Danbury teachers learn behavior lessons

November 14, 2013

News Times

Even preschool is not all fun and games these days.

Preschool children often get expelled from private schools because of behavior issues, said Eileen Costello, director of the Danbury School Readiness preschool program, which is taking part in an initiative to train preschool teachers on how to help children behave.

"They are asked to leave a program because it is unsafe for other children or staff and the teachers didn't have training to work with the children," Costello said. "We have had children falling through the cracks, those who didn't qualify for special education services. We wanted to do something to make them successful in the classroom. If we can do the intervention early enough then they will get the skills they need to succeed in school."

Danbury Public Schools has partnered with Costello's group on a program called "Solid Ground" to train 25 teachers from preschools throughout the city.

The workshops, based on research from the Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning, will provide teachers more ways to build social emotional competence in children. They will also develop a master group of teachers who can coach their peers in how to address challenging behaviors in the classroom.

The goal is for all preschool teachers in the city to learn practices that promote social skills, emotional literacy and self regulation, as a way to prevent challenging behaviors.

Mary Avery, program manager of Wheelock College's early learning program, is teaching the program, which stresses helping children develop a social and emotional language so they can tell friends how they feel and learn how to manage their feelings. It also teaches teachers positive behavior support strategies so they can intervene when children are acting badly.

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