Preschoolers Behaving Badly: Expulsions Rise

Aviva Pflock, a former preschool teacher and child development specialist, said, "The fact is, 3, 4, 5, 6, even 7, and older age children simply are not ready to make choices in regards to how their behavior affects others. They get angry [or tired or hungry], and they may lash out. Rather than getting in trouble for the poor behavior, they need to be taught about appropriate ways to behave."

But, argues NIEER's Frede, most children only need a good quality program and a teacher who is well-trained and well-compensated. And maybe some old-fashioned discipline.

When Frede's mother was a preschool teacher in the late 1950s and had a biter in her class, she whisked the child away into a closet and asked him to "bite himself," to see how it felt.

Not that Frede recommends that unorthodox method today, but she said with a laugh, "Joel never bit another kid."

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