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Positive Behavior Guidance

The Office of Early Learning has created documents that can be used with educators and families to help foster positive interactions in the prekindergarten environment. The following attachments provide information, guidance, strategies, resources, and frequently asked questions to build systems and practices that promote positive behavior in the PreK classroom. Some can be used immediately, while others can be used for planning purposes for the next program year.

Fostering Positive Behavior Field Guidance

A memo from the Office of Early Leaning’s executive director outlining the importance of addressing behavioral issues in early education settings. 

Field Guidance for Promoting Positive Behavior and Addressing Exclusionary Discipline Practices in Prekindergarten Programs

Building Learner Centered Environments that Foster Positive Behavior in Prekindergarten

This resource provides in-depth information regarding the many possible impacts on a child’s behavior. Spots to stop and reflect and converse with colleagues are encouraged throughout the document. This informational and reflection tool can be tailored to the individual needs of staff and used in a professional learning program to drive conversations around developmentally appropriate behavior expectations. 

Building Relationship and Environments to Foster Positive Behavior in Prekindergarten: A Resource and Reflection Tool

Guidance for Supporting Positive Behaviors at Home

The following is a parent tip sheet for supporting positive behaviors at home. Educators can send this tip sheet home with all students, not just those exhibiting challenging behaviors in the classroom.  

Guidance for Supporting Positive Behaviors at Home

Making a Cozy Corner

The Office of Early Learning has created a Cozy Corner Tip Sheet with suggestions for furnishings and materials that might be included in the area. The cozy area should be its own classroom area and separate from other areas like the book or dramatic play area. 

Tip Sheet for Creating a Cozy Area

Prekindergarten Teacher Guidance for Challenging Behaviors

This teacher tip sheet aims to support prekindergarten providers in preventing and limiting the use of exclusionary discipline practices of expulsion and suspension. The tip sheet includes classroom strategies and other resources that educators can use to support positive behaviors in the classroom.  

Getting Started, Six Tips for Supporting Positive Behaviors

This document provides tips to help early educators in building relationships, classroom communities, and learning environments that foster positive interactions and to promote self-regulation skill development in prekindergarten students. It is a quick start guide to be used in conjunction with the longer document, Building Learner Centered Environments That Foster Positive Behaviors in Prekindergarten.  

Getting Started: Six Tips for Supporting Positive Behaviors

Social Emotional Learning (SEL)

According to the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), social emotional learning “is the process through which children, youth and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes and skills necessary to: understand and manage emotions; set and achieve positive goals; feel and show empathy for others; establish and maintain positive relationships; and make responsible decisions.”

Research shows that students who received SEL instruction exhibited the following results:

  • achievement scores are 11-13 points higher;
  • improved attitudes and behaviors, including motivation to learn, commitment to school, and engagement in the classroom;
  • fewer negative behaviors, including disruptive classroom behaviors, non-compliance, aggression, and disciplinary referrals; and
  • reduced emotional stress, including student depression, anxiety, and social withdrawal.

The resources outline benchmarks and frameworks for educators to implement Social Emotional Learning practices in their schools and classrooms. Now available on NYSED’s website are the New York State Social Emotional Learning Benchmarks for voluntary implementation and Social Emotional Learning: Essential for Learning, Essential for Life, a framework explaining SEL concepts, and the need for and benefit of SEL in NY. Social Emotional Learning: A Guide to Systemic Whole School Implementation provides resources and tools to support districts, schools, and individual educators in their work to create schools that effectively prepare all students to succeed in school and in life. Systemic whole school implementation of SEL encourages safe, supportive school communities in which all young people are valued. The Guide is designed as a reference to be used in whole or in part, depending on the role and needs of the reader, school or district.