We live in a societal environment of child care setting wherein children exhibit different behaviors with reference to their developmental domains acquired based on what they come from and what they have been assimilated to based on socially and culturally practices and values. Therefore, caregivers or teachers of early childhood education need educational and training tools to cope with these unforeseen circumstances that arise in child care environment with respect to behavior of children in care. What method of guidance should be put into place to deal with these issues of concern arising in the child care environment? This question is paramount and needs to be answered by caregivers or teachers who are serving as second parents to children brought to child care settings. Teachers or caregivers must consider two things in the lives of children to enable them carry out proper guidance for children in care. The caregivers should know the child’s need and cultural background. Knowing these aspects of the child enables him or her put into place appropriate method of guidance and discipline to meet the child’s emotional, social, physical, cognitive, psychological, and cultural needs. Ignorance of the child’s needs and cultural background exposes the caregivers or teachers to model inappropriate behavior exhibited by self that may lead to abuse of the child in care. According to Reynolds, stated in her book, “Guiding Young Children”, the 4th edition, if the methods of setting limits fail in controlling children’s behavior, the last resort is applied that entails removing and setting apart the child so that the misbehaved child or children can realize his or her shortcomings and then returns to the group at his or her own accord without the dictate of the teacher (191). One of the ways to set limit is using I-messages. Example of this I-message is used in the episode wherein the child is throwing toys at his friends in the day care. “I am afraid you will hurt someone because you are throwing toys at your friends,” said the teacher.
Children come from home to child care environment with problems on their minds which change their behaviors. Some children live in home where father and mother are quarreling or fighting all the time. Psychologically, the child is affected and may change behavior based on what the child has experienced at home. Some may not be receiving emotional or social support; as such, they have withdrawal syndromes when they are among their friends. This can change their behaviors in the classroom settings. The cultural life that the child had lived before, can also affect him or her in the new environment. There is a problem of adaptations to this ecological environment which is quite different from the previous one lived. Caregivers should study every child in care to enable him or her carry out proper guidance and appropriate discipline. Knowing the need and cultural background of the child enables the caregivers or teachers to respect and to love the child. When children are loved and respected, it makes them to actualize their self-esteem and self-fulfillment. Caregivers’ failure to love and to respect children in their care can also change children’s behaviors and lead them to rebel against authorities. Sometimes, children misbehavior is based on how the caregivers or teachers are relating to them. The caregivers or teachers are obligated to love and to respect children the same manner they respect adults. Loving and respecting children establishes children’s positive self-image and thereby making them to actualize and to see their values and capabilities. One of the ways to love and to appreciate children is giving them affirmation so that they can see their importance in society. In giving affirmation, be specific and sincere so that the child will not feel that you are flattering him or her instead of complementing him or her. For example, “I appreciate how you arranged those blocks the same way I taught you last week. Great!” said the teacher.
Child guidance is incorporated into solving the everyday problem which arises in the child care settings; as a result, the caregivers or teachers must put procedures into place to enable them to solve problems existing in the child care environment. According to Reynolds,” Guiding Young Children,” the 4th edition, caregivers must be active listeners to interpret a child’s feelings and reflect them back to the child (109-129). This allows the child to receive a message of acceptance. An example of active listening is stated below in the episode where one of the children reports to the teacher regarding teasing. “Teacher, John is making fun of me,” said Dakonte. “I hear you say, he is making fun of you; that is frustrating,” said the teacher. The caregivers or teachers are obligated to negotiate between children when there is an existence of conflict. During the negotiation phase, they facilitate the process while the children involved in the conflict run their decisions. It allows children to know that they are important and they can make their own decisions. An example of negotiation occurs between two children in the day care whereby the children are fighting on one toy. The teacher takes the toy from them. She asks, “Who wants to use it for five minutes?” One of them said “me”. The teacher asks the other party, “Do you agree that John uses the toy for five minutes and then give it to you?” James agrees to the proposal and the conflict is resolved. The caregivers or teachers do not only negotiate, but they also set limits to ensure safety, stop the destruction of non-disposable materials and equipment, ensure children’s responsibility, and ensure equal and respectful treatment of all children in care. Limits are actually set when problem behavior become serious that jeopardize the operation of the facility and children learning atmosphere.
The caregivers are also obligated to modify the environment to control inappropriate behaviors of children. This is done to discourage and to redirect the child misbehaving. The teachers or caregivers also affirm to help children feel important. “Affirmations are the teacher’s tools for helping children feel important. They are the way to give attention to every child, whether or not he or she has earned it by a particular action. Every human being needs acknowledgment and validation just because he or she exists.”(Reynolds 9).
In child guidance, the caregivers or teachers serve as supporters or enablers to the children in care. They provide experience for children to succeed educationally, allow children to make mistakes, model appropriate behavior of acceptance, model appropriate morally, socially acceptable behavior while at the same time are firmed, kind, and look for the real problem when inappropriate situation occurs. Caregivers should not be allowed to physically, to verbally or to emotionally abuse a child, but they must redirect inappropriate behaviors of children to maintain the children’s sense of acceptance. They should communicate and be good listeners to enable them promote and facilitate the social, physical, emotional, moral, cognitive, and creative environment for children in the child care settings.
One of the philosophies involved in taking care of children in the child care setting is the task to guide children through supervision. One of the things a child care provider could do is to put into place indirect guidance strategies to release himself or herself from further burden and to allow children practice autonomy. Children should be educated or trained how they can return things on shelves after they have used them. This initiative of training is the direct action to put indirect guidance into place in the child care settings.
Under child guidance, the issue of modifying the environment is paramount to enhancing children’s environment that encourages learning through plays and other activities. This is done through various approaches the teacher or the caregivers may implement in the child care setting as the need arises. They are the means in which environment is modified to suit the children’s interests. The manners in which the environment is modified should be children-centered. These methods are mentioned in a problem-solving approach mentioned in the book entitle: “Guiding Young Children, “the 4th edition, which include childproofing, simplifying, restricting, enriching, and impoverishing (Reynolds 56-64). According to the book entitled, “Early Childhood Education Today” 11th edition on quote, “Environment plays a key role in children’s ability to guide their behavior. For example, parents want children to be responsible for taking care of their rooms; they should arrange the environment accordingly—providing shelves, hangers, and drawers at child height. Similarly, arrange your classroom so that children can get and return their own papers and materials, use learning centers, and have time to work on individual projects.” (Morrison 407). Guiding young children at child care centers or homes, entails creating an environment of indirect guidance which educates and enables children to return things to their original positions when they have used them.
One of the areas of philosophy of child guidance in the philosophy of education is creating developmentally appropriate activities that promote the child’s developmental domains. These activities contingent to be created and modeled by early childhood professional should positively influence the child’s physical or motor, social, intellectual or cognitive, emotional, and psychological developments. It should be noted and observed that activities to be created and modeled should be age appropriate, individually appropriate socially or culturally appropriate for every child in the group. In instituting developmentally appropriate practice, teachers of early childhood education has goals set to educationally affect every child in the educational-ecological sector of academia. Sue Bredekamp and Carol Copple discussed these five goals in their book, “Developmentally Appropriate Practice in Early Childhood Programs”, revised edition. They include: creating a caring community of learners, teaching to enhance development and learning, constructing appropriate curriculum, assessing children’s learning and development, and establishing reciprocal relationships with families (16-22).
In child guidance, it is important to create situation in order to provide safety for children, adults, and materials as well. This is done to minimize children unpredictable behavior. This is done by setting limits in child care environment as to help children learn under a safe and good atmosphere, and also to protect non-disposable and disposable materials as well. Reynolds discussed these methods in her book entitled “Guiding Young Children” the 4th edition. These methods include using I-messages, giving information, using natural or logical consequences, giving choices, and using contingencies (190-194).
Finally, one of the areas in my child guidance of philosophy includes safety, nutrition, and health. These areas must be taken care completely to enhance early childhood growth and development in the educational sector. Children must have safety, have good nutrition, and have periodic health checks and treatments to learn. Health of children in care should be monitored daily as they enter the center. In the absence of these three, the issue of child’s guidance in child care facility is obscured. These three areas in my opinion are primary areas of guiding young children. According to the book entitled, “Safety, Nutrition, and Health in Early Education” the 3rd edition, on quote, “Safety devices should be present wherever applicable in the indoor early childhood education environment. All wall sockets should be covered with difficult-to-remove plastic plugs. All drawers that can be pulled out and fallen onto a child’s head or upper body should have safety latches in them that make them childproof.”(Robertson 85-86). This is very important for child’s safety especially where there are electrical outlets mounted up on walls where children’s hands are accessible.
In conclusion, my philosophy of child guidance centrally focuses on the responsibilities of caregivers to children in child care settings as they adhere to the standards and guidelines in maintaining children well-beings in the environment.
Bredekamp, Sue & Copple, Carol (1997). Developmentally Appropriate Practice, Revised Edition. Washington DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children, 16-22.
Morrison, George S (2009). Early Childhood Education Today, 11th Edition. Columbus: Pearson, 407.
Reynolds, Eleanor (2008). Guiding Young Children, 4th Edition. New York: McGraw-Hill, 9, 56-64, 109-129, 190-194, 191.
Robertson, Cathie (2007). Safety, Nutrition, and Health in Early Education, 3rd Edition. Clifton Park: Delmar Learning, 85-86.