Discipline Policy

All methods of discipline and guidance at Santa Fe shall be positive in nature, consistent with the age and developmental needs of the children, and lead to the child’s ability to develop and maintain self-control.

Staff will never discipline children for failing to eat, sleep, or soil themselves.

Positive discipline is different than punishment, which tells children only what they should not do.  Positive discipline helps children to learn what is expected of them as regarding behavior and self-control.  Positive discipline encourages good self-esteem and independent thinking.

Positive discipline includes planning ahead:

  • Make sure waiting time for meals, activities is appropriate for the developmental age of the child.
  • Provide a safe environment for the child that allows them to explore freely and make choices about their activities.
  • Have clear, consistent rules that are explained to the children and understood by the staff.
  • Have a well-planned daily schedule
  • Have plenty of outside time or time for large motor activities; encourage children to move around freely.
  • Provide time and space for each child to be alone.
  • Share ownership and responsibility with the children; talk about our room and our toys.
  • For preschool age children:
    • Include group decision making
    • Let children participate in establishing the rules
    • Facilitate identification of feelings
    • Help children learn the words and methods for resolving differences
    • Make each child feel s/he has had some positive impact on the group
    • Make sure that each child feels included and part of the class.

Positive discipline includes intervening by staff when necessary:

  • Re-direct children to a new activity to change the focus of the child’s behavior
  • Divert the child and remove the area of conflict.
  • Provide individualized attention to help the child deal with a particular situation
  • Point out natural or logical consequences of children’s behavior.
  • Offer a choice only if there are two acceptable options.
  • Criticize the behavior, not the child.  Do not say “bad girl”; instead say “That is not allowed here.”
  • Remove the child from the group only when absolutely necessary; one minute per year of age is adequate.
  • Seek assistance from their supervising teacher, program coordinator, or director if further input is needed for resolution.

Positive discipline includes showing love and encouragement:

  • Catch children behaving appropriately.  Respond to and reinforce positive behavior; acknowledge or praise to let the child know you approve of what s/he is doing.
  • Provide positive reinforcement through natural rewards for good behavior; do not use food as a reward.
  • Use encouragement of individual behavior; avoid comparison or competition between children.
  • Overlook small annoyances and deliberately ignore provocations; do not engage in power struggles.
  • Give hugs and caring to every child daily.
  • Appreciate the child’s point of view.

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