Behavior and Curriculum

We all know that children's behavior improves when they are meaningfully engaged.  Here's a story that took place a few years ago in New York City.  At that time, I was a member of Teaching Strategies' (publisher of Creative Curriculum) Staff Development Network and also working as an ongoing consultant to a preschool for learning disabled children.  The staff wanted help with children with challenging behaviors and the administration wanted help in implementing The Creative Curriculum for Preschool.  I combined both during half of a school year.  The idea was to create faculty teams to investigate one classroom area at a time using The Creative Curriculm book, make whatever changes they felt appropriate and make a brief presentation of their work at an upcoming monthly staff meeting. Each team would be composed of all of the staff of two classrooms and would have about six weeks for the project.  The director suggested the classrooms for the teams. The first team worked with the block area, starting with team members' observations of the behavior challenges in their respecective classes associated with blocks.  They read the block chapter in the book and suggested changes to their block areas.   Meeting with administration was next, describing the changes sought.  In one room, teachers wanted more blocks and the director explained that the same staff had previously asked her to store some of their blocks – of course, they were easily added to the classroom.  In one room, furniture had to be moved and an additional block cabinet was added – by shifting around throughout the program.  The staff, who had been resistant, became very involved, taking before and after pictures and making huge oak tag displays to bring to the staff meeting.  Of course, challenging behavior was greatly diminished, staff became more comfortable with Creative Curriculum (books had been in the closet for a while), and was more likely to read other chapters as well. Two additional classroom teams worked in teams of two classrooms. They worked on and presented on dramatic play and the discovery area.  Their presentations were very different, reflecting the abilities and interests of the team members.  All of the teams became “experts” who were consulted as other teams wanted to make changes.  Behavior challenges were fewer, staff was empowered, the site director and executive director of the agency were happy with the curriculum changes.  My time with each team?  Three meetings of about 45 minutes each, once per week.  Results? Classrooms were happier places for children and staff with more effective learning, fewer incidents of challenging behavior and greater progress towards IEP goals. Surely another win/win/win situation!

One Response to “Behavior and Curriculum”

  1. ellen says:

    Thanks, William

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