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Examining Our Expectations
March 5, 2019
Until all of us have made it, none of us have made it.
-Rosemary Brown

“When a child exhibits challenging behaviors,” writes Michelle Salcedo in an Exchange article, Classrooms as the Root of Challenging Behaviors, “what if, instead of blaming the child, we were to look first at the environment? What if the focus were to shift from fixing the child to adapting the conditions in which the child is growing and learning?...

“Children are not designed to sit quietly, share all materials, space and attention while inside the same room for hours on end. Yet, these are often expectations in the early childhood classroom (Alliance for Childhood, 2009). When a child’s body is compelling him to ‘move, move, move’ at the same time a Pre-K teacher is prompting ‘criss-cross, applesauce’ so she can lead a group time, something is going to give. And the resulting behavior is usually seen as challenging behavior. If a child acts out in response to an expectation, a teacher first needs to examine the expectation by asking:

  • Is the expectation something that children generally are capable of doing at their current stage of development?
  • Is the expectation something that is within a particular child’s ability?
  • Is the expectation necessary for the safety or well being of the child in question?”

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