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Tips for Resolving Conflict when Working with Preschoolers

May 6, 2015

early childcare assistant diploma

Many educators feel that conflict resolution strategies are the best way to eliminate or at least reduce fights in elementary and high school. But what if it were possible to instill the values of amicable conflict resolution and cooperation in even younger children? Would that carry over into the elementary and high school setting and possibly stay with children the rest of their lives?

There is a growing movement of people who think that yes, it would. They have developed strategies which early childhood assistants can use to deal with conflicts in a preschool classroom while imparting the fundamentals of conflict resolution and cooperation to children at a very young age.

Why Early Childcare Assistants Should Implement Conflict Resolution Strategies

In addition to the immediately apparent benefits, such as a more manageable preschool classroom, implementing conflict resolution strategies early on can have lasting positive repercussions for young children. These include:

  • A sense of confidence through knowing their opinions and feelings are heard and valid
  • A concept of how teamwork can solve problems
  • The ability to look at problems from an outside perspective
  • Association of conflict resolution with fundamental concepts of the alphabet and numbers

Early Childcare Conflict Resolution Ground Rules

Before an early childcare assistant can begin demonstrating to children how a conflict can and should be resolved, it is important to find a quiet place where everyone can discuss. By placing the resolution process in a different part of the room from where the conflict occurred, it creates a separation between the disagreement and the potential agreement, which promotes looking at the situation rationally instead of emotionally.

Once the group has been relocated, it is important to lay down some ground rules. Good ones to use are:

  • Every child gets to have their input
  • No interruptions from the other children when a child is speaking
  • Each child must propose a solution which will be discussed by the group
  • The group will select the best solution and will respect it

Steps in Early Childcare Conflict Resolution

Once ground rules have been established by the early childcare assistant training graduate, the conflict resolution process can begin. It is important that the education assistant follows an established procedure so the young students can get used to it. A typical order of stages could go like this:

  1. Go around the circle and let each child tell their side of events
  2. The childcare assistant summarizes their understanding of what has happened and asks for confirmation on their analysis of events from the children
  3. Each child proposes a solution
  4. The group decides on a finals solution together
  5. The childcare assistant monitors the children to make sure the resolution is followed

Do you plan on employing the principles of conflict resolution after you earn your early childcare assistant diploma?

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