Quit often in school, naughty children are often labeled "aggressive" or "problematic". Now, a new customized daycare program developed at the Universite de Montreal hopes to nip such violence by young children in the bud.
The daycare program started by Jacinthe Guevremont aims at preventing developmental problems among kids.
As part of the program, early childhood educators try to foster calm by encouraging kids to express their anger and frustration in more constructive ways.
"It's really important to intervene early - before violent behavior is too ingrained. Violent behavioral problems that persist in early childhood are good indicators of school drop-outs and future delinquency," said Guevremont.
However, the interim director of the daycare has cautioned against labeling kids between the ages of four and five as aggressive or problematic children.
"Giving a child a reputation as trouble-maker risks making him feel like that the rest of his life and unable to see himself as anything else," she said.
She has revealed that the program has a series of observation sessions of children that incorporate personalized strategies and approaches for helping those with behavioral difficulties.
"This has to be done as soon as the child is in daycare. Once children enter school it's often too late. They get labeled very quickly," said Guevremont, who has worked with young children for close to 20 years.
According to her, behavioral problems aren't always the result of violent tendencies.
"Sometimes, we wrongly believe the child has behavioral problems, when in fact he or she suffers from other things, such as sensorial hypersensitivity," she said.
She revealed that such children could not stand to be touched. Others are very sensitive about the texture of food in their mouths or noise.
After a couple of observation sessions, Guevremont would suggest, for example, that a sensitive child sit at the head of the table during lunch, which can provide extra space and limit contact with others that could upset him.
For other children, they simply have to be briefed on what awaits them in any given day, so they aren't upset by surprises.
Guevremont pointed out that daycare workers are very experienced and know how to manage a group. Yet solving problems among 15 children can be difficult.
"If children are raised in surroundings where they are supported, they learn to control their aggression and emotions and can become very sociable," said Guevremont.