Take A Stand Against Education Budget Cuts In Washington

According to payscale.com the average hourly pay for early childhood educators in the United States is only $12.28. On the low end, it’s $9.31 per hour.  On the high end, it’s $17.16.  This isn’t much above minimum wage and Washington wants to cut funds for early childhood education programs.

The NAEYC issued the following call to action:

The President’s budget is a request to Congress, and there will be more details in a full budget that will be released in May, but if this blueprint were to be enacted according to the budget narrative, it would result in an 18% cut to the Department of Health and Human Services and a 13% cut to the Department of Education. It would mean cuts to programs in areas like housing, after-school, nutrition, teacher professional development, student aid, health care, work-study programs, literacy and more – all programs that support our current and future workforce, and the health and well-being of the families, schools, and communities in which our children are cared for and educated.

Source: Action Alert: Budget Blueprint? Call Congress! | National Association for the Education of Young Children | NAEYC

What can you do?  First, read the entire call to action plea from NAEYC by clicking on the link above.

Second, contact your elected officials in Washington. Click here to find out who your Representatives and Senators are.  You can call them or send an email.  Tell them about the work you do with young children.  Tell them how families and children benefit from early childhood education.  Ask them to invest in the lives of families, children, and educators.

Your voice matters!  You matter!!


Biters: Why They Do It and What To Do About It

Biters: Why They Do It and What To Do About It

Although biting isn’t “abnormal” in the sense that one out of ten toddlers and two-year-olds does it, it is a disturbing and potentially harmful behavior that parents and educators must discourage from the very first episode. If a child bites, remain calm and think about what the child experienced just before the incident. Understanding why young children bite can help you deter this aggressive behavior and teach them positive ways to handle their feelings.

Young children may bite for different reasons, and not all will respond to the same types of intervention. Identifying the kind of biter you’re dealing with will help you develop an appropriate discipline technique.

  1. The experimental biter. An infant or young child may take an experimental bite out of a mother’s breast or a caregiver’s shoulder. When this occurs, adults should use prompt, clear signals to communicate that children must not bite people. “No,” said sharply, would be an appropriate response.These experimental biters may simply want to touch, smell and taste other people in order to learn more about their world. Their muscles are developing, and they need to experiment. Provide them with a variety of surfaces to play on and a colorful selection of toys to stimulate children during this stage of exploration.This type of biter may also be motivated by teething pain. Offer children appropriate things to chew on for relief: frozen bagels, very cold, large carrots, teething biscuits, or a safe teething ring.
  2. The frustrated biter. Some biters lack the skills to cope with situations such as the desire for an adult’s attention or another child’s toy. Even though the child may not have intended to harm another person, adults must react with disapproval. First, tend to the victim immediately. Then explain to the biter that biting hurts others and is not allowed—the caregiver’s job is to keep all children safe.You may help frustrated biters by teaching them appropriate language to show their feelings or get what they need. Give positive reinforcement when children communicate effectively. Also, watch for signs of rising frustration. Spotting potential conflict may help you intercept a potentially harmful incident.
  3. The threatened biter. Some children, feeling they are endangered, bite in self-defense. They may be overwhelmed by their surroundings, and bite as a means of regaining control. In this case, use the intervention techniques already mentioned, and assure the child that his rights and possessions are safe.Children may become threatened by situations such as newly separated parents, the death of a grandparent, or a mother returning to the workforce. The threatened biter may require additional nurturing, particularly if the danger is along the lines of physical violence at home or in the immediate neighborhood. In any case, the bond between child and caregiver should be as warm and reassuring as possible.
  4. The power biter. Some children experience a strong need for autonomy and control. As soon as they see the response they get from biting, the behavior is strongly reinforced. Give the biter choices throughout the day and reinforce the positive social behavior (like sharing and saying thanks). If the biter gets attention when she is not biting, she will not have to resort to aggressive behavior to feel a sense of personal power.

Never hit or “bite back” a child for biting. This communicates that violence is an appropriate way to handle emotion. The approach should be calm and educational. A child should not experience any reward for biting—not even the “reward” of negative attention.

Parents and caregivers must cooperate to prevent children from biting. If children are permitted to demonstrate such behavior at home, there will be no chance of eliminating it in the center, program, or family child care home. Working as a team, educators and parents may identify possible reasons for a child’s biting and respond accordingly. While early childhood professionals may be more familiar with positive discipline techniques, parents are experts on their own children’s behavior.

Take the time to look for patterns in the biter’s environment and emotional state at each episode. Does the child always bite the same individual? Is the biter simply exhausted, or hungry? Be ready to intervene immediately, but carefully. Teaching children age-appropriate ways to control themselves encourages the development of confidence and self-esteem. We can guide children towards self-control and away from biting. The key is understanding—for adults and children alike.


Galambos Stone, J. 1969. A Guide to Discipline. Washington, DC: NAEYC #302/ $2.

Greenberg, P. 1991. Character Development: Encouraging Self-Esteem and Self-Discipline in Infants, Toddlers, & Two-Year-Olds. Washington, DC: NAEYC #175/ $8.

Honig, A.S. 1989. Love & Learn: Discipline for Young Children. Washington, DC: NAEYC #528/ 50¢

NAEYC. 1988. Discipline: Appropriate Guidance of Young Children (video tape). Washington, DC: NAEYC #855/ $39

From the National Association for the Education of Young Children

Copyright © 1996 by National Association for the Education of Young Children. Reproduction of this material is freely granted, provided credit is given to the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

Constructive Strategies

Aggression and Cooperation: Helping Young Children Develop Constructive Strategies.

Jan Jewett


In the past two decades, our understanding of the early roots of children’s social behaviors and the importance of those emerging behaviors in the development of overall competence has expanded dramatically. What can understandings from this knowledge base help us support young children as they develop strategies for dealing with complex interpersonal relationships among their peers?

Aggression and cooperation represent two critical features in the child’s social domain. What do they have in common? Both emerge from the child’s strong developmental push to initiate and maintain relationships with other children, beginning at a very early age. Peer relationships provide critical opportunities for children to learn to manage conflict and work towards establishing intimacy. Aggression and cooperation are two possible strategies for dealing with the normal conflicts of early peer interactions. Both have important roots in early family interactions, both are responsive to adult expectations and values, and both can be responsive to environmental factors.

Aggression and Cooperation: Definitions and Emerging Features

Aggression is defined here as any intentional behavior that results in physical or mental injury to any person or animal, or in damage to or destruction of property. Aggressive actions can be accidental actions, in which there is no intentionality; instrumental actions, in which the child deliberately employs aggression in pursuit of a goal; or hostile actions, in which the child acts to cause harm to another person. Because peer interactions in their earliest forms emerge from play in which infants treat each other as they would treat a toy or interesting object–for example, one baby reaches over and grabs the cheek of another–unintentional aggression is a common and natural form of behavior for infants and toddlers. These accidental behaviors can enable young children to achieve desired results (for example, grabbing a toy from another child) and, in a short period of time, can easily develop into instrumental forms of aggression.

Aggressive behavior is a deterrent to friendships and social success. Studies indicate that young children cite aggressive behavior as a significant reason for disliking others. Research also indicates that aggressive behavior is responsive to environmental influences and can be encouraged or discouraged by experiences in home and school.

Aggression should not be confused with assertion–behavior through which a child maintains and defends his or her own rights and concerns. Assertive behavior reflects the child’s developing competence and autonomous functioning and represents an important form of developmental progress. Assertiveness also affords the young child a healthy form of self-defense against becoming the victim of the aggressions of others.

Much evidence suggests that children who exhibit instrumental and hostile forms of aggression during the preschool years have been exposed, in early family interactions, to adults who encourage, model, or condone aggression by using discipline techniques that are punitive, rigid, and authoritarian; ignoring or permitting aggressive actions by the child and other children; providing or tolerating aggressive toys or aggressive images from television, movies, and books in the child’s surroundings; or modeling aggression in their own interpersonal interactions.

Cooperation is defined here as any activity that involves the willing interdependence of two or more children. It should be distinguished from compliance, which may represent obedience to rules or authority, rather than intentional cooperation. When children willingly collaborate in using materials, for example, their interactions are usually quite different than when they are told to “share.” Cooperation, like aggression, has its roots in very early, even preverbal, social interactions. Studies on the origins of prosocial behaviors, which include cooperation, suggest that family variables related to the development of prosocial behaviors include parental discipline techniques that are authoritative rather than authoritarian and that offer the child free expression of affection and nurturance. These techniques involve the use of high expectations; competent communication; and inductive reasoning, in which parents engage children in explanations of the reasons for family rules and limits. Children who demonstrate a number of cooperative strategies and can attend to the needs of others while also asserting and defending their own rights are more likely to be socially successful and to establish reciprocal, mutually satisfying friendships than are other children.

Techniques for Reducing Aggression and Fostering Cooperation

Because aggressive behavior can emerge as a normal behavior during the second and third years of life, it is important not to assume that such behaviors represent a personality trait. When adults assume that children are being intentionally aggressive, the expectation for undesirable qualities can become established and can lead to a “recursive cycle” (Katz and McClellan, 1991) in which children come to fulfill the expectations set for them.

Aggressive toddlers or preschoolers can benefit from support and encouragement for replacing aggressive behaviors with more socially productive alternatives. Important techniques include helping young children label and verbalize their feelings and those of others, develop problem-solving approaches to conflicts, seek and obtain assistance when in difficulty, and notice the consequences of their aggressive actions for their victims. Age-appropriate anger management techniques, and discussion of the causes and consequences of interpersonal conflicts can help both young children and their caregivers deal with emerging aggressive behaviors. The adult guidance that is consistent, supportive, nonpunitive, and includes the child in understanding the reactions of all participants and the reasons for limits, will help even very young children cope with aggressive behaviors.

How can parents and teachers recognize and foster the cooperative behaviors which all children demonstrate as they develop? They can acknowledge children’s efforts to initiate social interactions in appropriate ways, affirm helping behaviors, use positive discipline techniques and communicate their power, communicate positive regard and high expectations for all young children, and support each child’s struggle to resolve interpersonal conflicts. Of critical importance are classroom strategies that promote cooperative, rather than competitive, endeavors; foster dramatic play techniques and reflective strategies for thinking about and discussing social interactions; and enable children to get to know and trust each other and work towards truly interdependent activity.

Program Policies That Foster the Development of Cooperation

Many children begin to show interest in peers as early as eighteen months. Early childhood educators can support the emergence of trusting and positive interpersonal strategies by encouraging the formation of playgroups and regular social interactions that are supervised in a supportive manner. Children benefit from consistent and sustained relationships in which they can build trust, understand and predict the responses of their peers, and gain confidence in their ability to cope with conflictual interactions. Continuity of relationships can be nurtured. The grouping of friends and acquaintances across the years of program service enables children to develop and build on successful relationships.

Early childhood programs can help parents understand and deal with the full range of young children’s emerging social repertoires. Parents often need help in addressing the common aggressive behaviors of young children in a nonjudgmental and constructive manner. Educators can encourage parents to provide regular opportunities for children to develop productive and sustained friendships by providing continuity of access to potential friends, inviting friends or potential friends to play at home, and helping children to continue to see good friends even if they lose daily and convenient contact.


Our emerging knowledge about the complex factors that enter into the development of social competence in the young child can be put to valuable use. Young children can benefit from the understanding support and guidance of the adults who help them develop constructive strategies for dealing with the challenges of early peer relationships.

For More Information

Buzzelli, C., and File, N. “Building Trust in Friends.” Young Children 44 (March, 1989): 70-75. EJ 386 010.

Crockenberg, S., and Litman, C. “Autonomy as Competence in 2-Year-Olds: Maternal Correlates of Child Defiance, Compliance, and Self-Assertion.” Developmental Psychology 26 (November, 1990): 961-71. EJ 426 149.

Curry, N., and Johnson, C. Beyond Self-Esteem: Developing a Genuine Sense of Human Value. Washington, DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children, 1990. ED 326 316.

Denham, S., and others. “Emotional and Behavioral Predictors of Preschool Peer Ratings.” Child Development 61 (August,1990): 1145-52. ED 417 121.

Katz, L., and McClellan, D. The Teacher’s Role in the Social Development of Young Children. Urbana, IL: ERIC Clearinghouse on Elementary and Early Childhood Education, 1991. ED 331 642.

References identified with an ED (ERIC document)number are cited in the ERIC database. Documents are available in ERIC microfiche collections at more than 825 locations worldwide. Documents can also be ordered through EDRS: (800) 433-ERIC. References with an EJ (ERIC journal) number are available through the originating journal, interlibrary loan services, or article reproduction clearinghouses: UnCover (800) 787-7070; UMI (800) 732-0616; or ISI (800) 523-1850.

This publication was funded by the Office of Educational Research and Improvement, U.S. Department of Education, under contract no. OERI 88-062012. Opinions expressed in this report do not necessarily reflect the positions or policies of OERI. ERIC Digests are in the public domain and may be freely reproduced and disseminated.

What Makes This 52 Year Old Preschool Teacher Smile?

The answer to the question above is Eep Opp Ork Ah-Ah!  Music is a huge part of my life.  It makes me smile.  It provides an outlet for when I am mad.  It is always on in my car, house, and office.

One of my go-to albums, when I am having a bad day, is Saturday Morning Cartoons’ Greatest Hits.  Today was one of those kinds of days.  One thing that always puts a huge smile on my face is the album below. It’s all of my childhood cartoon songs covered by punk and alternative artists. I purchased it in 1995 and it still holds the test of time. So, if you have had a really yucky day, listen to this album. You can solve a mystery with Scooby Doo, let the sun shine in with Pebbles, and take a ride in space with Judy Jetson.  I guarantee you WILL smile!!!!  Thank you, YouTube!!


Thinking Of Waiting A Year To Enroll Your Child In Kindergarten? 

Academic redshirting, the practice of holding kids back a year before enrolling them in kindergarten, has been debated for years. A new article attempts to clear up some of the confusion for parents.

Source: Thinking Of Waiting A Year To Enroll Your Child In Kindergarten? These Researchers Say, Don’t : NPR Ed : NPR