Guidance, in general, refers to helping children learn about behavior expected from them in a variety of settings. Proactive guidance focuses on the positive development of children in social, emotional, and cognitive areas. Thus, positive guidance allows helping the child to develop necessary skills such as learning how to be an individual, how to express emotions, think ethically, and maintain an equal perception of people regardless of their background. Positive guidance for children also helps to improve the self-regulation skill important for their success in school and future careers.
Different environments present an opportunity for children to show cooperation in relationships with peers and teachers. In well-organized environments with a specific schedule that supports children’s activity in different combinations, such as large groups, indoors and outdoors, the students can be more independent and have more opportunities to communicate with peers. A quiet and calm environment allows the children to be more concentrated on the learning process and show cooperation with the teacher. On the other hand, providing a safe environment and organizing activities that promote interactions between children allows them to communicate and learn more about each other. Thus, by providing predictable routines, clear expectations, and modeling of the desired values, teachers contribute to the child’s success in the future and help children build a foundation for relationships.
Positive language is one of the common elements in positive guidance. Positive language focuses on teachers telling the children what they want them to do instead of imposing bans and negative rules. Positive language and guidance can be applied on a wide variety of occasions. According to (Virtual Lab School, 2021), guiding behavior through interactions in preschool needs to focus on positive language as it is more effective in the long term. In addition, positive guidance helps to prevent challenging behaviors in the future.
Scenario I Anna and Carlos both want the same car in the block area. They are both tugging on the car and yelling, “mine.” What do you say?
Teacher Language: Be respectful to each other, and please use an inside voice. We have many toys; let us look at other options and figure out how you can solve this problem and play together.
Scenario II A group of children are playing in the Dramatic Play area, Amy wants to join, but the children say that Amy cannot join them. Amy cries. What do you say?
Teacher Language: Can you try it a different way? You worked really hard on that play, but your actions upset Amy. How can you solve this problem? I am sure you can find a good role for Amy.
Scenario III James is enjoying his time at the paint easel; after some time painting with his paintbrush, he decides to fill his brush with paint and fling it at his paper. Paint begins to spatter all around, including the floor and a nearby wall. What do you say?
Teacher Language: I am glad that you enjoy the painting process. However, to paint a nice picture, you have to make sure the paint stays on the paper. You will not have enough materials to paint a picture if the paint splatters on the floor. Please keep the paint on the paper.
One important thing that I learned in the positive guidance unit that was more important for me is the importance of distinguishing positive and negative directions in addressing inappropriate behaviors. It was interesting to learn that even though short and negative commanding directions can be perceived as more effective in the short term, they lack positive directions for the children. In other words, from the perspective of a child that unintentionally engages in inappropriate behavior, negative commands lack redirection and problem-solving functions. Moreover, positive guidance provides an efficient and helpful tool for conflict-solving, which allows for maintaining the same level or improving relations between children. After learning about different functions of positive guidance, such as providing feedback on a child’s behavior, I acknowledged that the use of positive language is more effective for a child’s development than prohibitions and commands.
Virtual Lab School. (2021). Promoting guidance: Experiences and activities. Web.