In preschool, children encounter their first experiences in forming and joining social groups outside their family. It is natural for them to experiment with social interactions while learning about their world. In this guide, teasing and bullying are addressed as a continuum of intentionally hurtful behavior, from making fun of someone to repetitive physical abuse. Creating a caring environment at the beginning of school reduces the need for children to assert themselves through negative behavior such as teasing and bullying. With The Anti-Bullying and Teasing Book, teachers of young children can address this behavior before it develops.
Special features of this book:
Information on family-school partnerships to engage families in the development of a caring community and to reinforce teachings about empathy and mutual respect.
Techniques to teach children how to think about and manage their feelings in a safe and appropriate way.
Tips for teaching children how to act appropriately as a "bystander." Children who stand by while a friend is being teased and bullied may be uneasy or even scared that they might be next. They feel powerless and learn negative ways to interact with others. Teachers have the opportunity to work with bystanders, helping them to develop the confidence to stand up for a friend. As a result, children will become more able to stand up for themselves and not tolerate teasing and bullying behavior.
The Anti-Bullying and Teasing Book creates an environment that reinforces the positive messages essential to children's sense of safety and well-being. Some such messages are quoted from "Hurt-Free Schools" by M. Christine Mattise:
If you are hurt on the playground, someone will come to see if you are all right.
If you are alone, you are welcome to join in a game.
If you are being teased, other children will come and tell the teaser to stop.
If you need help, ask an adult.
When certain social milestones and goals are achieved, children can easily live and work within their world. According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Code of Ethical Conduct, these goals can be stated in terms of "democratic life skills," which include the ability to:
see one's self as a worthy individual and a capable member of the group.
express strong emotions in non-hurting ways.
solve problems ethically and intelligently.
be understanding of the feeling and viewpoints of others.
work cooperatively in groups, with acceptance of the human differences among members.
Teachers have a major influence on how children view themselves within the larger world. Children mimic teachers' language and interactions. By creating a climate of mutual respect, teachers can help children learn to develop empathy and treat others fairly and kindly, and to stand up for themselves and their friends in safe and developmentally appropriate ways. The Anti-Bullying and Teasing Book will help teachers create a school environment in which all children feel comfortable, safe, and welcome.
Merle Froschl is codirector of the Educational Equity Center at the Academy for Educational Development (AED). Prior to joining AED, she was cofounder and codirector of Educational Equity Concepts, where she developed innovative programs and materials to promote bias-free learning. Her articles include: "Teasing and Bullying Behavior in Early Education" (Equity and Excellence in Education, April 2000), "Fostering Friendships, Curbing Bullying" (Educational Leadership, May 1999), and "On-Purpose: Addressing Teasing and Bullying in Early Childhood" (Young Children, March 1999). Merle holds a BS in Journalism from Syracuse University and is a graduate of the Institute for Not-for-Profit Management, Columbia University.
Dr. Blythe Hinitz was honored as a Hero of Early Childhood Education by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) in 2011. She was also named an Outstanding Early Childhood Teacher Educator by the National Association of Early Childhood Teacher Educators in 2007. Dr. Hinitz is the author of several journal articles and is also a member of the national boards of the World Organization for Early Childhood Education--United States National Committee (OMEP-USNC) and the New Jersey Anti-Bullying Coalition Expert Advisory Group.
Barbara Sprung has over 40 years of experience in early childhood education, as a teacher and as an innovator of programs and materials to promote equality of opportunity for children. She is Co-Director of the Educational Equity Center at the Academy for Educational Development. From 1982-2004, she was Co-Founder and Co-Director of Educational Equity Concepts. Her articles include "On-Purpose: Addressing Teasing and Bullying in Early Childhood" for Young Children, and "It's Not Child's Play" for Children and Families. Barbara holds a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College, an M.S. Bank Street College of Education, and is a graduate of the Institute for Not-for-Profit Management, Columbia University.