Kids need practice at managing emotions, psychologist says
SHE is considered an expert in her field and at the weekend Louise Porter was in Gladstone passing on her advice to Gladstone childcare educators.
A renowned author and child psychologist, Dr Porter's topic for the workshop, held at CQUniversity on Saturday, was guiding children's behaviour.
More than 100 childcare educators from 10 of the region's childcare centres and at-home daycare centres attended the event, which was the second of four professional development workshops for the year organised as part of the Rio Tinto Alcan Here for Childcare initiative.
Dr Porter said there was no need to reward and punish children to make them do the things we wanted.
"The main task is to give them practice at managing their emotions," Dr Porter said.
Instead, she said all that was necessary was giving children more practice.
"The task of childhood is to learn how to regulate your feelings.
"We can't have a tantrum every time someone frustrates us."
With training in psychology and education, Dr Porter said children were always going to be the focus of her career.
"It's a passion of mine to respect children's rights."
She said children had a right to have their needs met, but not necessarily their wants.
Dr Porter has taken her message all over Australia and is setting out for Hong Kong to speak in two weeks.
Rio Tinto Alcan Community Fund executive officer Jeremy Hastings said the workshop would give local childcare educators an opportunity to broaden their knowledge and further enhance their toolkit in managing children's behaviour.
A Gladstone-based committee of early childhood educators developed the topics for the four workshops in response to key concerns raised by childcare educators in Gladstone.
"Childcare educators play a vital role in the early development of our children. The fund strongly believes that by investing in the professional development of educators we will help build a stronger childcare industry locally," Mr Hastings said.
AS director of Stepping Stones Child Care Centre, Heather Curran spends a fair bit of time dealing with children's behaviour.
Ms Curran said the workshop by Louise Porter had been great.
"We thought it was very good," Ms Curran said.
"There was a lot of tips and helpful things we can implement in the centre."
Thirteen educators from Stepping Stones attended the workshop. Ms Curran said all staff who were available were keen to attend.
The biggest thing Ms Curran said she took away was the difference between the two types of implementing behavioural strategy, which were praise and acknowledgment.
"It's not changing the way you do everything, but rethinking some of the strategies we use.
"It's great just to take on that knowledge and learn a bit more.
"We also purchased her book and DVD so we can continue to implement it."
After the workshop Stepping Stones opened its doors to the scrutiny of about 20 childcare educators who got a sneak peek at how the centre operated.
"We got lots of positive feedback," she said.
Ms Curran was on the committee that helped organise the workshop, and encouraged the idea of an open day because generally childcare educators would not get the opportunity to see how other people did things.
- Connecting Children with their Environments: Saturday, November 10
- Philosophy in Early Childhood Education: Saturday, December 8