Behaviour policy


Our setting believes that children flourish best when their personal, social and emotional needs are met and where there are clear and developmentally appropriate expectations for their behaviour. They need to learn to consider the views and feelings, needs and rights of others and the impact their behaviour has on people, places and objects. This is a developmental task that requires support, encouragement, teaching and setting the correct example.


  • The setting has a named person Amanda Head responsible for issues concerning behaviour who: keeps herself up to date on legislation, research and thinking on managing children’s behaviour.
    accesses relevant sources of expertise on children’s behaviour.
    ensures all staff receives relevant training and maintain records of this.
  • We recognise that codes for interacting with other people vary between cultures and require staff to be aware of and respect them.
  • We require all staff, volunteers and students to be a positive model of behaviour by treating children, parents and each other with friendliness, care and courtesy.
  • We familiarise staff and volunteers with our behaviour policy and guidelines at induction.
  • We expect all members of the setting to keep to the guidelines and apply rules consistently.
  • We work in partnership with parents/carers who are regularly informed about their children’s behaviour by their key person. Who will work with them to address recurring inconsiderate behaviour, using observation records to help understand the cause and plan how best to respond. Where this does not work we use the Code of Practice to support the child and family and make appropriate referrals where necessary.


It is the general policy of the preschool to consider exclusion of a child only as a ;last resort and one that should be avoided by all practical means. However under certain circumstances, the exclusion of a child maybe the only option open to the preschool managers. 

Exclusion maybe considered in one or more of the following circumstances:

A child exhibits repeated, violent and/or uncontrollable behaviour.

A child persistently directs abusive or threatening language to either a member of staff or to another child.

A child through his/her behaviour is perceived a physical risk to him/herself, to other children or to members of the preschool staff.


  • We require all staff, volunteers and students to use positive strategies to handle any inconsiderate behaviour, helping children to find solutions in ways which are appropriate for the children’s age and stage of development. We are aware that some kinds of behaviour may arise from a child’s special needs.
  • We praise and endorse desirable behaviour such as kindness and willingness to share.
  • We support each child on developing self-esteem, confidence and feelings of competence.
  • We support each child in developing a sense of belonging in our setting, so they feel valued.
  • We ensure there are enough popular toys, resources and activities to engage the children without the need for unnecessary conflict over sharing and waiting for a turn.
  • We avoid creating situations where children receive adult attention only in return for undesirable behaviour.
  • We support children to understand the outcomes of their actions, and learn how to cope more appropriately.
  • We never send children out of the room by themselves, or use a “naughty chair” or “time out” strategy that excludes them from the group. 
  • We never use physical punishment, such as smacking or shaking, or ever threaten their use.
  • We do not use techniques intended to single out or humiliate children.
  • We use physical restraint such as holding, only to prevent physical injury to children, adults  and/or serious damage to property. Details of such an event would be recorded in a child’s personal file (what happened, what action was taken, by whom, names of any witnesses) brought to the attention of the leader and shared with their parent/carer on the same day.
  • We do not shout or raise our voices in a threatening way to respond to unwanted behaviour. 
  • In cases of serious misbehaviour, such as racial abuse we make clear immediately the unacceptability of the behaviour by means of explanation rather than personal blame.
  • We teach and practice breathing exercises with the children to support them in becoming calm.
  • We teach children how to use our calm corner.
  • We teach the children about our “Golden Rules” including using walking feet, kind hands and words, sharing our toys, and packing away our toys. Children are encouraged to follow these rules and are rewarded by our stars of the day.

Children under Three

  • We recognise that babies and very young children are unable to regulate their own emotions, such as fear, anger or distress and require sensitive adults to help them to do this.
  • We recognise that strategies for supporting younger children will need to consider their stage of development and differ from those appropriate with older children.
  • Staff are calm and patient when dealing with common hurtful or inconsiderate behaviours such as biting, fighting, tantrums, helping children to manage their feelings, talk about them , resolve issues and promote understanding.
  • If these behaviours are frequent, we try to find the underlying cause- such as change at home or of carers, or not settling well resulting in separation anxiety.

Rough and Tumble Play

  • Young children engage in play that has aggressive themes such as superheros, and can appear pre-occupied with them, this does not mean they will go on to hurtful or bullying behaviour. At times this can appear inconsiderate and may need adult support to remain within acceptable boundaries.
  • We are able to tune in to the context of the play suggesting alternative strategies encouraging empathy and lateral thinking to explore alternative scenarios for conflict resolution.

Hurtful Behaviour

We take hurtful behaviour very seriously. Most children under five will at some stage hurt or say something hurtful to another child, especially when their emotions are high, but it is not helpful to label this “bullying”. For these children hurtful behaviour is momentary, spontaneous and without cognisance of the feelings of the person they have hurt.

  • We recognise that children behave in hurtful ways because they have not yet developed the means to manage intense feelings that sometimes overwhelm them, and will help them to manage these feelings.
  • We understand that self-management of intense emotions, especially anger, happens when the brain has developed neurological systems to manage the physiological processes that take place when triggers activate response of fear and anger.
  • We offer support by calming a child who is angry as well as the one who has been hurt. By helping a child to return to a normal state, we are helping the brain to develop the physiological response system that will help a child manage their own feelings.
  • We do not engage in punitive responses to a young child’s rage it will have the opposite effect.
  • Our way of supporting pre-verbal children is to calm them through holding and cuddling. Verbal children may also respond to cuddling to calm down but we also offer explanation and discuss the incident to their level of understanding.
  • We recognise that young children require help in understanding the range of feelings they experience and by naming them and helping children to express them, make a connection between the event and feeling. Older children will be able to talk through their feelings.
  • We help young children to empathise with others, understanding that they have feelings and that their actions impact on others feelings. We do not force children to say sorry, but encourage this where it is clear they are genuinely sorry and wish to show this to the person they have hurt.
  • We are aware that the same problem may happen over and over before skills such as sharing and turn-taking develop.
  • We support social skills through modelling behaviour, activities, drama and stories. We build self-esteem and confidence by recognising their emotional needs and building strong relationships with them.


Bullying involves the persistent physical or verbal abuse of another child or children. It is characterised by the intent to hurt, often planned and accompanied by an awareness of the impact of the bullying behaviour. We take bullying very seriously.

We recognise that bullying usually occurs in children over the age of five, when they have reached the stage of cognitive development required to plan and carry out a premeditated event intent on causing distress to another.

We will always intervene and stop a child from bullying others.

We will reassure the child or children being bullied.

We will listen to and respond to those who have been bullied.

We will help a child who is bullying to recognise the impact of their actions, never label them as bullies, given them positive feedback for considerate behaviour and opportunities to practice considerate behaviour.

We recognise that children who bully may be experiencing bullying themselves, or be subject to abuse or other circumstances causing them to express their anger in negative ways towards others.

We discuss what has happened with the parents of the child bullying and work out with them a plan for handling their child’s behaviour.

We discuss what has happened with the parents of the child being bullied, explaining that the child who did the bullying is being helped to adopt more acceptable ways of behaving.

This policy was reviewed August 2019

Signed on behalf of the Preschool Anne Ridgway and Heather Gardner