In almost every Early Childhood program, incidents of biting occur. When it happens, it can be stressful for the victim, the biter, the educators and the families of both children. However unfortunate, it is a natural phenomenon, not something to blame on the children, parents or educators.
Children bite for a variety of reasons – sensory exploration, crowding of children in one space, the intense desire for a toy and seeking to be noticed to name a few. Biting is a social interaction between children often used instead of words that may describe the desire of a child.
Using our knowledge of child development and in collaboration with families that have enquired about biting, we have planned some active social learning strategies for young children. We have been conscious of including practices from the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) and, in particular, the practice of ‘intentional teaching’ which is described as deliberate, purposeful and thoughtful teaching.
Our program of active teaching and learning engages children in learning pro-social ways of interacting with other children. Each day, we practice positive ways of communicating with others:
- We demonstrate hand signals and works to express communicative messages, such as STOP – I don’t like this.
- We model positive ways of interacting with others
- We use words to communicate our social feelings – “may I play” or “could I have the toy”
- We use calming strategies, resources and a calm down station, that allows children time on their own to process their emotions.
- We discuss our emotions, what they might feel like and how to express these appropriately
These active learning strategies, and our consideration of the learning environment promote social learning, are currently being implemented and will continued to be evaluated for their effectiveness.
Along with these above strategies, Educators work in collaboration with the child’s family as to why these incidents may be occurring, for example: the child has a delay in their language development, a child is teething, they have experienced recent trauma etc. From these discussions with parents, we can then determine how to best help the child with these behaviours.
Further to these strategies being ineffective, Byford Child Care Centre has access to our experienced Inclusion Support team. Inclusion Support Professionals will attend the centre, provide feedback to the Educators on the environment and provide individualised further strategies for the Educators to use also.
Link to National Quality Standards (NQS): Quality Area 5: Relationships with children.
Element 5.2.2 Every child is supported to manage their own behaviour, respond appropriately to the behaviour of others and communicate effectively to resolve conflict.