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Betsy Evans, in an Exchange magazine article asks if there really is such a thing as bullying in preschool. Here’s how she answers:
“Bullying behavior across all age groups is a pattern of verbal or physical intimidation towards someone with less social or physical power. Bullying can exist when a power gap between children is not recognized and resolved with adult support. A hurtful preschool behavior can become a pattern of bullying only when it is repeated, intense, and targeted. Consequently any typical, aggressive preschool behavior in this targeted form is potentially the beginning of a pattern of bullying, but only if adults allow it to continue. Keep in mind as we consider this topic that bullying is a set of actions or behaviors. It is not a permanent condition; it is not a person. Merely labeling children 'bullies' and responding with punishment does not foster healthy social-emotional growth in young children.”
In the Out of the Box Training Kit, “Teasing, Bullying, and Being Left Out,” author Meg Thomas writes: “We talk to our children about differences. We support them in developing positive feelings about themselves and others…However, even though we know that someday they are likely to encounter teasing and bullying, we do little to prepare them…Teasing and bullying can have serious consequences for children and they need our help to learn how to handle them effectively.”
Source: “What Adults Can do to Stop Hurtful Preschool Behavior Before It Becomes a Pattern of Bullying,” by Betsy Evans, Exchange magazine, May/June 2012
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