Book Review by Lauren Colvin
AN ESSENTIAL GUIDE
By Liz Williams
This book is a concise and easy to follow guide. I read the whole book within an hour. As an experienced Early Years specialist, who is passionate about supporting and nurturing positive behaviour within children, I was able to relate closely to the subject matter. I feel both experienced practitioners and those new to early years, stand to gain a valuable insight into children’s behaviour by reading this book. The central message throughout, is one very much in line with my own beliefs towards understanding and supporting children’s behaviour. “Children’s behaviour isn’t actually something we should ‘manage’, it’s a set of skills and competencies that we should strive to help develop”. Each section of the book is built upon recognising that children aren’t born with the necessary understanding and skills needed to manage their own behaviour effectively and appropriately; this needs to be nurtured and supported through the adults and environment around them. The book helps the reader to understand the impact our own actions have on children and how powerful what we do and say can be, with either positive or detrimental effects. One of the most powerful tools highlighted, that is available to us all, is simply modelling appropriate and expected behaviour. This is a good example of the straightforward and effective advice offered throughout this book. Another crucial part of the approach shared within this book, focuses on changing the readers mind-set, from trying to control or punish children’s behaviour, to focussing instead on how much more effective it is to encourage positive behaviour demonstrated. Through celebrating an individual child’s ability to display expected and appropriate behaviour, you are reinforcing it, drawing the other children’s attention towards it and raising the self-esteem of the individual who carried it out, all at the same time.
The brief period of time taken to read this book, is certainly worth it for the long term benefits offered behind the approach. Different techniques are only touched upon, but in doing so it makes the reader think and provides the foundations for further research. If you want to gain a greater understanding into children’s behaviour and create an environment that encourages positive behaviour from both the adults and children in it, then this is the read for you!