Guiding Young Children From the Inside Out
Supporting the Social and Emotional Development of Young Children
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So what exactly is this approach?

Guiding Young Children from the Inside Out is a strength- and resiliency- based approach to guiding children's behavior. Instead of a "me against you" approach, adults place themselves in the postion of allies and colleagues in supporting children's growth.

Why do kids do what they do?

Children's behavior (like adult behavior) is guided by their belief system and limited by their skill set.

These beliefs we can look upon as "resiliencies"

  1. Attachment: There is at least one grown-up who nurtures me and keeps me safe
  2. Affiliation: I belong. I am part of the group.
  3. Self-regulation: I can manage my strong emotions.
  4. Problem solving: I can solve problems and resolve conflicts
  5. Initiative: I can do it. I am growing and learning new things. I look forward to a bright future.

The three basic skills that preschoolers need to manage their behaviors are:
  1. I know how to have a friend and be a friend
  2. I know how to manage my strong emotions
  3. I know how to solve problems and resolve conflicts

What is the teacher's role in moving children to social and emotional competency?

Teaching social and emotional competency is not much different than teaching reading or math.
  1. Figure out the child's current skill level
  2. Plan modeling, environment, activities and practice to help the child gain the social and emotional skills they need
  3. If the child is still struggling to master the skills, refer the child out to others for assistance

That's the "what" we do. The "skill" piece. But as we have seen, children's resiliencies also play into behavior. Resiliencies are formed in large part not only by "what" we do but by "how" we do it. To help children build the resiliencies they need for positive behavior, teachers also need to:
  1. Attachment--Be the child's partner, not the child's constant critic or opponent
  2. Affiliation--Be sensitive and accommodating to a child's current play level and commit to scaffold the child up the ladder-- (solo play, parallel play, dyad play, small group play, large group play)
  3. Self-regulation--Model the behavior you want to see. Don't expect the children manage emotions when you yourself lose control with them
  4. Problem solving--Look at misbehavior as a problem to be solved, not as a kid who needs punishment or consequences
  5. Initiative--There is hope for every child. Every child has within them a bright future. Work together with the child to find the path to that future.

Putting it all together

The Resources and Links in the rest of this website will help to clarify the philosophy and give you some ideas about how others have implemented this approach in their classrooms. Jump around and have a good time with it. If you are new to this approach, start small and see how the children react. If you have been doing this for awhile, take a look at how others have implemented the approach and see if you can discover a new gem.


Copyright 2005-2012 Jenna Bilmes