Part 1: The Learning Environment
After reviewing the planned lay out for the new teacher’s classroom, I would suggest that shelving for toys and library shelves for books be placed against walls and secured safely to prevent them from falling on a child. Additionally, any sizable object in the center of the room might make it difficult for the teacher to see around, therefore unable to stop any unsafe activity.
The cooking station might make more sense located in the back of the room near the sink where running water would make clean up and hand washing easier. The art and water play would be better located also near a sink and off the carpeted area to avoid soiling the rug. The carpet would be a better and more comfortable gathering spot for stories and circle time.
Cubbies for student belongings would be more useful located near the entrance, where parents and children could store possessions while saying good-bye. It would also be more visually calming for entering children if the sudden stimulation of the computer were not immediately in their line of sight. Move the computer to the corner and relocate the music and movement station to the center to give the children more room in which to move freely and safely.
Part 2: Expectations
I would suggest two changes to the posted rules for the classroom. Rephrase the rules in a more positive tone; for instance, “Walk Inside” rather than “No running.” Another idea would be to add a simple drawing or clue for non-readers. A child with a finger against closed lips might be a way to remind children to maintain quiet in some areas of the classroom.
While it certainly is a good idea to outline expectations for parents before school starts, it might be a good idea to begin with the learning outcomes the teacher has for the children. Rather than being detailed with the discipline plan and minute count for time outs, the teacher could emphasize ways in which the students will be encouraged to interact in positive ways with others as they are taught social skills and how to behave in a group. Young children will not necessarily be able to remember rules told to them by parents prior to the first day of school, and expecting them to do so might set up an atmosphere of mistrust and fear.
Part 3: Problem Solving
In order to help David move from the dramatic play area into the next activity, the teacher is being wise in giving a warning of an upcoming transition. Perhaps David might be given a specific pleasant task to do in the dramatic play area to help him begin to put things away, such as putting all the play food in a basket. Informing David of what will be happening in the next block of time would also help him focus ahead instead of dwelling on what he must stop doing. Inviting David into the next activity with a specific task would also help the transition. The teacher might say, “David, I saved a special place on the carpet for you today so you can easily see the pictures in the book we’ll be reading about puppies. I know you have a dog at home and that you really like to read about them.” In this way the teacher is also making a personal connection to David and welcoming him into the next activity.
Roger also must be given tasks to focus him on his own actions and behaviors rather than having him tell David what to do. Roger might be directed to the carpet and asked to save a special spot for David, so that their interactions could be more positive and inclusive rather than bossy.
Part 3 – Problem Solving
David struggles with transitions; he is angry, and he already acted on it. Thus, the first thing that I should say to him to defuse the situation as explained by Dan Gartrell, 2011 is, with a calm but firm voice, to stop throwing things and calm down. Going down to the same eye level and making eye contact is more effective as together with a calm but firm, and kind voice, David should know that I care about him and his feelings.
After that, I can let David choose between cleaning and having a “timed” silence. Once David has made his choice, I shall respect his decision and followed it through.
Once his emotions cooled down, I should talk to him in a private manner using guidance talks. I shall use this opportunity to encourage David to talk about any other feelings he could have that might have triggered his anger. According to Dan Gartrell, 2011 this can help him manage his impulses in the long run.
Discussing possible solutions for future transitions together with a description of how he can react next time can be of a great benefit. I shall encourage David to make a resolution and follow it through.
Talking to him in a private and warmth manner will help to reinforce our relationship and David’s feeling of connectedness with me Dan Gartrell, 2011
Dan Gartrell, 2011 Guidance through Intervention, In A. A. Editor (5th edition.), Part 3– Solving Problems in the Encouraging Classroom (pp. 416-461). Location: Publisher.