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Preschool Behaviors

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Challenging Behaviors in the Preschool Classroom

Challenging behaviors come in many shapes and sizes. Some children have tantrums, others may go hide in a corner and some may even get extremely aggressive. The underdeveloped or emerging language and social/emotional skills of preschool children can lead to challenging behaviors in the classroom when they cannot communicate their needs. Finding strategies that will enhance the development of their language and social/emotional skills will help to deter the challenging behaviors.

Smith and Fox (2003) (qtd. In Powell, Dunlap, and Fox 26) define challenging behavior in young children as “any repeated pattern of behavior, or perception of behavior, that interferes with or is at risk of interfering with optimal learning or engagement in prosocial interactions with peers and adults.” Challenging behaviors can be a behavior that encumbers the child’s development of their social, cognitive and emotional skills (Kaiser and Rasminsky 7). Some of these behaviors can be harmful to the child themselves or to other children or adults. Many adults tend to put labels on those children with challenging behaviors. Kaiser and Rasminsky stated “A Rose by Any Other Name” (9), here are some of the labels many of us have heard or even used ourselves, ”High maintenance, noncompliant, disruptive, and out of control” just to name a few (Kaiser and Rasminsky 9). When labels are used to identify a child with those challenging behaviors, the child basically has one strike against them. With that mind set it is difficult for the teacher to see the positive attributes the child has; they tend to focus only on the negative ones.

The challenging behaviors of some preschool children can really disrupt a classroom. Everyone in the room is affected by the outbursts or tantrums. It makes it very difficult for the other children in the room to...

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