The University of Texas at Austin Child Development Centers uses positive guidance methods in order to help children learn self-control and self-direction without loss of self-esteem. The centers encourages children to use words to solve problems with others. A balanced schedule of activities suited to your child’s development, and a positive environment promotes cooperation. The center uses a variety of methods to encourage children’s cooperation, including the clear statement of limits in positive terms, redirection, choices between acceptable behaviors, and positive reinforcement through praise and encouragement of good behavior. Teachers work closely with parents to understand each child and to determine which methods work best for him or her.
Discipline is based on an understanding of each child’s individual needs and level of development. When correcting a child’s behavior, the caregiver’s response is individualized and consistent for each child, appropriate to the child’s level of understanding, and directed toward teaching the child acceptable behavior and self-control. When a child repeats a challenging behavior, the center uses a variety of methods for encouraging cooperation. These include the positive methods described above, and conferencing with other staff, parents, and center administration. The center makes every effort to understand children’s needs and modify classroom practices so each child is successful. Staff members anticipate problems and plan to prevent them by maintaining an appropriate learning environment.
As stated in the DPRS licensing standards, there must be no harsh, cruel, or unusual treatment. As such, the Child Development Center’s guidelines entail the following:
- Corporal punishment (see Compliant Procedures) or threats of corporal punishment is prohibited.
- Children must not be shaken, bitten, hit, or have anything put in or on their mouth as punishment.
- Children must not be humiliated, yelled at, or rejected.
- Children must not be subjected to abusive or profane language.
- Punishment must not be associated with food, naps, or toilet-training.
- Bed-wetters must not be shamed or punished.
- Staff may use brief, supervised separation from the group if necessary, but staff must not place children in a locked room or in a dark room with the door closed.