In our setting at Dąbrowskiego we are sometimes faced with conflict situations between the children and at times, this even result in aggressive behaviour. Any behaviour of this kind can be worrying to teachers as well as parents.
I believe the way adults relate to each other gives powerful messages about how disagreements, mistakes and problems are dealt with and resolved. As teachers, we try using differences of views between children as an opportunity for learning about listening to each other, understanding another’s perspective and finding suitable resolutions. None of these skills are easy and even as adults we can struggle sometimes. We can help children by engaging them in the process in a developmentally appropriate way. For very young children, such as those at Dabrowskiego, it is developmentally appropriate that there will be conflicts on a regular basis, as children explore how to engage with each other, negotiate rules over use of toys and equipment and gain independence. If as adults we respond by taking over, making all the decisions and imposing our solutions in every situation, we exclude the children from the process of finding solutions and therefore send a message that there involvement is not valued. The learning that happens through these experiences underpins children’s understanding of how relationships and conflict works. Our role is to help each child gain confidence and skill in their social interactions and to create a positive emotional environment to nurture children’s relationships.