Engaged supervision to support recommended practices for young children with challenging behavior

Engaged supervision to support recommended practices for young children with challenging behavior

Phil S. Strain

Challenging behavior is receiving more attention and causing concern in the field of early childhood care and education. In recent years, for example, Head Start staff members have reported an increase in occurrences of challenging behaviors, such as aggression, noncompliance, poor self-control, and problematic social relationships, by young children (McCabe, 1997; Yoshikawa & Knitzer, 1997; Yoshikawa & Zigler, 2000). More than one quarter of the children served in Head Start programs present with externalizing behavior problems in the clinical ranges (Jones-Harden et al., 2000; Webster-Stratton & Hammond, 1998). Utilizing direct behavioral observation, Webster-Stratton and Hammond (1997) studied several Head Start classrooms and recorded that one third of the young children in these classrooms displayed a problem behavior once every 6 minutes. This means that at least 36 times in an hour, a problem behavior occurred in the classroom. Undoubtedly, these circumstances have an impact on the mental health of early childhood care and education professionals. A survey by Joseph, Strain, and Skinner (2003) of 346 early childhood educators and early childhood special educators revealed that 73% believed that occurrences of challenging behaviors were increasing. Seventy percent of the respondents said that dealing with challenging behaviors made them feel stressed, and more than 60% claimed that challenging behaviors had a negative impact on their job satisfaction. Significantly, 40% of the respondents indicated that in the last year they had asked at least one child to leave their program due to challenging behaviors.

When teachers and systems are stressed and stretched by increasing numbers of children who engage in increasing levels of problem behaviors, supervisory personnel also experience negative consequences. These consequences include teacher burnout and turnover, parental complaints (both formal and informal), budgets that are squeezed by more costly placements, and questioning of a supervisor’s personal and professional efficacy by upper level administrators. Another consequence–which is actually a great opportunity–is that direct service staff members often turn to supervisors for help in these circumstances. By providing this help, supervisors can lay a general foundation of mutual trust, respect, and problem-solving capabilities that will serve many purposes.

COMMON SUPERVISORY PROBLEMS

Get ‘Em Out!

In the early 1960s, Long coined the term antiseptic bouncing to refer to a tendency by teachers to view their classroom management difficulties as emanating from the bad behavior of one child or a few children (Long, Morse, & Newman, 1965). As the teacher saw it, if these “bad apples” could be removed, his or her problems would be solved. As indicated earlier, this practice is alive and well in the early childhood field, as noted in the Joseph et al. (2003) survey to which 40% of respondents reported removing preschoolers from their programs in the last 12 months. There are several problems with the “Get ’em out” philosophy and the associated practice of antiseptic bouncing:

1. Removal is legally dubious. Specifically, several pieces of federal legislation, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (see Walsh, Smith, & Taylor, 2000), place clear prohibitions on the removal of children for problem behavior.

2. Removal does nothing to build the capabilities of individuals or systems to deal with future problem behaviors.

3. The practice sends a clear message to consumers that this is a place where only some children are welcome.

4. It ensures a more costly, restrictive array of public services.

5. It often creates a scenario in which the coercive choice that the administrator is forced to make is between removing the child or losing a staff member.

6. It is enormously seductive because it is reinforcing, albeit negatively, through the temporary relief provided to a few persons at the expense of others. Coincidentally, this temporary relief may also reinforce teachers’ feelings of incompetence.

Taking It Personally

When we asked teachers to describe how they feel about dealing with high rates of challenging behaviors, they expressed feelings of frustration, anger, inadequacy, fear, guilt, and stress, and of being overwhelmed, undervalued, and disrespected. Clearly, if a person is experiencing some or all of these emotions, it is very unlikely that he or she can think clearly, decide wisely, or act strategically (Strain & Hemmeter, 1997). In addition, experiencing these emotions on a regular basis probably sets the stage for thoughts such as, “The children are doing it to me,” or “They are out to get me.” Having uncomfortable feelings in the presence of chronic problem behavior is both expected and healthy. These feelings are essential and beneficial because (a) they are clear signals that something is wrong and (b) they provide a motivation for making some changes. What becomes problematic, however, is a situation in which these feelings so overwhelm staff members that they lose control. The issue is not to avoid these feelings or to eliminate conflict but to learn how to cope with emotional responses to a child’s challenging behavior in ways that provide more self-control and capable thinking. Left alone, these negative feelings can lead to unhealthy and counterproductive thoughts (e.g., “He’s doing it on purpose to ruin my day”) and behaviors (e.g., using punishment, ignoring the child when he or she is behaving well, asking for removal of the child from the class).

Reliably Ineffective

For many professionals in the early childhood field, the pervasive use of ineffective teaching tactics has been a long-standing concern. For example, Odom, McConnell, and Chandler (1990) found that there is a strongly negative correlation between teachers’ acceptance of and willingness to use certain social skills interaction tactics and the relative efficacy of these same tactics. A related finding by Joseph et al. (2003) was that these providers have few evidence-based practices at their disposal.

No Time!/One More Thing!

In education today, and in early intervention in particular, front-line staff members are being asked to do more with less and to take on additional priorities and the associated paperwork. These multiplying job responsibilities, coupled with the occurrence of high rates of challenging behaviors, create a condition in which teachers often express a certain level of frustration about being asked to “do one more thing.”

No Follow-through

Another common problem is the situation in which teachers have been provided with suggestions and training, but their behaviors have not changed. We often hear from the teachers that the problem is insufficient training, no direct modeling of strategies, and a lack of ongoing support to help them implement new and perhaps novel ideas in their classrooms.

Bad Attitude

Considering all of these problems–coupled with chronically low wages and the great disparity in wages between early childhood care and education professionals and their upper grade counterparts–it should come as no surprise that supervisors complain that many early childhood educators have a “bad attitude.” This bad attitude manifests in numerous ways, including exhibiting noncompliance, engaging in nay-saying, putting up barriers to change, and displaying negative affect.

STRATEGIES TO OVERCOME PROBLEMS

What supervisory strategies are needed to overcome these problems?

Acknowledge Feelings

As mentioned previously, almost all teachers occasionally feel stressed, angry, disrespected, ineffective, and guilty when working with children with challenging behaviors. A supervisor must begin the process of change by acknowledging these feelings. The purpose of doing this is to help teachers identify (a) some of the negative thoughts and self-talk in which they engage that increases stress and (b) how to replace these thoughts with more coping and positive responses. To help teachers accomplish this, we present the following steps based on the work of Dr. Carolyn Webster-Stratton (1999, pp. 2-5).

Step 1: Be aware of negative feelings and thoughts. Unless you learn to pay attention to your thoughts, you will not be able to change them.

Step 2: Decrease negative thoughts. This can be accomplished by employing the following four strategies:

1. Interrupt your thoughts. Webster-Stratton has suggested, “As soon as you realize you are experiencing a negative thought, stop the thought” (p. 2). Think to yourself, “I am going to stop worrying. Worrying doesn’t help me.” Or, “I am going to stop thinking that way about my student. These thoughts won’t help me be a better teacher.”

2. Step back from the situation. When dealing with a child’s challenging behavior, ask yourself if what you are thinking or doing is helpful in reaching your goal:

a. What is my goal? (for this child to stop screaming during circle time)

b. What am I doing now? (feeling frustrated and mad)

c. Is what I’m doing helping me reach my goal? (No, I am just giving them attention with my incredulous stare.)

d. If what I’m doing is not helping me reach my goal, what should I do differently? (Think about coping strategies and create a plan to inplement when this happens again)

3. Normalize the situation. Remember that all teachers have bad days and difficult moments and all children display challenging behaviors at times. All teachers experience these same negative feelings from time to time. It is normal.

Step 3: Focus on your positive thoughts. Decreasing the number of negative thoughts you have won’t help unless you also increase the positive ones. One way is substituting calming or coping thoughts for negative ones. If you find yourself thinking about a particular child in hostile terms (“She is out to get me”), stop the thought and try to replace it with positive thinking that emphasizes your ability to cope (“I don’t like it when she acts that way, but I can handle it. My job is to teach her more appropriate ways to behave”).

By listening to the staff member, acknowledging his or her feelings, and providing some strategies to decrease stress, the supervisor communicates both an understanding of and appreciation for the staff member’s concerns. Although many supervisors may want to move ahead and focus on staff behavior change, we believe this acknowledgment phase is the foundation of later success.

Develop a Mission Statement

In our experience, an essential step in bringing about positive change for staff members has been the collaborative development of a mission statement regarding the intervention approach to be used with children who display challenging behaviors and their families (Jones & Nimmo, 1999). These types of mission statements are not developed by the administrator or an exclusive set of staff members. Instead, they are developed by the entire program team. Team members include parents, teachers, paraprofessionals, related service staff, the cook, the school nurse, the social worker, the receptionist, and so forth. As one might expect, such a process cannot be accomplished in one meeting or a few meetings. It is a lengthy process–but one with many positive outcomes. Among these are (a) a team-building experience that allows staff members to feel more connected and supported; (b) the discussion of problems and grievances in a safe, public forum; (c) emphasis on the leadership of the supervisor as he or she facilitates the process; and (d) development of a living document to which the entire team buys in.

Figure 1 provides an example of such a mission statement. This mission statement contains a number of elements that we think are key to addressing challenging behaviors in a successful fashion. First, it articulates a zero-reject philosophy (“Our program’s goal is to increase the confidence and competence of all children and families with whom we work”). Second, it articulates the need to know about and use multiple methodologies (“Effective and systematic assessment and instructional strategies are used to identify, teach, and support these important skills utilizing multiple methods and disciplines”). Third, it suggests the use of recommended practices and evidence to make ongoing programmatic decisions (“Data are collected to monitor child progress, and instructional decisions are based on those data”).

FIGURE 1. Example of a mission statement.

Inclusion is about community, about membership, about relationships,

and about development. The goal of the classroom programs at the

Experimental Education Unit is to provide educational experience to

children with diverse abilities in a setting that enhances the

strengths and supports the needs of all children in our program and

provides children with opportunities to build memberships, establish

relationships, and develop functional skills.

Our program’s goal is to increase the confidence and competence of

all children and families with whom we work, Our program is committed

to providing children opportunities to learn communication skills,

develop social relationships, and learn other functional skills in an

integrated, developmentally appropriate classroom. Families are

involved in identifying the priority skills for their child and are

encouraged to take an active role in the classroom.

A goal of our program is to promote active social integration between

children with and without disabilities across all parts of the school

day. Effective and systematic assessment and instructional strategies

are used to identify, teach, and support these important skills

utilizing multiple methods. Skills are taught within the context of

meaningful activities across the classroom curriculum. Support

services (e.g., speech therapy, occupational therapy, and physical

therapy) are provided in naturalistic settings (i.e., the classroom)

and use activity-based instruction to enhance skills acquisition and

generalization. Data are collected to monitor child progress and

instructional decisions are based on those data.

Our program serves many different children and families. The children

we serve range in age from birth through age 6 and range in ability

from gifted and talented to children with severe disabilities. All the

children we serve, however, have one thing in common–they are

children first. This is the driving belief in our program. Our program

is an inclusive and comprehensive early childhood center that is

dedicated to meeting the needs of all the children and families with

whom we work.

Note. This mission statement comes from the Experimental Education

Unit (EEU) located at the University of Washington in Seattle. For

more information about this statement or the EEU, please contact Ms.

Jennifer Annable at 206/543-4011. Reprinted with permission.

Completion of the drafting of this document does not mean that the work is finished, however. The mission statement is revisited often; decisions are made based upon it, and as new staff members and families join the program, they are oriented to the statement and the process used in developing it.

Adopt a Problem-Solving Attitude

A natural outcome of the process and product described in the previous section is the adoption of an attitude toward working with children who display challenging behaviors as a problem that needs to be solved rather than gotten rid of. Helping staff members to view the situation as one for which there are solutions is a key supervisory technique (Delaney, 2001). Asking teachers, “What have you tried?” and acknowledging their intellect and efforts is a first step. The supervisor should then ask if the staff members would like help in either implementing the solutions they’ve generated or generating others.

Another approach to fostering a problem-solving attitude is to establish peer support opportunities. Schools can offer a time and place where staff members will be able to meet regularly to present problems and the data they have collected on the effectiveness of solutions that have been tried. At this forum, they can receive both validation of their efforts and additional ideas from their peers. These meetings can be led by teachers, with supervisors providing guidance.

A Place to Begin

One of the most effective ways to create an individualized program of training is to have teachers and their supervisors begin with a thorough assessment of recommended practices related to challenging behaviors. One such self-assessment that some supervisors and technical assistance providers have found helpful is located in the appendix.

We recommend that the supervisor facilitate the self-assessment process by helping to define practices, asking for evidence of implementation, and reconciling discrepancies of opinion among team members. Because of the instructive nature of this exercise, the self-assessment by itself may result in desired behavior change by staff members. The supervisor’s active participation in and guidance of this process is necessary to avert a number of potential miscalculations that often occur. For example, we have found that competent teachers may rate themselves too harshly on items and less competent teachers tend to think that they know more than they do.

As indicated in the sample page from a comprehensive self-assessment in Figure 2, items rated low by the team become targets for systematic training and support from the supervisor. After a period of training and support, the team should reconvene to revisit the self-assessment. This revisiting process offers an opportunity to celebrate successes and to identify the next training targets. We strongly recommend that this iterative process become the pivotal piece of the teachers’ official job evaluation.

Figure 3. Fun supervisory ideas.

1. Surprise reinforcement at staff meetings. A great way to build some

team spirit is to provide treats and public praise for teachers at

staff meetings. The public praise is contagious, and teachers soon

begin liberally praising each other.

2. Quarterly awards for extra effort. One program of which we are

aware gives out “Heart of the Unit” awards for staff members who

have demonstrated extra effort in working with children and

families.

3. Silly Solution Treasure Chest. One administrator we know keeps a

treasure chest in her office, When teachers have had a very bad day

dealing with a child’s challenging behavior, she invites the

teachers to pick some things out of the treasure chest. The

teachers mostly pick chocolate–but the other items make them

laugh, Some of the items in the chest:

a. Pixie Stick Straws (to suck it up)

b. Ear muffs (for screamers)

c. Survival merit badges

d. Boxes of Calgon (to “take them away”)

e. Chocolate

4. Secret pals who acknowledge the person when he or she has had a

stressful day

5. Attending extracurricular events together.

6. Pass the Apple. At one site, the supervisor bought a plastic apple

that could be filled and refilled with candy or other treats. At

the first staff meeting of the year, the supervisor presents the

apple to a teacher who has been working extra hard with a child

with challenging behaviors. The apple is filled with the teacher’s

favorite treats. The next week, the teacher passes the apple to a

peer who has had a very challenging week. The teachers can laugh

about their “apple deserving” days.

Be Engaged!

A device we have found useful for supervisors is to think about their primary job function as one of being actively engaged. We have captured this concept in the following acronym:

Examine practice

No reject

Get real

Adopt a problem-solving attitude

Guarantee fun

Empathize

Deliver reinforcement

As many of our prior suggestions indicate, initiating a process of change often needs to begin with an examination of one’s practices. We have also suggested that a no- or zero-reject ethos is critical to dealing successfully with challenging behaviors. Our “get real” charge suggests that the self-reflection and the vision development processes require a thoroughly open, honest, and frank exchange of ideas and opinions. Getting real also requires a realistic analysis of any logistical barriers at the program level that may interfere with the use of recommended practices. For example, lack of planning time, limited material resources, and minimal time for quality professional development may need to be addressed if staff members are expected to produce real changes in their behavior and in children’s behavior as well.

Adopting a problem-solving attitude doesn’t apply just to teachers but to supervisors also. Effective supervision in the early intervention field often involves the need to generate multiple and unique solutions to logistical barriers.

In programs that deal with high levels of challenging behaviors, a sense of humor is a very valuable commodity (Gruenberg, 1998). The type of humor to which we are referring allows one to laugh at one’s self and tn help others see the humorous and light side of different situations. Supervisors can also help create a fun work environment by embedding a variety of team-building activities into the daily schedule. Figure 3 presents several team-building and fun strategies.

Because dealing with challenging behavior leads to stress and behavior change can be a lengthy process, supervisors must learn what teachers need from them to feel supported and understood. We believe that knowing the individualized supports and delivering them is the best way to ensure that staff members experience the supervisor as an empathetically. Our experience has been that when supervisors directly ask, “How can I support you?” they receive varied and highly personal answers. One teacher might want the supervisor to be in the room more frequently. Another teacher might want the supervisor to check in by phone. Yet another might want the supervisor to model specific strategies before he or she tries them.

In addition to creating an overall positive work environment, supervisors need to engage in specific behaviors that reinforce teachers’ behavior change. As with the empathy example, individualization is key. For example, to build and maintain teachers’ instructional skills, supervisors have contingently used the following strategies: employee of the month, certificate of acknowledgment, edibles (especially chocolate), gift certificates for classroom supplies, public acknowledgment, and praise.

CONCLUSION

In this article, we have suggested that dealing with challenging behaviors is a stress-inducing enterprise that also creates many challenges for supervisors. Some of the more common supervisory challenges teachers and staff members have posed are the following:

* wanting a certain child or children removed from the classroom;

* experiencing high degrees of stress and other negative feelings;

* continually using ineffective strategies to manage challenging behavior;

* feeling overwhelmed with mandates and then viewing new teaching strategies as one more thing to do;

* not following through on suggestions to implement recommended practices; and

* demonstrating resistance to change and bad attitudes.

Supervisors can ameliorate these problems by acknowledging the associated feelings and stress related to working with children with chronic challenging behaviors, collaboratively developing a mission statement that reflects a zero-reject philosophy, adopting and fostering a problem-solving attitude in themselves and their staff, utilizing an inventory or assessment of recommended strategies as a starting point for determining the teaching teams’ strengths and targets for training, and becoming an engaged supervisor.

Although the early childhood profession has made great strides in the last decade in understanding the environmental events that maintain problem behaviors in young children and in delivering highly prescribed interventions, there is still a long way to go before this technology is adopted and used throughout early education settings. We have suggested that one of the key solutions to the implementation problem lies in the actions and attitudes of supervisors. By being actively engaged, supervisors can lead staff in a competency-enhancing process of behavior change that holds great promise for young children with challenging behaviors and the professionals who serve them.

APPENDIX: SELF-ASSESSMENT INVENTORY FORM

Teaching Team:– Supervisor:–

Time 1:– Time 2:–

Time One Evidence

1 = seldom

Classroom Arrangement 2 = occasionally

3 = consistently

1. The classroom has clearly 1 2 3

defined and well-equipped

learning centers. The number

of children allowed in a center

is limited, with visual

reminders of how many

children are allowed. 1 2 3

2. Materials are in good

working order and have

specific storage areas.

3. A variety of materials are 1 2 3

available so that children of all

skill levels have something to

play with.

4. Toys that promote social 1 2 3

interaction are present in all

learning centers.

5. A systematic toy rotation 1 2 3

plan is in effect to increase

novelty and engagement.

6. There is a visual cue 1 2 3

provided to children to signal

when an area or activity is

open or closed.

7. Children are visible at all 1 2 3

times. Shelving is no higher

than 48″.

8. The environmental 1 2 3

arrangement supports the

traffic flow of children

entering and participating

actively throughout the day.

Teaching Team:– Supervisor:–

Time 1:– Time 2:–

Time Two Evidence

1 = seldom

Classroom Arrangement 2 = occasionally

3 = consistently

1. The classroom has clearly 1 2 3

defined and well-equipped

learning centers. The number

of children allowed in a center

is limited, with visual

reminders of how many

children are allowed.

2. Materials are in good 1 2 3

working order and have

specific storage areas.

3. A variety of materials are 1 2 3

available so that children of all

skill levels have something to

play with.

4. Toys that promote social 1 2 3

interaction are present in all

learning centers.

5. A systematic toy rotation 1 2 3

plan is in effect to increase

novelty and engagement.

6. There is a visual cue 1 2 3

provided to children to signal

when an area or activity is

open or closed.

7. Children are visible at all 1 2 3

times. Shelving is no higher

than 48″.

8. The environmental 1 2 3

arrangement supports the

traffic flow of children

entering and participating

actively throughout the day.

Time One Evidence

1 = seldom

Schedules & Transitions 2 = occasionally

3 = consistently

1. There is a stable and 1 2 3

predictable schedule of

activities.

2. The schedule is available to 1 2 3

children in a developmentally

appropriate manner (e.g.,

picture schedule).

3. The schedule alternates 1 2 3

active and vigorous activities

with less active experiences.

There is a balance between

teacher-directed and child-

directed activities.

4. Adults utilize a zone- 1 2 3

approach to supervising

children vs. a person-to-person

approach.

5. Unnecessary transitions and 1 2 3

wait time are eliminated.

6. Children are systematically

taught the expectations for 1 2 3

transitions.

7. Children are warned before 1 2 3

a transition begins.

8. A consistent cue is used to 1 2 3

signal a transition.

9. Visual cues are used when 1 2 3

necessary (e.g., transition

cards, tape on the floor

demarcating where children

should line up) and transitions

are active times (e.g., moving

from activity to the next

walking like a certain animal,

etc.).

10. The teacher begins a new 1 2 3

activity when a few children

are ready to begin.

Time Two Evidence

1 = seldom

Schedules & Transitions 2 = occasionally

3 = consistently

1. There is a stable and 1 2 3

predictable schedule of

activities.

2. The schedule is available to 1 2 3

children in a developmentally

appropriate manner (e.g.,

picture schedule).

3. The schedule alternates 1 2 3

active and vigorous activities

with less active experiences.

There is a balance between

teacher-directed and child-

directed activities.

4. Adults utilize a zone- 1 2 3

approach to supervising

children vs. a person-to-person

approach.

5. Unnecessary transitions and 1 2 3

wait time are eliminated.

6. Children are systematically

taught the expectations for 1 2 3

transitions.

7. Children are warned before 1 2 3

a transition begins.

8. A consistent cue is used to 1 2 3

signal a transition.

9. Visual cues are used when 1 2 3

necessary (e.g., transition

cards, tape on the floor

demarcating where children

should line up) and transitions

are active times (e.g., moving

from activity to the next

walking like a certain animal,

etc.).

10. The teacher begins a new 1 2 3

activity when a few children

are ready to begin.

Teaching Team:– Supervisor:–

Time 1:– Time 2:–

Time Two Evidence

Classroom Activities–Small 1 = seldom

and Large Group 2 = occasionally

3 = consistently

1. Activities are open-ended 1 2 3

and provide many ways to

respond. Activities do not

require a lot of adult

assistance to get started.

2. Cooperative activities are 1 2 3

planned on a daily basis.

3. A physical structure is 1 2 3

provided for activities when

necessary (e.g., children work

on mats or trays; children sit

on carpet squares during circle

time, etc.).

4. Modifications and 1 2 3

adaptations are provided for

children when necessary to

help them be successful and

actively participate.

5. Children are taught specific 1 2 3

social skills and receive

multiple opportunities to

practice skills during small-

and large-group activities.

6. Materials for activities are 1 2 3

prepared and ready to go

before children arrive.

7. Adults give time, attention, 1 2 3

and praise to children for

demonstrating appropriate

pro-social skills during small-

and large-group activities.

8. During free-play time, 1 2 3

adults follow the child’s lead

and comment on the child’s

play rather than asking too

many questions or giving lots

of directions.

9. Teachers provide clear and 1 2 3

simple directions and model

expected behavior during

activities.

10. Large-group time (circle 1 2 3

time) is scheduled for no

longer than 15 minutes and

includes many active

responses from children.

11. Activities are planned for 1 2 3

high rates of active

engagement.

Time Two Evidence

Classroom Activities-Small 1 = seldom

and Large Group 2 = occasionally

3 = consistentl

1. Activities are open-ended 1 2 3

and provide many ways to

respond. Activities do not

require a lot of adult

assistance to et started.

2. Cooperative activities are 1 2 3

planned on a daily basis.

3. A physical structure is 1 2 3

provided for activities when

necessary (e.g., children work

on mats or trays; children sit

on carpet squares during circle

time, etc.).

4. Modifications and 1 2 3

adaptations are provided for

children when necessary to

help them be successful and

actively participate.

5. Children are taught specific 1 2 3

social skills and receive

multiple opportunities to

practice skills during small-

and large-group activities.

6. Materials for activities are 1 2 3

prepared and ready to go

before children arrive.

7. Adults give time, attention, 1 2 3

and praise to children for

demonstrating appropriate

pro-social skills during small-

and large-group activities.

8. During free-play time, 1 2 3

adults follow the child’s lead

and comment on the child’s

play rather than asking too

many questions or giving lots

of directions.

9. Teachers provide clear and 1 2 3

simple directions and model

expected behavior during

activities.

10. Large-group time (circle 1 2 3

time) is scheduled for no

longer than 15 minutes and

includes many active

responses from children.

11. Activities are planned for 1 2 3

high rates of active

engagement.

Teaching Team:– Supervisor:–

Time 1:– Time 2:–

Time One Evidence

1 = seldom

Team Planning 2 = occasionally

3 = consistently

1. Team members have 1 2 3

developed and can articulate a

shared philosophy for their

classroom.

2. A staff schedule is utilized. 1 2 3

3. Teachers prepare written 1 2 3

lesson plans so that substitutes

can follow them easily.

4. Teachers individualize the 1 2 3

lesson plans for children and

integrate children’s IEP/IFSP

goals and objectives into daily

activities. Children have many

opportunities to practice

targeted skills throughout the

day.

5. The classroom team meets 1 2 3

regularly with related service

and itinerant staff to discuss

children’s plans and progress

on therapy/IEP goals and

objectives.

6. Team members have a 1 2 3

protected time to meet on a

systematic basis to discuss

children’s progress.

7. Team members collect data 1 2 3

on children’s IEP/IFSP goals

and objectives and utilize this

information to make

instructional decisions.

Time Two Evidence

1 = seldom

Team Planning 2 = occasionally

3 = consistently

1. Team members have 1 2 3

developed and can articulate a

shared philosophy for their

classroom.

2. A staff schedule is utilized. 1 2 3

3. Teachers prepare written 1 2 3

lesson plans so that substitutes

can follow them easily.

4. Teachers individualize the 1 2 3

lesson plans for children and

integrate children’s IEP/IFSP

goals and objectives into daily

activities. Children have many

opportunities to practice

targeted skills throughout the

day.

5. The classroom team meets 1 2 3

regularly with related service

and itinerant staff to discuss

children’s plans and progress

on therapy/IEP goals and

objectives.

6. Team members have a 1 2 3

protected time to meet on a

systematic basis to discuss

children’s progress.

7. Team members collect data 1 2 3

on children’s IEP/IFSP goals

and objectives and utilize this

information to make

instructional decisions.

Teaching Team:– Supervisor:–

Time 1:– Time 2:–

Time One Evidence

1 = seldom

Behavior Plans 2 = occasionally

3 =consist entl

1. Adults use strategies such 1 2 3

as redirecting and planned

ignoring appropriately,

systematically, and sparingly.

2. The teaching team ensures 1 2 3

that all children have a

functional and appropriate

way to communicate.

3. Adults attend to and 1 2 3

reinforce appropriate behavior

at least five times more often

than attending to inappropriate

behavior.

4. The teaching team uses a 1 2 3

functional behavioral

assessment to determine why a

child might be demonstrating

challen in behavior.

5. Specific behavior plans for 1 2 3

individual children are

developed and implemented

with the entire team–including

parents–based on

the functional behavioral

assessment results.

6. Documentation is 1 2 3

maintained and used to

evaluate/revise all behavior

plans being implemented with

children.

Time Two Evidence

1 = seldom

Behavior Plans 2 = occasionally

3 = consistently

1. Adults use strategies such 1 2 3

as redirecting and planned

ignoring appropriately,

systematically, and sparingly.

2. The teaching team ensures 1 2 3

that all children have a

functional and appropriate

way to communicate.

3. Adults attend to and 1 2 3

reinforce appropriate behavior

at least five times more often

than attending to inappropriate

behavior.

4. The teaching team uses a 1 2 3

functional behavioral

assessment to determine why a

child might be demonstrating

challen in behavior.

5. Specific behavior plans for 1 2 3

individual children are

developed and implemented

with the entire team–including

parents–based on

the functional behavioral

assessment results.

6. Documentation is 1 2 3

maintained and used to

evaluate/revise all behavior

plans being implemented with

children.

Note. IEP = Individualized Education Program; IFSP = Individualized

Family Service Plan.

FIGURE 2. Inventory of recommended practices for preventing and

addressing challenging behavior.

Teaching Team: Julie Cammille, Kelly & LJ

Supervisor: Margaret Claussen Time 1: Oct. 3, 2003

Time 2:–

Time One

1 = seldom

Classroom Arrangement 2 = occasionally

3 = consistentl

1. The classroom has clearly (1) 2 3

defined and well-equipped

learning centers. The number of

children allowed in a center is

limited, with visual reminders of

how many children are allowed.

2. Materials are in good working

order and have specific storage 1 (2) 3

areas.

3. A variety of materials are

available so that children of all 1 2 (3)

skill levels have something to play

with.

4. Toys that promote social

interaction are present in all 1 (2) 3

learning centers.

5. A systematic toy rotation plan

is in effect to increase novelty and (1) 2 3

engagement.

6. There is a visual cue provided

to children to signal when an area 1 2 (3)

or activity is open or closed.

7. Children are visible at all

times. Shelving is no higher than 1 2 (3)

48”.

8. The environmental

arrangement supports the traffic

flow of children entering and (1) 2 3

participating actively throughout

the day.

Evidence

Classroom Arrangement

1. The classroom has clearly We do not limit the number of

defined and well-equipped children in areas.

learning centers. The number of

children allowed in a center is

limited, with visual reminders of

how many children are allowed.

2. Materials are in good working Some puzzles have lost pieces

order and have specific storage and some switch toys are not

areas. working,

3. A variety of materials are We have a variety of toys and

available so that children of all materials from developmental

skill levels have something to play age 18 mos to 7 years.

with.

4. Toys that promote social We have a teeter-totter- but that

interaction are present in all is all.

learning centers.

5. A systematic toy rotation plan We do not use a toy rotation

is in effect to increase novelty and system.

engagement.

6. There is a visual cue provided We cover closed areas with

to children to signal when an area sheets.

or activity is open or closed.

7. Children are visible at all All of our shelving is under 4′

times. Shelving is no higher than and we can see all the children.

48”.

8. The environmental Children have to walk across the

arrangement supports the traffic room to put their things away

flow of children entering and and then back to sit down for

participating actively throughout breakfast–always causing

the day. problems!!

Time Two

1 = seldom

Classroom Arrangement 2 = occasionally

3 = consistentl

1. The classroom has clearly 1 2 3

defined and well-equipped

learning centers. The number of

children allowed in a center is

limited, with visual reminders of

how many children are allowed.

2. Materials are in good working 1 2 3

order and have specific storage

areas.

3. A variety of materials are 1 2 3

available so that children of all

skill levels have something to play

with.

4. Toys that promote social 1 2 3

interaction are present in all

learning centers.

5. A systematic toy rotation plan 1 2 3

is in effect to increase novelty and

engagement.

6. There is a visual cue provided 1 2 3

to children to signal when an area

or activity is open or closed.

7. Children are visible at all 1 2 3

times. Shelving is no higher than

48”.

8. The environmental 1 2 3

arrangement supports the traffic

flow of children entering and

participating actively throughout

the day.

Evidence

Classroom Arrangement

1. The classroom has clearly

defined and well-equipped

learning centers. The number of

children allowed in a center is

limited, with visual reminders of

how many children are allowed.

2. Materials are in good working

order and have specific storage

areas.

3. A variety of materials are

available so that children of all

skill levels have something to play

with.

4. Toys that promote social

interaction are present in all

learning centers.

5. A systematic toy rotation plan

is in effect to increase novelty and

engagement.

6. There is a visual cue provided

to children to signal when an area

or activity is open or closed.

7. Children are visible at all

times. Shelving is no higher than

48.00

8. The environmental

arrangement supports the traffic

flow of children entering and

participating actively throughout

the day.

REFERENCES

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Jones, E., & Nimmo, J. (1999). Collaboration, conflict, and change: Thoughts on education as provocation. Young Children, 54(1), 5-10.

Jones-Harden, B., Winslow, M. B., Kendziora, K. T., Shahinfar, A., Rubin, K. H., Fox, N. A., et al. (2000). Externalizing problems in Head Start children: An ecological exploration. Early Education and Development, 11, 357-385.

Joseph, G. E., Strain, P. S., & Skinner, B. (2003). [Early care and education professionals beliefs, practices and skills regarding young children with challenging behavior: A survey]. Unpublished raw data.

Long, N., Morse, W., & Newman, R. (1965). Conflict in the classroom. Elmsford, NY: Pergamon Press.

McCabe, L. (1997, April). Social development in preschool: Children’s changing needs and teachers’ changing methods. Poster presented at the biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, Washington, DC.

Odom, S. L., McConnell, S. R., & Chandler, L. (1990). Acceptability and feasibility of classroom-based social interaction intervention for young children with disabilities (Vanderbilt-Minnesota Social Interaction Project). Nashville: Vanderbilt University.

Strain, P. S., & Hemmeter, M. L. (1997). Dealing with challenging behavior. Young Exceptional Children, 1, 1-6.

Walsh, S., Smith, B. J., & Taylor, R. C. (2000). IDEA requirements for preschoolers with disabilities: Challenging behaviors. Reston, VA: Council for Exceptional Children.

Webster-Stratton, C. (1999). How to promote children’s social and emotional competence. London: Paul Chapman.

Webster-Stratton, C, & Hammond, M. (1997). Treating children with early-onset conduct problems: A comparison of child and parent training interventions. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 65, 93-109.

Webster-Stratton, C., & Hammond, M. (1998). Conduct problems and level of social competence in Head Start children: Prevalence, pervasiveness, and associated risk factors. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 1, 101-123.

Yoshikawa, H., & Knitzer, J. (1997). Lessons from the field: Head Start mental health strategies to meet changing needs. New York: National Center for Children in Poverty.

Yoshikawa, H., & Zigler, E. (2000). Mental health in Head Start: New directions for the twenty-first century. Early Education and Development, 11, 247-264.

Phil S. Strain

Gail E. Joseph

University of Colorado at Denver

Address: Phil S. Strain, Positive Early Learning Experiences Center, University of Colorado at denver, 1380 Lawrence St., Suite 600, Denver, CO 80204.

COPYRIGHT 2004 Pro-Ed

COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group