Your browser version is outdated. We recommend that you update your browser to the latest version.

Carmel Caterpillars Preschool



Carmel Caterpillars Pre-School

Achieving Positive Behaviour Policy

Policy Statement


Our setting believes that children flourish best when their personal, social and emotional needs are met, and where there are clear and developmentally appropriate expectations for their behaviour. 

Children need to learn to consider the views and feelings, needs and rights of others, and the impact that their behaviour has on people, places and objects. This is a developmental task that requires support, encouragement,teaching and setting the correct example. The principles that underpin how we achieve positive and considerate behaviour exist within the programme for promoting personal, social and emotional development.   


We have a named person, EMMA RULER, who has overall responsibility for our programme for supporting personal, social and emotional development, including issues concerning behaviour. 

  • We require EMMA RULER to:
  1. keep herself up to date with legislation, research and thinking, on promoting positive behaviour, and on handling children's behaviour, where it may require additional support. 
  2. access relevant sources of expertise on promoting positive behaviour within the programme for supporting personal, social and emotional development. 
  3. check that all staff have relevant in-service training on promoting positive behaviour. We keep a record of staff attendance at this training. 
  • we recognise that codes for interacting with other people vary, between cultures, and require staff to be aware of, and respect, those used by members of the setting. 
  • we require all staff, volunteers and students to provide a positive model of behaviour, by treating children, parents and one another with friendliness, care and courtesy. 
  • we familiarise new staff and volunteers within the setting's behaviour policy and its guidelines for behaviour. 
  • we expect all members of our setting, children, parents, staff, volunteers, and students, to keep to the guidelines, requiring these to be applied consistently. 
  • we work in partnership with children's parents. Parents are regularly informed about their children's behaviour by their Key Person. We work with parents to address recurring inconsiderate behaviour, using our observation records to help us to understand the cause, and to decide jointly, how to respond appropriately. 

Strategies with children who engage in inconsiderate behaviour

  • we require all staff, volunteers and students to use positive strategies for handling any inconsiderate behaviour, by helping children find solutions in ways which are appropriate for the children's ages and stages of development. Such solutions might include, for example, acknowledgment of feelings, explanation as to what was not acceptable, and supporting children to gain control of their feelings, so that they can learn a more appropriate response.
  • we ensure that there are enough popular toys and resources, and sufficient activities available, so that children are meaningfully occupied, without the need for unnecessary conflict over sharing and waiting for turns.
  • we acknowledge considerate behaviour such as kindness and willingness to share.
  • we support each child in developing self-esteem, confidence and feelings of competence. 
  • we support each child in developing a sense of belonging in our group, so that they may feel valued and welcome. 
  • we avoid creating situations in which children receive adult attention only, in return for inconsiderate behaviour. 
  • when children behave in inconsiderate ways, we help them to understand the outcomes of their action, and support them in learning how to cope more appropriately. If a child continues to use inappropriate behaviour, we will support them using "time out", taking in to account their level of understanding and development. 
  • we never send children out of the room by themselves, nor do we use a "naughty chair". 
  • we never use physical punishment, such as smacking or shaking. Children are never threatened with these. 
  • we do not use techniques intended to single out and humiliate individual children. 
  • we use physical restraint, such as holding, only to prevent physical injury to children or adults and/or serious damage to property. 
  • details of such an event, ( what happened, what action was taken and by whom, and the names of any witnesses), are brought to the attention of the setting leader, and are recorded in the appropriate book. The child's parent is informed on the same day. 
  • in cases of serious misbehaviour, such as racial or other abuse, we make clear immediately the unacceptability of the behaviour and attitudes, by means of explanations, rather than personal blame. 
  • we do not shout or raise our voices in a threatening way to respond to children's inconsiderate behaviour. 

Children under three years

  • when children under 3 behave in inconsiderate ways, we recognise that strategies for supporting them will need to be developmentally appropriate and differ from those for older children.
  • we recognise that babies and very young children are unable to regulate their own emotions, such as fear, anger or distress, and require sensitive adults to help them to do this. 
  • common inconsiderate or hurtful behaviour of young children include tantrums, biting or fighting. Staff are calm and patient, offering comfort to intense emotions, helping children to manage their feelings and talk about them to help resolve issues, and promote understanding. 
  • if tantrums, biting or fighting are frequent, we try to find out the underlying cause, such as a change or upheaval at home, or frequent change of carers. Sometimes a child has not settled in well and the behaviour may be the result of " separation anxiety". 
  • we focus on ensuring a child's attachment figure in the setting, their Key Person, is building a strong relationship to provide security to the child. 

Rough and tumble play, hurtful behaviour and bullying

Our procedure has been updated to provide additional focus on these kinds of inconsiderate behaviours.

Rough and tumble play and fantasy aggression

Young children often engage in play that has aggressive themes, such as superhero and weapon play. Some children appear pre-occupied with these themes, but their behaviour is not necessarily a precursor to hurtful behaviour or bullying, although it may be inconsiderate at times, and may need addressing using strategies as above. 

  • we recognise that teasing and rough and tumble play are normal for young children and acceptable within limits. We regard these kinds of play as pro-social and not as problematic or aggressive.
  • we will develop strategies to contain play, that are agreed with the children, and understood by them, with acceptable behavioural boundaries, to ensure children are not hurt. 
  • we recognise that fantasy play also contains many violently dramatic strategies, blowing up, shooting etc, and that themes often refer to "goodies and baddies", and as such offer opportunities for us to explore concepts of right and wrong. 
  • we are able to tune in to the content of the play, perhaps to suggest alternative strategies for heroes and heroines, making the most of "teachable moments" to encourage empathy and lateral thinking to explore alternative scenarios and strategies for conflict resolution. 

Hurtful behaviour/Bullying

We take hurtful behaviour very seriously. Most children under the age of five will, at some stage, hurt or say something hurtful to another child, especially if their emotions are high at the time, but it is not helpful to label this behaviour as "bullying". For children under five, hurtful behaviour is momentary, spontaneous and often without cognisance of the feelings of the person whom they have hurt. We feel that children under five do not have the cognitive development, where he or she is able to plan and carry out a premeditated attempt to cause distress in another. 

  • we recognise that young children behave in hurtful ways towards others, because they have not yet developed the means to manage intense feelings that sometimes overwhelms them. 
  • we will help them manage these feelings as they have neither the biological means, nor the cognitive means, to do this for themselves. 
  • we understand that self -management of intense emotions, especially of anger, happens when the brain has developed neurological systems to manage the physiological processes that take place when triggers activate responses of anger or fear. 
  • therefore we help this process by offering support, calming the child who is angry as well as the one who has been hurt by the behaviour. By helping the child to return to a normal state, we are helping the brain to develop the physiological response system that will help the child to be able to manage his or her own feelings.
  • we do not engage in punitive responses to a young child's rage as that will have the opposite effect. 
  • our way of responding to pre-verbal children is to calm them through holding and cuddling. Verbal children will also respond to cuddling to calm them down, but we offer them an explanation and discuss the incident with them, to their level of understanding. 
  • we recognise that young children require help in understanding the range of feelings they experience. We help children recognise their feelings by naming them and helping children to express them, making a connection verbally between the event and the feeling. Older children will be able to verbalise their feelings better, talking through themselves about the feelings that motivated the behaviour. 
  • we help young children to empathise with others, understanding that they may have feelings too, and that their actions impact on other's feelings.  We help young children develop pro-social behaviour, such as resolving conflict over who has, for instance, the toy. We are aware that the same problem may happen over and over before skills such as sharing and turn-taking take place. Children will need repeated experiences with problem solving, supported by patient adults and clear boundaries. 
  • we support social skills through modelling behaviour, through activities, drama and stories. We build self-esteem and confidence in children, recognising their emotional needs through close and committed relationships with them. 
  • we help a child to understand the effect that their hurtful behaviour has had on another child. We encourage children to say sorry, where it is clear that they are genuinely sorry and wish to show this to the person they have hurt. 
  • when hurtful behaviour becomes problematic, we work with parents to identify the cause and find a solution together. The main reasons for very young children to engage in excessive hurtful behaviour are that:
  1. they do not feel securely attached to someone who can interpret and meet their needs. This may be in the home and it may also be in the setting. 
  2. their parent, or carer in the setting, does not have skills in responding appropriately, and consequently negative patterns are developing where hurtful behaviour is the only response the child has to express feelings of anger. 
  3. the child may have insufficient language, or mastery of English, to express him or herself and may feel frustrated. 
  4. the child is exposed to levels of aggressive behaviour at home and may be at risk emotionally, or may be experiencing child abuse. 
  5. the child has a developmental condition that affects how they behave. 
  • where this does not work, we use the Code of Practice, to support the child and family, making the appropriate referrals to a Behaviour Support Team, where necessary. 


Behaviour Management Strategies

All staff and students are given a copy of our Behaviour Management Strategies, along with our Behaviour Management Policy, and are asked to read, and act accordingly. All children are treated fairly and equally. Staff will not "shout" at the children.

What behaviour is unacceptable, and the strategy:

  • RUNNING - without purpose. Children will be asked " how do we move around Pre-School", and taken back to where they were, and asked to show us how we should move around Pre-School, in a safe manner. 
  • CARPET TIME - No toys are allowed at carpet time. At least 2 members of staff, and where appropriate up to 4 , will sit with the children. Staff will sit on chairs, whilst children sit on the carpet. Children will be asked to sit, and remain in their own space. We will separate the children, if and when necessary. 
  • SWEARING - words, and gestures. One warning will be given and then "time out" will be used. 
  • PHYSICAL CONTACT - Staff will deal with and comfort hurt child first.Staff will talk to the child about their unacceptable behaviour, using clear and simple language. One warning will be given. "Time out" will be used on the second incident. Staff will encourage child to say sorry, if developmentally appropriate.  
  • AGGRESSIVE BEHAVIOUR - Staff will talk to child about their unacceptable behaviour, using clear and simple language. Remove any toy, or child, from a situation, where necessary. One warning will be give. " Time out" will be used thereafter. 

Time out will be used as aforementioned. The child will be removed from the situation and sat with an adult for an appropriate length of time, (number of minutes per year of age). 

These strategies were agreed by staff and committee at the Behaviour Management meeting 


 The original of this document was signed on behalf of Carmel caterpillars Pre-School Committee by the current Chairperson