The definition of bullying according to the webster dictionary is “prone to or characterized by overbearing mistreatment and domination of others.” Now those are some harsh words especially when we are thinking of young children 5 and under and even as young as toddlers. So, we must ask ourselves does bullying take place in ECE or is it not till children enter Elementary school and onward that bullying exist?
Bullying behaviors emerge in early childhood and EC educators play an essential role in determining whether bullying escalates, or whether it is stopped. Anybody who interacts with young children can take steps to teach them the skills they need to avoid bullying. Did you know that 95% of pathways are developed by the age of five? So the key to curbing bullying lies in educating and teaching young children how to regulate and proper ways to express emotions. But it is not only a job that ECE teachers can take on all by themselves. Parents play a key role in shaping young minds as well and are essential partners in identifying bullying and teaching skills to deter those aggressive behaviors.
As an early education educator, it is important for me to be able to identify bullying. If I do not know what to look for how can I help the aggressor or victim? Just as it is important for me as a teacher to see the signs and it is also essential for parents to notice signs of if their child is bullying or being bullied. We must come together to help children move forward and regulate themselves and their feelings healthy and respectfully. Below I have listed a few books that can help you bringing up the discussion of bullying and how to guide your child through.
- Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell
- That Big Guy Took My Ball by Mo Willems
(Mo Willems books are a great resource for tons of social emotional skills)
- The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig
- The Juice Box Bully by Bob Sornson and Maria Dismondy
- Chester Raccoon and the Big Bad Bully By Audrey Penn
The biggest tool we have as parents and educators is communication and listening to our children.
Lead Preschool Teacher
Social Emotional Coordinator