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Well, we have had a new little boy start Nursery last week. He attended a couple of play and stay sessions with Dad in the previous weeks, but he came to our afternoon nursery last Thurs for the first time. He is chinese and speaks no English. Dad doesn't speak much english either. Anyway, Dad bent down and told him something and the boy got up and went into the outdoor classroom. Dad then said bye to us and left. When little boy came back into Nursery he flipped out. I have never seen a child so upset. He was screaming at the top of his voice and kicking the door, we tried all the usual comforting techniques, distractions, puppets, leaving for 2 minutes and then coming back etc. To cut a long story short he made himself sick, it was everywhere so I took him to change his top. At which point he became extremely violent, he punched me in the side of the face, and lashed out with his feet. I began blocking his blows and called for support, the NN came in to see that he had got my hair and was punching and kicking me as I repeatedly blocked his blows. All through this he was screaming at the top of his voice evry few seconds. We backed away from him and tried to talk to him but he decided to throw himself backwards onto the floor... he missed the sink by inches. Everytime I held out my hand he tried to kick it. After watching him make another unsuccessful attempt to crack his head open I decided that we should try to get him outside so that he would not hurt himself or another child. After a quick flash of teeth we decided to lift him between us and take him out. He continued with the throwing himself back, but nnow at least he was on the grass. We had already got the other support to call for Dad to return and he was on his way.

We spoke to Dad and said we felt that he was not ready to be left in Nursery, and we suggested that he brings him for 2 days per week and stays with him during the session. Dad has been doing this but to be honest we are still finding the situation very difficult, and I am not sure what the little boy is actually getting out of this.

Dad brings him in and then sits away from him while he plays alone. Any attempt by Nursery staff to engage him in conversation or play results in a kick. My NN has a massive bruise on her leg! He refused to put on an apron today, so we explained to dad (or tried to with lots of gestures and modelling from other children) that he needed to put one on before he would be allowed to paint. My NN tried to show him...kick, she showed dad...boy then hit his dad. When the said "no" to painting unless he put on Apron, he pulled a face, grabbed my display board and ripped it. his dad then LAUGHED!!!! Can you believe it? I am exhausted today. We have asked Dad to bring someone who can speak english with him tomorrow so that we can explain that he needs to play with his son, and help him feel secure. I am still a new teacher, and this is just freaking me out. :o Any tips or suggestions?

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I feel for you, Tracy!!

 

that said, I'll have to think a bit....I don't know, that's a tricky one. We recently had a Polish girl join us, neither she nor mum had any English - Dad did, but went back to Poland for three weeks!! :o

 

She was just lost looking lost until she began - very quickly - to pick up some English, now forging ahead - rather too forcefully at times !!!!!

 

So, suppose that doesn't help at all! xD

 

Sure someone will be by soon to help :)

 

Sue x

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How old is the child?

 

We certainly have a settling in policy that the parent must be prepared to spend as long as it takes to get a child settled usually a week sometimes more. Only encourage seperation once the child is clearly moving away from the parent and engaging in activities. First seperation should only be for 5 or ten minutes. THe parent should have a place to go within the building where they can be called back if the child is distressed and whew this one sure seems distressed!! I know thats not always possible but it really makes a difference if the parent can go somewhere for a very short time. Make sure one person is there to support the child in their play.

 

I would suggest that the child come in every day however as he needs to understand that he has to go every day no matter what.

 

You need to make it clear to dad that kicking adults or indeed other children is completely unacceptable behaviour. Frequently parents laugh in these situations because they are embarrassed and don't know what to do or say. It may well be that they are not coping with him at home either.

 

Try and get as much detail about family circumstances as possible. Is it not possible that mum could share settling in? It may be that mum is main carer but that as dad has some english it was felt better that he bring him in. Main carer is usually the best person though not always. Is this an only child? Is there a new baby? All these things impact on the childs state of mind.

 

Think about it from the childs point of view. He gets taken to a strange place, with strange people who he doesn't understand who make his father go away. He is probably used to screaming and/or violence to get the response he requires .

Give him space to settle. It is OK for him to play on his own and gain confidence. Usually children with little/no English prefer solitary sand, water play or playdough - why would they want to be with other children if they can't understand them?

Does it really matter if this process takes three or four weeks?

When approaching the child (keep a safe distance!) get down to his level give eye contact and smile. Then wait for him to try some form of communication. If you can offer some form of help to him that would be an important step. One member of staff needs to be his primary carer - do you have any form of keyworker system?

 

Is any of this useful? Perhaps you've tried all this? If so I'm sorry but I've worked with large numbers of EAL children over the last ten years and I've been there too! Believe me quick seperation is not always best - with a strong character like this you need to gain his trust before he is going to accept being left alone with you.

 

Hope some of this helps.

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Something similar happened last year with an Oriental girl in our Nursery class. The mum did not anything when she saw her daughter hit the teacher. She did not even say sorry nor the father write anything in the Communication Booklet. Then someone suggested for them to write in Japan some basic words that the teacher could try to pronounce and somehow make the child feel more confidente. Things started to get better after that.

 

I have her this year in Reception and the first days she blew up a tantrum when I told her that she had to eat her fruit in the morning and she could eat her cookies in the afternoon. It was horrible! All the children were shocked. I let her know who was the teacher and which were the rules. She kept on screaming and hitting. I put her in the spot and told her she could come back after calming down. It took her a while, but she did stay there. Then she said "Sorry". The next day it was the same thing. I talked with her and told her that we would make a deal. She would eat 3 pieces of her apple and then she could eat her other snack. I have gradually increased the number of pieces :o. No problems ever since!

 

I think we need to tell parents what is and what is not allowed and that we need their collaboration. It would be good that Dad doesn't stay just watching, but that he can integrate with his child and play with him. Who knows? Maybe he has never done so! Then we could add another adult. I would be careful in adding another child until this boy gets to open himself more to the other children.

 

Best wishes!

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Poor you - sounds as though you are really having a tough time. I agree with what everyone says, but perhaps, with his Dad's ok, he could paint without his overall. He appeared to want to paint and this may be one way of distracting him. I had a Japanese boy, very similar, he refused to take off his coat and his back pack throughout the whole session. It was his sort of comfort factor, his Mum was fine with this and he happily absorbed himself with painting, covering his rather nice Next coat with paint - eventually after a considerably long time he was able to come in, not shouting and kicking, take his coat off and always began the day with a painting and a year and a half later - he was the star of our chirstmas play! He clearly does not want to be comforted and I don't think you should put you or your staff in that position whereby they are being lashed out at, as someone else has said he is appears to be happiest solitary play and this might be an option for you - to observe from a distance to ensure that any other children who may enter his space are safe from his outbursts. It may take a long time to gain his trust but on the bright side think of all the little positive improvements in his behaviour and for a long time they probably will be little. You will probably also need to talk to the other children too and explain to them why he is behaving in the way that he is, and asking them how they think they can help. Sometimes we don't give children enough credit and they often come up with some really good ideas besides which they may not be as intimidating as us "grown ups" who speak a totally different language, look different and stop us doing what they want.

 

Good luck, get the ice packs ready and in a few months time hopefully, you can look back and say, I helped him achieve that.

Nikki

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We had a little boy like that last year. He was from Sri Lanka, had no English and when dad brought him he would sit outside the main hall and fall asleep! The little boy was a bit violent, but nothing like your child, although he was never particulary gentle with his little sister and I dont ever remember seeing any disipline from mom or dad when he pushed her over. Would this be a cultural thing? He would screamed loads when dad left, throwing himself on the floor and lashing out at anyone. We'd stay a few feet away and watch without him being aware. We let him wander around on his own, only jumping in when he targeted another child. He was definitly happier without us engaging with him. It took a few months of allowing him to do virtually what he wanted before we were able to spend time with him at an activity. When I left he was sitting for snack, joining in with other children, although sometimes a little rough, and he was focusing more and more on what was going on around him. He'd even stared using some English words. The upset at being left with strangers stopped him from actually understanding where he was, as soon as the worse of the upset had stopped he had time to take it all in and I think he discovered that it wasnt really a bad place to be.

Nicola's suggestion of an ice pack would be well worth investing in for now though. :o

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Thanks for your replies.

 

On the final session we did ask parents to leave for 10 minutes. We put tea and biscuits out in the staffroom for them and said when they felt ready they could pop out for ten min for a drink. Dad (and english speaking friend) just said they didn't want a drink, and they stayed with the little boy. He will move around (the boy that is :D ) when dad is there, as long as he can pop back to check if Dad is there every few minutes. He likes to go in the paedal car outside, but I have to assign a member of staff just to watch him in this situation in case another child approaches him. I am very worried that he will punch another child. I really don't want him to paint without an apron because we expect all the other new children to respect this, and it would hardly be fair if he were allowed to do what he liked. Dad did actually manage to get him to put it on thankfully, but he didn't really want it. Unfortunately I do have other new children starting. I am not in a day nursery I am in a Catholic school, so we have our intake and they are staggered so we have new children coming in every 2 days. I can't really put them off for a few months because they are entitled to their place.

Dad is bringing his english speaking friend in this afternoon, so I will let you know how we get on. I have also asked a friend to write something out for his Dad in Chinese.

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You have my sympathies Tracy, and it seems as if you are coping very well.

 

With regard to the apron, we encourage all the children to wear aprons to paint, but its not compulsory. Most choose to put them on, and those who don't cope very well if some paint gets on their clothes. We constantly reinforce to parents that pre-school is not the place for designer gear (and that even with aprons a surprising amount of paint can end up on children's clothes).

 

I'm really not criticising your strict 'no apron no painting' rule, and I'm not saying you should take the path of least resistance and let him get away with unacceptable behaviour at all. Its just that on the scale of things with this child not wearing an apron to paint might seem a very minor worry.

 

Of course being in a school I appreciate you can't always make your own policy on these matters!

 

Good luck with all your endeavours with this little boy. Is there any chance of funding for a 1:1 helper? - it sounds as if in the short term at least you need some extra support.

 

Good luck, and at least you know you can come here and let off steam!

 

Maz

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Well the english speaking friend came in today, and he was lovely. He explained that he was a friend of the family and that he was very sorry for the little boys's behaviour (bless him) . We tlod him that we wanted the best for the little boy, and it was important for us to work together etc. We just explained that he was not ready to be left here alone, and we needed Dad to be here for him on those 2 or 3 days. I asked permission to contact the local Sure Start centre, and they were very happy about that, so I called sure start on their behalf after the session to ask about support groups, play and stay sessions etc. Friend said that the little boy does not converse in his own language either, but just occasionally repeats a word spoken by dad! So we could be looking at Speech and Lang difficulties as well as the EAL issue. He doesn't have favourite toys, watch TV or anything apparently... :o I was trying to find a hook to get his attention. Hopefully sure start can provide some family support and advice when they get back to me tomorrow.

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No, not seen anything of Mum. English speaking guy said in very broken English, that "mum too busy with baby sister, very much attention to her" .

I haven't heard anything back from Sure Start, so I will call them again tomorrow. I have had a little girl start in the morning session who has an attitude like you just wouldn't believe! I think this is going to be a long, hard, stressful year for me. xD She comes in lovely, sits down with peers for snack etc, seemed adorable...then outside she was very aggressive with the other children, opushing them out of the way, smacking them to get their toys etc. Anyway I spoke to her today and said "X do you remember that we talked about kind hands in Nursery? And how we should try not to hurt our friends" She looked away from me with nose in the air, so I added "do you think you can remember to be kind, because your friend is crying now" She then said "Why don't you shut up!"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Very calmly I asked her not to talk to me like that because we can hurt friends with our words too, she told me to get lost and stuck out her tongue. So we (ok well I) thought it might be better if she came inside for a while so that she could think about why she was upsetting people today. She then scratched all down my arm and said "I am not your friend and I am telling my Mum" I explained that we might have a chat with Mum to see if we could decide what might make X come into school with a happy face tomorrow" She then spent the next ten minutes sticking out her tongue, throwing pencils on the floor, calling me "STUPID" at the top of her voice and doing some strange dance which involved hands on hips, wiggling of the bottom, sticking the thumbs out in a "thumbs down gesture" and sneering. It was quite comical in the end because she looked so silly. Mum's response? She was probably tired today. Mercy me! I sometimes think I should do something easier for a living! :(:o

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poor you, it sounds like hard work.

 

I do feel sorry for the chinese boy if Dad disappeared without him knowing as it seemed in the first post - did I get it right, he was outside and dad then left him?? That could be very traumatic and maybe he is now very wary of letting Dad out of his sight. Have you asked english speaking friend (now to be called ESF) what the going to school expectations in the country of origin are?? Do children just go and parents leave them?? What are their expecations of school and the role of the teacher. Do they start at this age at all?? Maybe Dad is bemused by all the stay with your child idea?? Can you use ESF to explain the way that education in this country values parents being involved in the class and tell him about some of the things that are out that he could do with his son?? I agree with not being too hung up with aprons rule - if he is engaging with paint don't put other obstacles in the way, it creates a problem you don't need! What resources do you have that might reflect his cultural background and give him things that he may be familiar with - books, dual langage tapes, role play resources etc etc? As someone else suggested can you get some words so you can talk in his language, Hello in cantonese (I think) is Ni Hao (if it is cantonese they speak). He does sound very frustrated and being put in such an alien, confusing and culturally different environment may be very distressing for him. Sounds like there is a new baby, maybe he feels left out? Pushed out? Why is he here when everyone else is with the baby???

 

Maybe his induction will have to be carfully tailored to meet his needs rather than following the "norm" as he is clearly very distressed by the experience - and maybe sure start will be able to help you with this.

 

Good luck with him! (and the other little girl too)

Cx

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Oh dear tracy, sounds like you have your work cut out for you this year..... :o

 

The little girl sounds like a typical teenager in disguise.... xD

 

 

Agree with catma, learning words in their mother tongue helps enormously ans shows that you value it as well.

 

we currently have a set of twins who only speak in portuguese, and once we learnt some important simple words we found they were more settled, although thier language in the mother tongue is excellent and they chat togehter all the time.

They are now intersted in learning english as they are fed up with trying to tell us something we do not understnd.

 

we made prompt sheets of simple words, colours shapes etc in both languages as well as a number book they can point to the picute say it in their own tongue and we then add it in english for them... seems to be working so far.

 

good luck

 

Inge

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Mercy me! I sometimes think I should do something easier for a living!  xD  :o

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We can't afford to lose dedicated practitioners such as yourself! You certainly sound as if you have your work cut out! I hope you can get some support so that you can deal with the feelings these children's behaviour will engender in you and your staff.

 

Good luck

Maz

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Hey poor you - what do you think next week will hold - you certainly need your wits about you especially if they decide to get together!!!! Still hang on in there - I am sure you will see marked improvements - this is based on the assumption that they probably or hopefully won't get any worse!!!!

Nikki

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I sympathise with you.We too seem to have a few little ones with attitudes after waving goodbye to 32 lovely well behaved 4 year olds and welcoming 21 new 2half year olds some of who have obviously rule the roost at home I sometimes have thought this week why do I do this job?but luckily only sometimes! :)

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Poor children :o , their lives appear to be very miserable at the moment.

 

Their behaviour is "learnt" through the responses that have been given to them and this is entirely the responsibility of the adults.

 

They are crying out for their individual needs to be met, in the only way they know how. Their needs are quite complex but that is not their fault. They need "Positive reinforcement" to enable their behaviour to change, this will take time and understanding.

Yes, they need boundaries and rules, these need to be taught in the context of love and security, not because others are expected to behave a certain way, so should you, type of attitude.

 

Sorry if I sound a bit harsh but is this not why we chose this vocation, to love, support and enable all our young children to develop.

Maslow stated our emotional needs are paramount, these needs have to be met before we can progress forward in other areas of development, such as adhering to social rules etc. These children will not feel trust/support unless the adult support is through positive reinforcement and the children are valued for who they are now.

 

Good luck, hopefully the support of surestart and the whole family approach will help the adults who care for these children, find the positive persons who are there within these children now.

 

 

Peggy

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Well I agree that this needs to come through positive reinforcement, obviously I do not stand there screeching like a banshee answering back and stamping my feet. However, there are behavioural expectations of the setting...and not beating the living daylights out of their friends is one of them. I have always used positive praise, we are all happy friends together approach, and she went home with a sticker today because she had been so good. Everyone has a good person inside, and she is lovely...she is just expressing her frustration in the only way she knows how at the moment. I am here to show her that there are better ways of doing things, if I can do this by showing her good examples, using children to model, finding those moments when she acts appropriately and making the biggest fuss and dance about it, making her feel good and wonderful about herself when she behaves appropriately then that is great. But when she has another child by the throat I don't think me hopping up and down with my happy face in the background is helping the situation. :o I guess it is finding a happy medium. She is a very confident and articulate child, we have little chats and she is happy most of the time. However, she is a shrewd little thing and is very aware when I am trying to get her to do something she doesn't agree with...like sharing, not matter how I try to dress it up. :D Today I saw a boy ride up and when she asked for his scooter he gave it to her. I made a huge fuss of him and told her how kind he was to share the scooter with her. She even thanked him! We are making progress. :D

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It's curious that the little girl gets what she wants when she gets the bike off the little boy. Did she just say it's mine now and get? Was his turn officially over? Did he have any say in his go being "over"? I merely wonder out of interest in relation to reading about gender I have been doing recently.

 

I wonder also does she have to share at home? Maybe a lot so in school she can exert power over objects, maybe with noone so she is used to having things for herself - knowledge of the childs world will really help understand the powerful motivating forces that are at play here. What a fascinating little case study.

 

Cx

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Well basically he was scooting around when she tried to get the scooter off the other girl. These other children are in Reception class by the way. From where I was standing I observed that she wasn't quite quick enough to get the scooter off the girl (who was having none of it) and she stood still in the middle of the playground. The boy the just scooted over and gave her his scooter instead. She is such a tiny tot he probably felt sorry for her. He was so sweet and I made a huge fuss over him, telling him how kind he was and how that was so thoughtful. He even put his arm around her to help her get on. :) What a star!

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Well done Tracy! I agree on how you are doing things, with positive reinforcement and good modelling (you and the other children). At the same time, we can not always smile to unproper behaviour and... without disrespect to the child... we have to let them know there are boundaries, that there are things that are not accepted. I had that problem once, a couple of years ago, with a child who had even said to Head of Primary that he would kill him. He had recently moved and his parents had only told him about the moving a week before coming to Europe. It was a big frustration for the child. He couldn't cope with Grade 1 and was sent to me (Reception). Before he knew of the change, I tried to 'win' him. He even invited me to his home! Things went well overall until he hit a child. I put him apart from the group (we were washing our hands before lunchtime) and face-to-face I told him that behaviour was not acceptable, that we had learnt to be friends to each other treating each other well. He was mad the first minutes... but the behaviour did not happen again. He became a very social, happy and sweet boy, his real self. Everyone was amazed on his change! Sometimes a serious talk is necessary, one that is at the same time full of love. The clue is the balance.

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