Behaviour Management Policy

Our nursery believes that children flourish best when they know how they are expected to behave. Children gain respect through interaction with caring adults who show them respect and value their individual personalities. Positive, caring and polite behaviour will be encouraged and praised at all times in an environment where children learn to respect themselves, other people and their surroundings.

Children need to have set boundaries of behaviour for their own safety and the safety of their peers. Within the nursery we aim to set these boundaries in a way, which helps the child to develop a sense of the significance of their own behaviour, both on their own environment and those around them. Restrictions on the child’s natural desire to explore and develop their own ideas and concepts are kept to a minimum.

We aim to:

  • Recognise the individuality of all our children.
  • Encourage children to participate in a wide range of group activities to enable them to develop their social skills.
  • Work in partnership with parents and carers by communicating openly.
  • By praising children and acknowledging their positive actions and attitudes, we hope to ensure that children see that we value and respect them.
  • Encourage all staff working with the children to accept their responsibility for implementing the goals in the policy.
  • Promote non-violence and encourage the children to deal with conflict peaceably.
  • Provide a key person and buddy system enabling staff to build a strong and positive relationship with children and their families.
  • Have a named person who has overall responsibility for issues concerning behaviour. As outlined in EYFS: “They must have the necessary skills to advise other staff on behaviour issues and to access expert advice if necessary” (see section 3,3.50 The Safeguarding and welfare requirements, Statutory Framework for EYFS)
  • The named person: Clairee Wright will keep up to date with legislation and research; access relevant sources of expertise on handling children’s behaviour; attend regular external training events, and check that all staff relevant in-service training on handling children. A record will be kept of staff attendance at this training.
  • We recognise that codes for interacting with other people vary between cultures and staff are required to be aware of this and respect those used by members of the nursery.
  • Nursery rules are concerned with safety and care and respect for each other. Children who behave inappropriately by physically abusing another child or adult or by verbal bullying may be removed from the group. The child who has been upset will be comforted and the adult will confirm that the other child’s behaviour is not acceptable. It is important to acknowledge that a child is feeling angry or upset and that it is the behaviour we are rejecting, not the child.

When children behave in unacceptable ways:

  • Physical punishment will be neither threatened nor used; we understand that provider who fails to meet those requirements commits an offence. “A person will not be taken to have used corporal punishment (and therefore will not have committed an offence), where physical intervention was taken for the purposes of averting immediate danger of personal injury to any person (including the child) or to manage a child’s behaviour if absolutely necessary. Providers must keep a record of any occasion where physical intervention is used, and parents and/or carers must be informed on the same day, or as soon as reasonably practicable.” See section 3.52, Statutory Framework for EYFS.
  • Children will not be singled out or humiliated in any way. Staff within the nursery will redirect the children towards alternative activities. Discussions with children will take place respecting their level of understanding and maturity.
  • Staff will not raise their voices in a threatening way.
  • In any case of misbehaviour, it will always be made clear to the child or children in question, that it is the behaviour and not the child that is unwelcome.
  • How a particular type of behaviour is handled will depend on the child and the circumstances. It may involve the child being asked to talk and think about what he or she has done. It may be that the child will not be allowed to make his or her own choice of activities for a limited period of time.
  • Parents will be informed if their child is persistently unkind to others or if their child has been upset. In all cases inappropriate behaviour will be dealt with in the nursery at the time. Parents may be asked to meet with staff to discuss their child behaviour, so that if there are any difficulties, we can work together to ensure consistency between home and nursery. In some cases, we may request additional advice and support from other professionals, such as an educational psychologist or child guidance counsellor.
  • Children need to develop non-aggressive strategies to enable them to stand up for themselves so that adults and children listen to them. They need to be given opportunities to release their feelings more creatively.
  • Confidential records will be kept on any negative behaviour that has taken place. Parents/carers will be informed and asked to read and sign any entries concerning their child.
  • If a child requires help to develop positive behaviour, every effort will be made to provide for their needs.
  • Through partnership with parents/carers and formal observation such as ABC charts, staff will make every effort to identify the unwanted behaviour and the causes of that behaviour.
  • Staff use positive reinforcement to empathise what behaviour is expected of them. In conclusion staff ask the children what they should be doing rather than what they shouldn’t.
  • From these observations and discussions an individual behaviour modification plan will be implemented
    children will be distracted from the negative situation and supported in a different activity or environment, if necessary, for their own well-being and that of others in the group.


Children need their own time and space. It is not always appropriate to expect a child to share and it is important to acknowledge children’s feelings and to help them understand how others might be feeling.
Children must be encouraged to recognise that bullying, fighting, hurting and racist comments are not acceptable behaviour. We want children to recognise that certain actions are right and that others are wrong.
Bullying takes many forms. It can be physical, verbal or emotional, but it is always a repeated behaviour that makes other people feel uncomfortable or threatened.
Any form of bullying is unacceptable and will be dealt with immediately.

At our nursery, staff follow the guidelines below to enable them to deal with challenging behaviour:

  • Staff are encouraged to ensure that all children feel safe, happy and secure
  • Staff are encouraged to recognise that active physical aggression in the early years is part of the child’s development and that it should be channelled in a positive way
  • Children need to be helped to understand that using aggression to get things is wrong and will be encouraged to resolve problems in other ways
  • Our staff are encouraged to adopt a policy of intervention when they think a child is being bullied, however mild or “harmless” it may seem
  • The staff are ready to initiate games and activities with children, when they feel play has become aggressive, both indoors or out
  • Any instance of bullying will be discussed fully with the parents of all involved, to look for a consistent resolution to the behaviour
  • If any parent has a concern about their child, a member of staff will be available to discuss those concerns. It is only by co-operation that we can ensure our children feel confident and secure in their environment, both at home and in the nursery.
  • By positively promoting good behaviour, valuing co-operation and a caring attitude we hope to ensure that children will develop as responsible members of society.

Promoting positive behaviour

At Footsteps we focus and promote positive behaviour. At times unwanted behaviour needs to be recognised and addressed with the children and parents. We highlight unwanted behaviour by using a visual strategy.

Happy Sun and Sad Cloud (visual strategy)

All children start neutral (Not on either cloud). The rules and boundaries should be discussed with the children before each session (morning and afternoon).

If a child displays positive behaviour such as sharing, being a good helper, being kind etc then they can put themselves onto the happy sun. this is done together ensuring you discuss why they are on the sun and how that has made you both feel.

If a child is displaying unwanted behaviour practitioners must give the child a clear warning, informing them that if they have to be spoken to again about their behaviour then they will have to go onto the sad cloud and they will lose their choices.

If a child has had 1 warning and they are continuing to display unwanted behaviour then they need to put themselves onto the sad cloud, it is vital that the practitioner discusses the child’s behaviour and the consequences their behaviour has had. Once a child is on a sad cloud, they lose their choices and must remain with a practitioner engaging in an activity. The child can go back to neutral once they have shown they are no longer showing unwanted behaviour.

It is paramount that practitioners inform the parents about their child’s behaviour at the end of their session.

At the end of the day all children will return to neutral, ready for their next session.

Don’t forget to pay more attention to the positives rather than the negatives. Highlight to the children that you are happy with them as they are all on the happy sun.

* To help support positive behaviour, reward children morning and afternoon with using the helper tabards. This is a visual aid for children to see how good behaviour is rewarded.

* Positive reinforcement must be embedded throughout – Ask the children what you want them to do, rather than what you don’t want them to do.