Conflict management in the kindergarten
Conflicts are a natural part of social situations and provide many opportunities for learning. As preschool teachers and parents, we may find that we need more tools during a serious or prolonged conflict in preschool.
What conflicts can we encounter in the kindergarten?
- Behavioural and adjustment problems in children;
- parents who are difficult to find common ground with;
- colleagues with whom we talk past each other and can't work in harmony.
Why is it important to deal with conflicts consciously in kindergarten?
- Children learn most effectively when the adults around them take into account their needs and desires, respect their need for autonomy, encourage them to be autonomous and develop their empathy and self-confidence.
- Adults can support children to manage conflict well if they themselves are aware of their conflicts. However, in everyday life, we are often afraid of conflict and without conscious strategies we may tend to avoid it, deny it exists ("it's OK") or make quick compromises. Our socialisation and training have not taught us how to formulate and express our feelings and needs, which are key to building and maintaining good relationships.
What can I do as a parent if a conflict arises at my child's nursery?
If we feel we are not coping in a conflict situation involving our child, we should always you should first clarify the situation with the people concerned, and even if we are not in conflict with the kindergarten teacher, it is important to involve her, as she takes care of the children on a daily basis and can have crucial information and insights about the situation. It is worth emphasising that as parents we want to be able to work together to make the children's daily lives easier, as it is easier to work with them when adults work together as partners. It's worth talk about our own feelings, rather than qualifying the other party, it is not worth taking up the gauntlet, even if you feel that you are communicating offensively. . If we feel we are being outgrown, it is worth bringing in an external helper, whether it's the preschool social worker, the preschool psychologist, the head of the institution, or even conflict resolution specialists.
What can I do as a kindergarten teacher?
- If we see everyday conflicts not as a necessary evil, but as a natural phenomenon, we see the situation from a more positive perspective. If we are aware of this and aim to manage them rather than eliminate them, we have a realistic goal. Surprising as it may seem, conflict is an opportunity to rethink existing frameworks, to strengthen relationships, and the teacher may even find joy in the process of conflict resolution, where a secure structure provides a framework and the participants - even the children - can work their way to a solution. In a joint conflict resolution process, we gradually become able to express our feelings, interests and needs, if we are open to each other. This can be very rewarding for all involved.
- Appropriate methods and supportive environment helps conflict participants to experience that clashing different perspectives in the right circumstances can lead to better solutions and stronger communities. It's very inspiring to see children come up with creative and innovative solutions to their conflicts, and it's important to we recognise the work they put into their efforts. In our achievement-oriented world, we can help each other to reward not only the results achieved, but also the work, efforts, efforts, strategies, perseverance invested in ourselves and in each other, thus gaining the ammunition to face difficult situations that seem hopeless.