Monday, August 23, 2010


Memorable Moment # 9: I Need the Keys

Today was the first day of school for students. Since I learned my Harry Wong lessons on the importance of procedures long, long ago, the first few weeks of my pre-k classroom are spent on learning the centers, how to play in the centers and how to clean up the centers. That means I don't open every center every day at the beginning of the year.

Today one of the new students in the class asked if he could play in our puzzle center today. My assistant told him that "puzzles are closed." He stood for a second or two and then replied to her, "Ok, I need the keys."

I thought that was a pretty clever response. :-)

image from stopnlook@

Monday, August 16, 2010


Positive Behavior Support: Solution Board

Throughout my district (as with many others) there is a large push for the implementation of school-wide positive behavior support (PBS). I am also fortunate enough to work in a community that has received a large grant to support strategies that increase mental health for children in early childhood settings. One of the initiatives funded through this grant is PBS training and materials.

Our early childhood PBS training is based on the pyramid model and training modules from CSEFEL.

One of my favorite strategies that I learned from my PBS training is the "Solution Kit." The solution kit is a strategy that teaches young children the options they may try when a conflict or disagreement arises. It helps them to learn how to independently (or with less prompting) solve problems.

You can watch a video of a teacher modeling the "solution kit" here.

Two years ago, I started using the solution kit with my pre-schoolers. I had a small plastic suitcase very similar to the one in the video and housed the kit at child level near my circle time area. While I loved the concept of the solution kit, I found the implementation to be difficult for my students. The suitcase with the clips was difficult for some of them to manage with fine motor deficits and the solutions all in a pile became quickly disorganized and overwhelming for them. I didn't want to give up on the positive aspects of using the solution kit, so I had to figure out a way to make it work for my population. Our solution kit evolved into a "solution board."

I simply printed and laminated the visuals from the solution kit and then taped them to the side of my desk. They became a permanent fixture in the classroom. The board allowed me to organize the solutions in a manner that was easier for my students to track visually and also eliminated the need for them to be able to open the kit. Towards the end of the year, for many of my students getting ready to transition to kindergarten, I could be across the room and just verbally prompt them to try using the solution board. I even had two parents who saw us using the solution board in the class and asked for the visuals to use at home!

I think the power of the solution board or solution kit (however the concept evolves for you) is that it teaches the children skills for managing their own conflicts. It gives children a measure of control over the resolution to the conflict and does not require an adult to intervene and "fix" the problem. And, ultimately, that's what we want.....for children to independently be able to come to a peaceful solution to a conflict.