The best two days of training I've ever had about working with children occurred during our teacher work week in August. I’ve been to numerous lectures, read countless books, and gone to several conferences and workshops through the years to learn more about how to take care of and teach children. I’ve gleaned information and tips from each, but this has been the most revolutionary approach I’ve come across for parents, teachers, and caregivers to use when dealing with toddlers through teenagers.
Before we had the two-day training at the school where I work, I read the book Positive Discipline by Jane Nelsen. I love books, so that part was easy and very enjoyable for me. The only regret I had when I got the end of the book and finished the training was that I wish I’d read this book twenty-six years ago when I first began providing childcare and tutoring. Ah well. Better late than never.
The concept of treating children with respect and dignity isn’t new to me by any means. I first learned it as part of my faith. It has been reinforced ten-fold while I’ve been working at a Montessori school. These principles for how to encourage and empower children to become independent have been time-tested and parent-approved.
Our school had Positive Discipline trainer, father of four, and Head of School Chip DeLorenzo, M.Ed., CPDT come and conduct a two-day workshop onsite called "Positive Discipline in the Montessori Classroom." I got so much out of it!
After reading the book, I guessed that the training would be a lot more than two days of someone talking at us. It was! We got to experience and practice using the tools. There was ample time to role-play as child/teacher some of the most familiar discipline challenges that arise in the classroom.
Instead of having someone come and preach from on high the best way to do things, we had a teacher/father who is very much still in the trenches share with us how he has had to work hard to implement these suggestions both at home, in the classroom, and in his role as Head of School. Chip was humble enough to tell us about his successes as well as his failures.
I realized that one of the main things about my childhood that shaped my view of myself, others, and the world was how I thought of mistakes. I felt that mistakes were embarrassing, humiliating, and major failures. This program invites both adults and children to see mistakes as opportunities for learning. What a brilliant idea! Instead of berating ourselves for not getting it right the first time, we can offer the gentle reminder that we’re not perfect and neither is anyone else.
Studies show that children want and need to feel the same two things that adults do: belonging and significance. Most of their behavior, whether naughty or not, is an attempt to be recognized, accepted, and included. There are four mistaken goals of children that are identified and described in an easy-to-use chart, so you can determine what a child is trying to get through his or her behavior.
I've already been employing some of the techniques with the kids, and they really do work.
I highly recommend reading the revised edition of the best-selling classic Positive Discipline by Jane Nelsen, Ed.D. During the nap/rest shift I work at school I've been reading Positive Discipline A Teacher's A-Z Guide.
If you're ready to take your teaching or parenting to the next level, this book and training are for you! You can find out more about the trainer, Chip DeLorenzo, M.Ed., CPDT, we had conduct our two-day onsite workshop at his website: Developing Capable Children.