Early childhood teachers identify challenging behaviors as one of the most difficult aspects of their jobs and one for which they feel the least prepared. Teachers are required to manage children’s emotional and physical needs and behaviors.
HWC has been training nursery and preschool teachers and psychiatric hospitals serving children as young as three for decades. At first, the small child program was taught as a component as part of the larger HWC program. In 2011, we decided to offer the small child program as part of the overall HWC program and also as a separate “standalone” program specifically for everyone working with children in this 3-7 age group.
One of the basic tenants when managing younger children, is that an intervention considered to be good parenting is likely to be a successful management plan. Children are still developing. HWC’s young children’s program balances appropriate protection, containment and limit-setting with the child’s development of self-sufficiency and independence. Children engaging in challenging behaviors including causing injury to self or others, causing damage to the physical environment and/or interfering with the mission and function of the environment are often looking for assurance that adults are safely and appropriately in control of the environment. These children often test that the adults can safely and appropriately manage the challenges their behavior presents. It is our job to reassure the child that they are safe and the environment is under control.
If verbal intervention is not sufficient to contain the behavior, HWC also offers a physical program designed specifically for young children. HWC centerpiece proprietary child holding method is the “Modified PRT for Smaller Children™.” HWC teaches this holding method because it offers far more mechanical advantage than the ‘basket hold’ with none of the BH’s problems, including the basket hold’s inherently fatal malfunction mode and the stress that can be placed on the child’s shoulders, elbows and wrists with it if the arms are pulled too tightly as the child struggles.
The Modified PRT for Smaller Children is an effective method for children. In cases where staff uses a smaller child hold with a larger child, only to discover you need more mechanical advantage than our small child hold offers, HWC’s program provides training on how to transition from the Modified PRT for Smaller Children to our proprietary adolescent and adult holding method; the Primary Restraint Technique® or PRT®.
The purpose of HWC’s small child training is to supplement, not replace, more child-centric training. Regardless of the identifying reasons, teachers and staff need to know how to manage challenging behaviors in order to ensure for the emotional safety of all the children (and staff) in their care. The child’s job is to test the boundaries. It is our job to help him understand precisely where those boundaries are, and keep him safe in the process.