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All practitioners in Pre-school are responsible for promoting positive behaviour through role modelling and by supporting the children to understand the boundaries within the setting. A vital role of the key person is to discuss any key concerns and identify any key issues with a child’s learning, development and well being.

There are many factors that can affect a child’s  causebehaviour, including, changes to routines, lack of good quality sleep, just before becoming unwell or just after vaccinations and changes to familiar people in their life. . It is important for parents and carers to share any information about changes such as these at home or in the setting, so that we can monitor children’s mental well-being and help them feel safe and secure. 

Behavioural issues which may occur as a result of a child’s special educational needs or disability will be coordinated by the SENCO.  Ensuring children’s overall positive behaviour and healthy social and emotional development is the responsibility of the Manager and Deputy.

Bullying, racial abuse & physical punishment

Bullying, either verbal or physical, will not be tolerated by children or adults in the group.  Physical punishment will not be used by staff, volunteers or parents/carers under any circumstances whilst in Pre-school.  Physical punishment refers to any treatment which could hurt the child, e.g. smacking, pushing, shaking etc.  On occasions children may need to be physically removed from a situation, either to protect the child, or to protect the children they are with or to prevent damage to Pre-school.  This will be done carefully and with respect for the child.  Where appropriate, children who have witnessed behavioural incidents which may concern them will be spoken to about what has happened (in line with their age and stage of development) and their parents may be notified.  

We do not use techniques intended to single out and humiliate individual children, such as ‘naughty chairs’.  Children are never threatened with the use of these techniques or with physical punishment.  We will not label children as ‘naughty’ as this is unhelpful, demoralising and may be difficult for the child to break out of that mould.

In the case of racial abuse we will make clear immediately the unacceptability of the behaviour and attitudes in a way that the child can understand.

Understanding the cause of behavioural issues

We are aware that situational problems may affect your child’s behaviour, such as a new baby, a house move or a change in family circumstances. It is very important to share this information with your Key Person so that we can ensure your child receives the support they need within the setting.  

Sometimes, challenging behaviour may be an indication that children do not feel comfortable or something is wrong.  We will do our best to investigate this and take action where possible.  We will promote an inclusive practice by identifying children’s needs and thinking about how we can accommodate all children rather than always expecting the child to adapt and fit in with existing provision.  Children will be genuinely listened to and given opportunities to voice their opinions. Our provision is audited on a regular basis to ensure the environment and practice of all practitioners supports the healthy social and emotional development of all children in the setting. 

Some children with challenging behaviour may have poor language and social skills and limited concentration spans.  We will help all children to develop their language skills through the ‘Every Child a Talker’ (ECAT) programme and provide a curriculum which supports social skills and increasing concentration.  In any case of misbehaviour, it will be made clear that it is the behaviour and not the child that is unwelcome.

How we help children and address issues?

Positive behaviour will be encouraged and recognised within the group.  We aim to use praise rather than criticism.  We want to help all children develop self-discipline and respect for the needs of others. Adults will provide a positive model of behaviour with regard to politeness and friendliness towards other people.  

We will try not to stereotype children, for example, expecting different types of behaviours from girls and boys.

The boundaries in Pre-school will be applied consistently by all staff members so that the children feel secure and know what is expected of themselves and others. We will help children understand the reasons for the boundaries that we have in place. 

Adults in the group will aim to anticipate problems and redirect children where possible. The child’s behaviour will be discussed with them at a level appropriate to their development and understanding. We recognise that very young children are unable to regulate their own emotions, such as fear, anger or distress, and need a sensitive approach to help them do this.  Children who do not have adequate language or level of understanding will not be expected to say sorry as this may be meaningless to them, however, an adult will model apologising to the other child and state why for example “I am sorry that (child) took your toy and made you sad”.  This  shows the child with limited understanding how to acknowledge what has happened and develop an understanding of how their behaviour affects others and how to recognise feelings of others. Instead they will be encouraged to acknowledge what has happened and develop empathy for other people’s feelings.

Our strategies for dealing with misbehaviour:

  1. Approach calmly at the child’s level and stop any hurtful actions.

  2. Acknowledge the children’s feelings and use language which is appropriate to their level of development.

  3. Gather information about the situation. 

  4. Restate what the problem is so that the children’s feelings are acknowledged and there is a sense of support from the adult.

  5. Explain in simple terms what is not acceptable and why. Ask the children for solutions and choose one together.

  6. Encourage the child to show sympathy and / or empathy, for example, offering a tissue, giving a hug or saying sorry. If the child is not able to, the member of staff will model this for them.

  7. If the incident is considered to be serious or if repeating the above actions two more times has no effect then the child will be taken away from that situation with an adult to allow some reflective time.

  8. If a persistent behaviour continues then the key person, SENCO or Manager will liaise with parents to identify any known causes for the behaviour and agree next steps.  With the parents we will agree on a support plan which can be followed both at home and at Pre-school.

  9. The support plan will be reviewed half-termly with parents.  If the expected level of progress is not achieved then the SENCO will make a referral to the Children’s Development Centre for further advice and support (with permission from parents).

When will parents be notified of a concern?

We do not think it benefits the child or parents to be notified of every single incident.  It is typical for Pre-school aged children to test the boundaries and make the wrong decisions as part of their learning and development.  All incidents will be dealt with at the time in the most appropriate way.  However, parents will be notified if another child or adult is physically harmed and marked or if a number of incidents (small or big) have occurred on the same day.

Our boundaries within Pre-school:

  1. We encourage walking rather than running in Pre-school so that we can all play safely. Lots of opportunities for running and physical play are offered throughout the session with outdoor play.

  2. We role model how to play with the toys and activities so that children can continue this with their friends. 

  3. We encourage and support self care skills, washing our hands after using the toilet, painting or gluing, before cooking or having our snack. 

  4. We encourage and role model good manners such as using please and thank you.

  5. We encourage and role model respectful behaviour towards others by sharing the toys, taking turns and using our indoor voices rather than shouting.

Policy reviewed: March 2021 (changes made)

Next review: March 2022