At La Côte International School Aubonne (LCIS), we place great emphasis on tailoring our teaching and learning to the personal needs and aspirations of each individual student, in order to best support them to flourish personally, socially and academically. In our Early Years Foundation Stage, our teachers therefore follow the 'In the Moment Planning' approach, which involves identifying and developing learning opportunities based on the children's interests in a motivating and supportive environment, and they provide 'Teachable Moments', unplanned opportunities for our teachers to support the exploration of a topic that has captured the students' attention at a particular moment.
Emma Ryves, Early Years Coordinator at LCIS, explains how this child-led, personalised approach to learning also informs the way our teachers support our Foundation children with conflicts that arise during their time at school: "When we deal with behaviours and issues that arise, we also implement an 'in the moment' approach that complements the way we facilitate learning in Early Years. We deal with any disagreements, behaviours and conflicts in the moment they arise and incorporate a 'teachable moment' from which the children can learn for the future. By doing this, we give them the tools they need to apply what they have learnt to future conflicts. One of the strategies used for this is 'conflict resolution', which allows the child to evaluate what happened, how they should have dealt with it and how they can solve the problem to move on. As teachers, we provide support and guidance to all children involved by modelling solution-oriented behaviour and reinforcing relevant class rules and boundaries.
Miss Ryves explains: “I can only encourage parents to implement this constructive and empowering practice at home. It is important that young children have a sense of independence and the time to apply what they have learned in a safe environment. It is also crucial that they feel valued and that their opinions are recognised and respected. If we as adults do everything for them, including dealing with their problems, they will only learn that this is the adult's role and not their responsibility. As with everything in early childhood, it is much more rewarding and beneficial in the long run to teach children these skills so that they can use them independently and throughout their lives to give them the best foundation possible to thrive and flourish.”
The following example illustrates how empathetic and respectful nurturing of conflict resolution skills provides children with the ability to resolve situations before they spin out of control. Emma Ryves recalls: “Two children were hitting each other with cardboard tubes during role play. In any situation of conflict, I make a point of kneeling down at the children's height, holding their hands and allowing each child space to voice their thoughts. The children explained that they were pretending to be knights and using the cardboard tubes as swords. Together, we discussed the rules of the classroom using visual aids which are always accessible to our children, and agreed that to respect our rules, we needed to make sure that no one would get hurt. Working together, we drafted a set of rules for handling the swords, and the children went on to act out their role play safely, feeling both empowered and acknowledged.”
The Early Childhood Consultation Partnership (ECCP®) support this approach in their article on Conflict Resolution and suggest these additional strategies:
If you would like to read more on this subject, here are some relevant articles: