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Violence and Swearing in the EYFS

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by emilyelizabethstarkey, Dec 7, 2011.

  1. I am an NQT and in January will have my first ever class of my own. I am so excited but there is one worry that I have....
    My worry comes in the form of a child, a child who, when visiting the school, drove the TA to tears. I am yet to learn more about this child but from what I am aware he has 'good and bad days', no kind of support in school, a mother who passes the blame, and a lot of anger.
    I have no experience in dealing with violent children and so would like to go in, in January, with a clear plan of action in my mind. I think at the moment when he is violent his mother is called to come for him but i am unsure how the current teacher deals with his disruptive behaviour and swearing. He does seem to have friends and get along with the other children and enjoy himself at school but then, most days, something will happen and he will kick off.
    I fear for the safety of the class and my TA and the child himself. I hope to chat to the EYFS leader and maybe the Head about him some more before I start as I feel it is only a matter of time before he will seriously injure himself or someone else.
    I'm not really sure though, what to expect from the school. It seems to me like he needs some kind of behavioural expert but then why has this not been done already? Where do I stand? Do I have the right to demand more support than is currently available?
    Any help would be much appreciated!
     
  2. I am an NQT and in January will have my first ever class of my own. I am so excited but there is one worry that I have....
    My worry comes in the form of a child, a child who, when visiting the school, drove the TA to tears. I am yet to learn more about this child but from what I am aware he has 'good and bad days', no kind of support in school, a mother who passes the blame, and a lot of anger.
    I have no experience in dealing with violent children and so would like to go in, in January, with a clear plan of action in my mind. I think at the moment when he is violent his mother is called to come for him but i am unsure how the current teacher deals with his disruptive behaviour and swearing. He does seem to have friends and get along with the other children and enjoy himself at school but then, most days, something will happen and he will kick off.
    I fear for the safety of the class and my TA and the child himself. I hope to chat to the EYFS leader and maybe the Head about him some more before I start as I feel it is only a matter of time before he will seriously injure himself or someone else.
    I'm not really sure though, what to expect from the school. It seems to me like he needs some kind of behavioural expert but then why has this not been done already? Where do I stand? Do I have the right to demand more support than is currently available?
    Any help would be much appreciated!
     
  3. Crikey! You're taking exactly the right attitude I think - having a definite plan on going in. This attitude is too often treated as 'fussing' in my experience [​IMG]
    Does his mother take him home? Is this a punishment (would this count as suspension?) or just a 'we cant deal with him'. I dont think either is necessary or effective but if this is the SLT policy then there isn't much you can do.
    Familiarise yourself with the legalities of restraining children and the school's policies if they have one. Create a plan in your own head of how you will restrain when necessary. Find out his triggers if he has any and the worst thing he has done (so you know how far he'll go if it happens to you. For example I think I'd find it very difficult to teach a child who spat at me or tried to harm my face in some way, so if he's done these...I'd be thinking very carefully)
    You dont say much about what he has done, whether its single events (he punches and then stops) or whether its violent rages that dont stop until someone stops him. If its the latter, which it sounds like, your methods really depends how he responds to being restrained. The first thing I would do when he's violent take his arm/s (by the elbows or wrist) to prevent him hitting and steer him away from the situation. I would explain consequences and allow him back to the lesson. But if he pulls away, tries to continue hurting and gets more angy this is difficult and really he needs a time out which doesn't require you pinning him down! Do you think your TA would agree to taking him out?If not then unfortunately your method will have to be 'one strike and you're out the room off to the heads office' - you cant end up with a situation where you're manhandling a screaming child in the middle of a lesson with no where else to go.
    He may need more support but he may also just need a very firm hand! I doubt you can 'demand' extra support in terms of adults or interventions as you'll probably be told the money isnt there but if you fear for the safety of yourself and others you certainly have the right to demand some sort of SLT support. If the TA isnt prepared to be alone with him/restrain him (which many wouldnt be, frankly I dont think theyre paid enough) and he cant be in the classroom in case he hurts someone then your head has no choice but to find someone to supervise him (this is probably where the 'call Mum' came in!). I would say then that your aim is to find some way of timming him out that does not require him leaving the room/general classroom area - a special spot or chair.
    I think there also needs to be a consequence - but I'm not used to such little ones. Perhaps time out is a punishment in itself?
    As with any intervention it will take time. He needs to learn to control himself, hes not necessarily being deliberately naughty.
     
  4. Make sure you have a thorough understanding of the behaviour policy and follow it exactly. Seek the SLT's advice before you start and go from there. I would keep a log of any incidents that occur even minor. This helps in case his behaviour gets worse so you can prove it (to hopefully get extra support) and also might help you establish if there is a pattern to his behaviour. I'd recommend you spend a little time observing him in the classroom before you start in January (if you have the time) to see what triggers his behaviour. Be prepared in January to have to try a range of strategies before you find the one that works for him. I had a child with behaviour issues in September and arranged a meeting with her Mum straight away - make sure you're both on the same side, both having the same expectations of him and both following through with consequences. I also let the Mum know at the end of each day how her behaviour was so she could follow it on at home. It may take time but you'll be fine.
     
  5. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    I don't know how if it would work with such a young child, but the following is how a Special school dealt with a 7 year old who had difficulties controlling his temper. I taught him on supply for a week.
    They discovered that he absolutely loved tea and biscuits. A star chart was kept each day and he earned a star for each lesson without a melt-down. He needed a certain number of stars per week to be allowed to take tea and biscuits with the Head every Friday. If he earned the treat, he was allowed to select a fellow pupil to be a guest too.
    A younger child might need the reward to be on a daily basis.
    Speak to the mother and ask what sort of thing appeals to the child and what sort of things 'set him off'.
    30 years ago, the only way to manae my son's toddler tantrums was to wrap my arms around his upper body, with his arms trapped at his sides. I'd sit down and wrap my legs around his legs. He'd try to kick out and move his arms but couldn't but I wouldn't be exerting any great pressure on him, so no danger of bruising/friction burns (which could happen if you hold him by the wrists).
    Eventually my son's attempts to thrash about exhausted him and I'd feel him relax, with all the fight gone out of him. He'd often be tearful at that point and would then want a cuddle before he said sorry.
    You need to agree a physical intervention with your mentor/Head beforehand as in these litigous times physical contact can be misconstrued. There is a duty of care, though, to intervene physically to prevent any pupil doing harm to themselves or others. We are even allowed to intervene to protect property.
     
  6. Doitforfree

    Doitforfree Lead commenter

    I fully agree about finding out what he really likes or dislikes. My son had tantrums at home (never at school, thank goodness) and the two things that worked were not letting him go on the computer and ignoring him. As soon as he started to get cross I told him he had forfeited his go on the computer that day. Initially this made him even crosser but it did eventually sink in that if he controlled himself he wouldn't lose his go. He used to leave the room instead, until he'd lost that urge to shout and scream. If he did have a tantrum we took no notice as far as possible. He did grow out of it, but it took a long time. I've since worked out that he doesn't cope well with what he perceives to be bad news (we're going to the dentist after school so you can't play out, type of thing) and that if he was well warned ahead of things a lot of the tantrums just didn't arise.
     
  7. Hello,
    Thanks for all your wonderful advice. I have since been back to the school and had some good news: I am being given a 1-1 TA for him, 20hrs a week which will really help. Also spoken to the head and he seems to be awaiting a visit from an ed. psych which is good to know.
    I have learnt a few things about the child - ignoring him does NOT work - he just esculates til it's out of control! Nor does raising your voice. The best technique, when he starts to go off on one, is distraction. Though I have not yet been able to discover any kind of trigger.
    I have been told I am not to restrain him as i have no training in it. Most of the other members of staff in the Foundation Unit are trained so will need to rely on them in times of crisis!
    I am back again next Tuesday and this will be the last time before I begin in Jan as the class teacher so I need to make some kind of check list to make sure i'm fully prepared and get every thing I need from this final visit. My mind's blank but I just feel like as soon as I get home that night I will be like "ahhh i should have done this and that and that and this!!!!"
    I am thinking of creating some kind of special area for him to chill out when he feels himself getting angry. Also some kind of daily task to do with his TA. like a mini plastic set of drawers where he has 3 tasks to do in drawers 1, 2 and 3 (name writing, jigsaw and number puzzle for example) and if he does all 3, he gets his reward from drawer 4 (once i find out what he likes!). So then I have control over what he is doing - but he still feels in control as he can pick what to do and when. - what do you think?
    Also definately agreeing on lots of circle time to discuss feelings and stuff and a journal of incidents. And some reward system in place too for general good behaviour, and of course lots of praise!!!!
    Thanks again! Keep the thoughts coming!! x
     
  8. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    I like the task drawer ideas with a reward drawer.
    Whist dealing with this boy is your current focus, beware of resentment from other well-behaved children who see adults bending over backwards to praise and reward him. You must be accentuating the positive in all the other children and giving them more rewards so that the boy notices the connection between complying,listening and working hard and getting more 'positive strokes'.
    Secondary schools went overboard in treating challenging pupils (trips out, sweets etc) and an alement of well behaved pupils decided that 'playing up and then toeing the line' was the way to go to alaso get treats!
     
  9. We have a child in EYFS who is displaying many of the behaviours your child is. He is in school half days and currently removed from the classroom and working with a TA on a 1-1 basis in an open area. The best way to deal with this child is distraction techniques so they have to be one step ahead of him, so it may be useful to have a box full of quick resources to use (our TA has a box of noisy toys and quick games, as well as books they can read to diffuse a situation).
     
  10. maggieDD

    maggieDD New commenter

    You are describing the child I work with! He is in year 2 now, but has only had the one to one support since the beginning the school year.
    He basically has very limited frustration tolerance (make that zero) and triggers are when he is asked to do something he doesn't want to do (writing mostly)
    I am totally confused when it comes to restraining though, as behaviour support have told me, under no circumstances should I physically remove him, as the local authority will not defend me at all, should he injure himself by trying to pull away (so I should just let him throw chairs at the rest of the children?) Whilst I realise that phsyical contact with him will provoke him attacking myself, I can't risk the rest of the class being injured!
    When I air my views to the head teacher she just says 'it's difficult'!
     
  11. maggieDD

    maggieDD New commenter

    Thank you!

    I am extremely reluctant to ever have to remove a child from the class and will do everything to avoid things getting to that stage. My head has offered me a restraining training course, but I'd rather a distraction training course! (I feel all my distractions have ran their course :( )
     
  12. may well be that he ends up in a referral unit of which I have much experience!! Here all sanctions are focused to diffuse negatives and reinforce positives. FOR NOW you must stick rigidly to the behavioural policy of the school record everything, and watch this space It takes time for the sysytem to work and you may need to go with the flow. Give him the benefit of the doubt, give it your best shot a try not to prejudge. GOOD LUCK
     
  13. maggieDD

    maggieDD New commenter




    Beginning to think this child will be excluded. Whilst I want to believe it will work if he can the fact that he states that he will have a strop if he is made to do certain tasks makes me think he is making a conscious choice and his outbursts aren't something he can't control.
    He is so difficult to work with, will be extremely rude and basically throw a fit even if I am helping him, offering something he wants when he has completed it. It ALL has to be on his terms, and if it isn't, all hell breaks loose. Not sure I can cope anymore :(
     
  14. maggieDD

    maggieDD New commenter




    Beginning to think this child will be excluded. Whilst I want to believe he will work if he can the fact that he states that he will have a strop if he is made to do certain tasks makes me think he is making a conscious choice and his outbursts aren't something he can't control.
    He is so difficult to work with, will be extremely rude and basically throw a fit even if I am helping him, offering something he wants when he has completed it. It ALL has to be on his terms, and if it isn't, all hell breaks loose. Not sure I can cope anymore :(
     
  15. I taught a child like this in her first year, she came from a very disturbed background, had never attended any preschool and she came in with every bell ringing after only a half hour meeting with the principal. Luckily enough I'd had a TA too and she was excellent.

    This child's behaviour was extreme and she scrapped, kicked, cursed and bit myself, the TA and the children. We spent the whole year trying different strategies to integrate her and train her in social norms. Some of what we did worked well but only after she'd made some progress so she could process what we were doing.

    I found teaching her an extremely challenging experience and I had 7years experience teaching this age level. Please do not let whatever happens this year influence you in your career path, unfortunatley children like this will not miraculously settle and it took the whole years work to get my child to work within the class and for the behaviours to settle down to a satisfactory level. Take every small improvement and value it-you'll be at the root of something making a difference-whether or not you can see it! You do not know everything that is happening at home and children do not come to school with these behaviours for no reason so do keep a record of anything suspicious and jot up every incident in class. It's a lot of paperwork but it's great to have the evidence for any inspectors, parents, school management, social workers, or psychologists.

    The best overall behaviour strategy that I found was putting in a very comprehensive reward system (based on the Incredible Years programme) for the whole class, every good behaviour displayed by her or the other children got instantly rewarded by a star. Ten stars meant a chance to choose a prize from my prize box. She got them only when she really worked for them. (I agree with a previous reply on teachers over praising and rewarding behaviour in troublesome children-it doesn't really work long term-and demotivated all the other hard working children). This helped straight away but really started to make a big difference in the third term.

    A teacher subbed for me and it turned out she'd worked with children with brain injuries and had a lot of experience with behavioural problems. Her advice was the second most effective strategy I used and it was simply to ignore her when the acting up started and exclude her from a fun activity till the behaviour normalised. If we were working away and she wouldn't complete the task I'd stop and address the class and tell them how all the children who were "such good, hard workers who'd finished their work" should come up and play a game. She'd be excluded till her work was finished. This was amazingly effective but did interrupt the normal timetable and take up teaching time. A trade off I was more than willing to make.

    The child was also taken out by a member of staff to have play therapy sessions of 30mins and was taught by this woman the Dinosaur School method of time outs with the focus on it being a calming down period the child uses, not a punishment period. These sessions did definitely help give the child feel safer in the school environment and helped her settle into a time out in the class when I needed her to go.

    Any physical aggression meant a time out straight away to calm down followed by an appropriate consequence/punishment afterwards. Any non physical aggression got a warning, and if the behaviour was repeated she got a count down to stop, then if still continued got a time out too and a consequence. Everything was immediate-both consequences and rewards as the child had no understanding of what was happening if it was delayed.

    The TA was amazing with the child too-her patience was huge-and she did get the brunt of every behaviour. She formed quite a bond with the child-almost mothering her. The child was an undersized four year old and if the behaviour was extremely dangerous we could and would pick her up and carry her away from the other children, often with an arm around her stomach and her back to us so she couldn't scratch/bite us. Even still we did get a few marks during the year. Better us than the kids. The TA also worked one on one with her at every stage of the day and during listening periods, which was a trigger time, she'd sit the child on her lap and bouce/rock her like a two year old.
    Playtime was another trigger time, the child couldn't share and got jealous of other children's toys and would take them away. We had to limit the children playing with her and give her extra space so she was never crowded.
    The child didn't seem able to stand in a line without an incident too and we had to bring her in from the yard straight away-to turn on the lights! Or walk holding her hand.

    I hope all of this will give you a few ideas that might help you in your situation. Don't give up and remember to give yourself credit for everything, especially if the rest of the class are still working to their potential despite this child's behaviour, that means you're succeeding!!!

    Good luck
     
  16. maggieDD

    maggieDD New commenter

    Thank you so much for your thorough and informative response! I will continue to do my best by this child, even if he is referred in the end. I guess it's easy to let a few bad days cloud any positivity that may well have occured amongst the battlefield!
     
  17. Everychild is different so there isnt a right way, but what worked with my one-on-one child was to allow him to go and sit outside the heads office whenever he felt angry. This achieved 3 things:

    1)he could still get his reward if he got angry AS LONG as he had not caused damage to anyone/thing (petulant kicking was v difficult to overcome but achievable!)
    2)the head teacher knew where he was so if he couldnt control his rage the best person of them all was right by

    But most importantly he learned to at first recognise and then control his anger.

    It was also helpful to keep camly talking to him about where he could go NOT as a punishment, and have time to calm down. When he took himself to the chairs outside the heads office he would get alot of praise and could go back to class when he was ready
     
  18. Having worked with kids with BESD I would say that one effective strategy that works some of the time is to give the kid choices eg ' Either you finish your work now or finish it in playtime' If they are given choices they feel more in control of their lives.Also every lesson/day is a fresh start. You expect good behaviour and aren't on the lookout for bad behaviour. It's amazing how subtle attitudes from a teacher can transmit themselves to the child. Works for me-some of the time!
     
  19. maggieDD

    maggieDD New commenter

    Choices definitely work..sometimes..I always use them, but sometimes the answer will be 'neither' then you're trumped!

    I have been reading up on Pathological Demand Avoidance thanks to someone on here and it really does seem to describe my 1:1 The only problem is, when I tell the class teacher they just say that he hasn't been diagnosed, basically 'what do you know'? It's quite disconcerting when all I want to do is help him!
     
  20. Maybe his trigger is groups of children? maybe he finds it all too much in one go? try to see a pattern..for example being crowded may be what he doesnt like?
    Try and talk to his parents to make a joint reward system so that it is consistant with home and school...stickers...extra playtime....a treat box he can pick a small prize out of...a sticker chart leading to a bigger prize at the end of the week?
    x
     

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