A positive interaction between staff and child is the guiding philosophy at The Jewish Preschool of Lexington (JPL). The staff at JPL will always treat each child with courtesy and respect, be sensitive to the child’s individual needs, and support the development of self-esteem, self-expression, autonomy, social competence and school readiness. The staff will provide positive and consistent care, express warmth to individual children through acts such as hugging, social conversations, eye contact, eye-level communications, and so on.

Staff will provide children with opportunities to develop age-appropriate social competence skills, develop ways of expression of emotions, and self-help skills. Staff will encourage children’s efforts, work and accomplishments, offering opportunities to make choices and decisions.

Conflicts and frustrations are part of normal child development, and learning how to deal with conflicts and frustrations requires acquisition of skills. The staff at JPL is trained to observe and anticipate situations (“triggers”) that elicit inappropriate behavior. “Triggers” will be eliminated, if possible. Staff will make every effort to recognize and reinforce a child’s appropriate behavior, set clear and consistent limits, redirect when necessary, and help the children develop positive strategies for resolving conflicts. If it is safe and appropriate, staff will ignore negative behavior as much as possible, allowing children to practice their social skills. Staff will intervene to stop children from hurting each other, themselves, or from destroying the environment. In addition, children will practice verbalizing feelings, role-playing, and discussions. Where appropriate and feasible, children will participate in discussing and establishing “our good class rules.” Children will also be taught that “taking a break” is a good way to calm down and reflect on behavior. “Taking a break” (time-out) will be used as a last resort to help a child, and will not exceed one minute for each year of the child’s age. When a child will “take a break” it will always be within an educator’s view.

At no time will children be reprimanded through any type of negative punishment, confinement or restraint, such as: threats, humiliation, physical or verbal abuse, neglect, spanking, confining to an object (a swing, high chair, crib, play area, or any other piece of equipment) in lieu of supervision. There will be no type of physical punishment.

JPL staff  consults with child psychologists and educational specialists on a regular basis. If questions arise about particular behaviors, the staff will ask for recommendations and referrals as an additional measure of support. JPL does not suspend children from program as a form of punishment. Suspension or termination from the program may be used if the safety of the child or the safety of other children cannot be guaranteed (or as described in the Termination and Suspension Policy).

Children at JPL will never be deprived of outdoor time, or denied food as a method of punishment. There will be no forced feeding, and there will also be no punishment for soiling, wetting or not using the toilet.

JPL strives to achieve a pleasant, warm and caring atmosphere for children and staff. Methods of discipline, or child guidance, are used to maximize growth and development of a child, to protect the safety of the individual child, the safety of the group, and the safety of the staff. Likewise, staff will consult with other educators in search of methods to best meet children’s individual needs, and communicate various options with child’s family.