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Publication - Report

Positive behaviour in the early years: research report

Published: 12 Sep 2008
Directorate:
Children and Families Directorate
Part of:
Education
ISBN:
9780755918102

Report of research into perceptions of staff, service providers and parents in managing and promoting positive behaviour in early years and early primary settings.

186 page PDF

956.8 kB

186 page PDF

956.8 kB

Contents
Positive behaviour in the early years: research report
CHAPTER SEVEN WHAT EFFECTIVE APPROACHES TO TRAINING AND SUPPORT CAN BE IDENTIFIED FOR STAFF IN EARLY YEARS SETTINGS?

186 page PDF

956.8 kB

CHAPTER SEVEN WHAT EFFECTIVE APPROACHES TO TRAINING AND SUPPORT CAN BE IDENTIFIED FOR STAFF IN EARLY YEARS SETTINGS?

Staff were asked very specifically about the extent to which they felt equipped to work with young children to promote positive behaviour. Over half the early educators participating in this study reported high confidence in working with young children presenting with behaviour that caused concern. Whilst 44% felt very skilled to work in this area, and 49.4% saw themselves as quite skilled, 6.5% felt only slightly skilled. Staff comments form an important part of the data presented in this short chapter. They are drawing on training, the experience of colleagues and sharing concerns together to help themselves in positive behaviour practices.

"I wouldn't use the word 'skilled' as daily new procedures, (and) ideas about promoting positive behaviour are occurring. What I am saying is that a selected few of my workmates and I are always discussing this issue and trying new strategies. This however has only been highlighted as a result of my colleague studying towards her BA in Early Childhood Studies." (Staff - 3- 5 year olds)

"We have a policy of promoting positive behaviour which is excellent. Our Head Teacher also is keen for us to attend any training which we feel will help us develop our skills. If we are having difficulties we can call on her for verbal or physical support or other agencies for support." (Staff - 3- 5 year olds)

"I covered a unit 'Provide a framework for the management of positive behaviour' during my SVQ level 3 Early Years Care and Education which I just completed in October. I also covered 'Promoting Positive Behaviour' during my Classroom Assistant course."

Staff reported a variety of sources of their skills in managing behaviour: returns showed that 52.2% drew from their own work experience, 30% attributed their confidence to previous qualifications, 25% drew support from their colleagues, 17% had found ongoing CPD helpful, 16% used a range of known strategies, and 7.5% drew on their own personal knowledge of individual children.

"I feel there is always room for improvement and developing existing knowledge and skills. There is always new and improved techniques which we can be putting into practice and which the children will benefit from." (Staff - 2-3 year olds)

Whilst staff confidence is a positive factor, 71% felt they could benefit from a bit more training, and 13.9% felt strongly in need of this (Table 7.1). As part of the study the research team offered ongoing training and support in the use of the Well-being and Involvement scales. Feedback from training days was excellent and personal reports on setting visits reinforced the value of the ongoing training provided by the Project Research Assistant.

Staff also commented on ways in which they felt they would benefit from more training. Their comments emphasise the commitment of staff to support young children.

"Understanding any medical problems children have can help one's own understanding and the limitations placed on that child."

"When working with so many children on a daily basis I think it is always good to review and find ways to support children's positive behaviour. Discussing with others also lets you know others are working with similar problems."

"As outlined previously, sometimes I feel under equipped to deal with children's behaviour. Learning and training towards helping the children can only be of benefit to them and us as practitioners."

"Perhaps a course once every three years to up-date my skill to help support children's positive behaviour."

"Yes I feel more training would be beneficial for myself as I am a younger member of staff who has recently moved in to working in a baby room, and is just beginning to build on my experience."

The need for in-service training and joint-training with other professionals was often mentioned. Staff commentary also highlights that opportunities for training are still not available to all. Although many do benefit from training, staff in the private and voluntary sector emphasized this particularly:

"How to assist and develop promoting positive behaviour in all ranges of children. More training and documents outlining strategies to help both child, parents and childcare worker. In three and a half years of work in my current job I have never undertaken any course or training regarding the children in my care."

(Respondent's emphasis)

Table 7.1 - Extent to which staff feel they would benefit from more training to help support children's positive behaviour

Extent of benefit of more training

Frequency

Percent

Valid Percent

Cumulative Percent

Valid

not really

24

14.3

14.5

14.5

yes, a bit

119

70.8

71.7

86.1

yes, a lot

23

13.7

13.9

100.0

Total

166

98.8

100.0

Missing

0

2

1.2

Total

168

100.0

When asked about areas of training that would be beneficial, early educators were able to suggest specific areas in which they would like more training. Table 7.2 shows the range of areas given in returns, which includes training in supporting emotions and feelings, supporting behaviour and concentration, supporting parents and families, ASN related training, training in relation to eating and appetite, and setting related training (such as managing paperwork). Many staff indicated that they would like training in all areas, but areas particularly highlighted are behaviour management strategies and working with children with Additional Support Needs.

"More special needs in-service training, particularly for dealing with children with behavioural difficulties and in communication." (Staff - 3 - 4 year olds )

Table 7.2 - Areas in which staff would like more training

Areas for more training

Frequency

Percent

Valid percent

Cumulative percent

Valid

All

30

17.9

24.2

24.2

Behaviour management strategies

37

22.0

29.8

54.0

Promoting positive behaviour

7

4.2

5.6

59.7

Current thinking - practice

5

3.0

4.0

63.7

20/20 environment

1

.6

.8

64.5

Supporting parents

2

1.2

1.6

66.1

In-service training

4

2.4

3.2

69.4

Dealing with ASN

23

13.7

18.5

87.9

No training required

2

1.2

1.6

89.5

Lack of parental support

2

1.2

1.6

91.1

Managing paperwork

1

.6

.8

91.9

Increasing self-confidence

1

.6

.8

92.7

Communication/language

2

1.2

1.6

94.4

Bereavement issues

1

.6

.8

95.2

Emotional needs

1

.6

.8

96.0

Eating/appetite

1

.6

.8

96.8

Bullying

1

.6

.8

97.6

Emotions/feelings

3

1.8

2.4

100.0

Total

124

73.8

100.0

100.0

Missing

44

26.2

Total

168

100.0

100.0

100.0

Today's climate of inclusive practice places high expectations on staff to provide learning and social experiences that will allow children to reach their fullest potential. The concept of additional support needs has widened, and there is an additional group of children, ranging on particular measures from 20% to 40% levels of concern, whose difficulties whilst reported to have been present for upwards of 6 months, nevertheless, with reported staff confidence in their own skills and the team efforts they are able to make, are considered to be able to be met by appropriate provision and well timed intervention. Early intervention into additional support needs is well supported in the literature in terms of making a difference to later school success. Both areas highlighted by staff merit further development.