Sticks and stones are hard on bones
Aimed with angry art,
Words can sting like anything
But silence breaks the heart.
~Phyllis McGinley, "Ballade of Lost Objects," 1954
From the time infants begin to make sounds, they learn different ways to communicate and express themselves. Toddlers and preschoolers look to us as parents, preschool teachers, family caregivers etc. to be the good examples and role models for effective communication. "STONES", (I made up this acronym) as in; Sticks and stones will brake my bones...but words will never hurt me...as a child I thought if you said it enough it would come true. It never did, words DO hurt just like sticks and stones. However, conflict resolution works, and these STONES promote peace.
Conflict Resolution Techniques
in Early Childhood Education:
1. Stop any hurtful actions & approach calmly
*Place yourself between the children, at their level
*Use a calm voice & a gentle touch, staying connected to each child
*Always remain neutral rather than take side, do not interrupt or argue.
2.Talk to each child about their feelings.
*"Your face looks sad/angry"
*Tell the children you will hold 'object in question' for now
3.Offer help by gathering information.
*"Tell me your side first, Keisha"
Tell the children you will listen to each of their sides completely.
Demonstrate to them how to listen with respect and courtesy by 'showing them.'
4.Neutralize the problem by restating it.
*"Now, From what I hear...it sounds like the problem is..."
5.Everyone shares their ideas and let the children decide on a solution.
*"What should we do to solve this problem?"
*"How does____feel right now?"
*"What will make____feel better again?"
*Continue to keep encouraging the children to think of solutions and support them to decide on one together.
*Accept the solution the children agree on.
6.Support and follow up with the children.
*"Congratulations! you solved the problem!"
*"Great job! You both worked it out!"
Conflict Resolution is an integrated part of preschool curriculum and will be used over and over again through out a preschool teacher's day. Always follow children through to Step 6. They both must feel a sense of completion...even if they decide they no longer want the toy/object in question...a decision was still made, and that is still to be commended that the situation was worked out.