As an educator and researcher who specializes in early childhood and also works with older grade levels, I’ve used National Bullying Prevention Month to reflect on ways bullying progresses as children age. I’ve been wondering what can be done in early childhood to prevent bullying in later grades.
I’ve reviewed the literature on bullying, including sites that provide suggestions on how to prevent and address bullying, but figuring out how to get started can be overwhelming as it involves deciphering what approaches align with who I am as an educator and researcher, and what principles I can incorporate in my work with young children. I’ve found it easier to focus on key concepts that I believe apply in all work with children.
One of those concepts is a strategy presented by StopBullying.gov for making the classroom a safe environment. Building a classroom community that is supportive of all learners and their families aligns well with a focus on early childhood. In my master’s and doctoral work, I’ve found that early childhood education often emphasizes the importance of building a classroom community that supports educators, children, and families.
What does creating a safe early childhood environment mean? How does one go about creating one? A combination of findings from research conducted in preschool classrooms and my experience with young children provides some guidance on how to start building a supportive and safe environment with young children.
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