moving away objects

• do not try to talk or reason with the child at this stage

• hold the child gently if allowed or sit quietly next to the child

• de-escalate the situation by talking calmly

• reassure by saying “It will be okay”

If a child is prone to tantrums practitioners need to identify the triggers.

Withdrawn or Distressed Children 

Practitioners should;

• Work closely with parents / carers and may need to resettle the child.  Provide a visual time table.

• Use symbols to help communicate with the child

• Provide a bag or basket of personal items

• Pre-warn of any changes to routines

• Listen to the child in different ways e.g. using puppets or small world play

• Provide lots of opportunities for fun and laughter

When children behave in unacceptable ways;

• Physical punishment such as smacking or shaking will be neither used nor threatened.

• Children will never be sent out of the room by themselves.

• Techniques intended to single out and humiliate individual children such as the ‘naughty chair’ will not be used.

• Adults will explain to a child who has misbehaved what was wrong and work towards a better pattern.

• In case of serious misbehaviour, such as racial or other abuse, the unacceptability of the behaviour and attitude will be made clear immediately but by means of explanations rather than personal blame.

• In any case of misbehaviour, it will always be made clear to the child or children in question that it is the behaviour and not the child that is unwelcome.

• Adults will not shout or raise their voices in a threatening way.

• Any behavioural problems will be handled in a developmentally appropriate fashion, respecting individual children’s level of understanding and maturity.

• Recurring problems will be tackled by all relevant staff in partnership with the child’s parents.

• Adults will be aware that some kinds of behaviour may arise from a child’s specific needs

• A person will not be taken to have used corporal punishment where physical intervention* was taken for the purposes of averting immediate danger of personal injury to any person (including the child) or to manage a child’s behaviour if absolutely necessary.

• A record will be kept of any occasion where physical intervention* is used, and parents and or carers must be informed on the same day, or as soon as reasonably practicable.

  • Physical intervention is where practitioners use reasonable force to prevent children from injuring themselves or others or damaging property.

Record Keeping

Practitioners adopt positive observational record keeping observing: 

A – Antecedents (events that occurred before the incident took place

B – Behaviour (what actually happened)

C – Consequence (what happened after wards and how children are to be supported)

Both positive and inappropriate behaviour is recorded. When a child has hurt another child or displayed inappropriate behaviour, a behaviour incident sheet is completed and filed.  Where a child continues to display negative behaviour the key person and SENCO will work in partnership with the parents / carers using observation records to establish an understanding of the cause.  Parents / carers will be invited to a meeting and an Individual behaviour plan will be decided together.  The emphasis is on improvement through positive strategies and inclusion, enhancing the child’s self esteem while making clear what behaviour is unacceptable and the effect of this behaviour.  Early identification of a concern is important and any sanctions must be fair and applied consistently by all practitioners. If the situation continues to occur, and with parental consent, SSDN may contact outside agencies to offer constructive, confidential advice.

Steps to take if you have concerns about a child’s behaviour

• Share concerns with colleagues

• Share concerns, strategies and plans with parents / carers

• State clearly what is the behaviour that concerns you

• State clearly what you would like to see the child do instead

• Priorities

• Draw up a behaviour plan

• Seek advice from outside agencies with parental consent

• Complete a DAF with parental consent


At Stepping Stones we believe in providing care and education which meets all children’s needs.  We are aware that some children need additional support in managing their behaviour during their time at the nursery.  Practitioners should actively encourage all children to play together and be aware of their different needs. Practitioners are aware that children with significantly delayed language skills can become easily frustrated if they are unable to communicate their wants and needs.  Staff need to use gesture, body language and supplementary signing systems to aid children’s understanding.

Visual materials should be used as much as possible.

Strategies to support behaviour in young autistic children

Aim to ensure routine, structure and predictability throughout the day.   Use visual time tables and social stories.

• Use the child’s interests as rewards.

• Find new ways of using the child’s interests to engage them in new learning experiences

• Provide the child with clear boundaries

Strategies to support children with attention difficulties 

• Provide children with special responsibilities and encourage other children to see them in a positive light

• Practitioners encourage parents / carers to introduce clear routines at home

• Encourage the children to think positively about themselves by promoting positive self -talk.  “You sat really well today, how do you feel?”

Safe Handling

Stepping Stones follows the statutory guidance set out in the Early Years Foundation Stage ‘Physical intervention should only be used to manage a child’s behaviour if it is necessary to prevent personal injury to the child, other children or an adult, to prevent serious damage to property or in what would be regarded as exceptional circumstances.  Any occasion where physical intervention is used to manage a child’s behaviour should be recorded and parents / carers informed about it on the same day.’

Role of SENCO

• To help identify children’s behavioural needs.

• To help with planning approaches to working with and supporting children with behavioural needs

• To ensure that parents / carers are updated by their child’s key person on a regular basis

• To make sure children’s progress is regularly reviewed

• To make sure parents / carers are fully involved in the planning for their child.

• To liaise with outside agencies

• To manage any additional funding obtained and ensure all administration is carried out.


Partnership with Parents / carers

Discussion with parents / carers about strategies used at home is a very important part of supporting a child’s behaviour at the nursery.  It is important that practitioners share children’s positive behaviour regularly with parents / carers especially when supporting a child who is displaying negative behaviour.  Practitioners need to respond sensitively to parents / carers when they seek help in managing their child’s behaviour.

Working with outside agencies

Support may be sought from outside agencies, with the parents / carers agreement, througa referral or DAF (Devon assessment framework).  Outside agencies which may be involveare;

• Early Years Coordinator

• Children Centre

• CAMH’s (child and adult mental health)

• Educational Psychologist

• Speech and Language Team (SALT)

• Health professionals

Support for Practitioners

• The positive behaviour management policy is shared with all practitioners on their induction.

• All practitioners are provided with safe handling training

• Additional training on behaviour management is provided for practitioners who wish to  develop their skills and knowledge

• The lead person for behaviour management should update their training regularly and inform the nursery of any developments

• Good management and support from Team leaders ensure practitioners are able to manage situations to the best of their ability.

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