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Help! For Teachers of Young Children

Help! For Teachers of Young Children
88 Tips to Develop Children's Social Skills and Create Positive Teacher-Family Relationships

October 2005 | 184 pages | Corwin

"A delightful book. . . . It is readable, convincing, and useful for communicating with children and engaging them in fruitful conversations. I would recommend this book to anyone who has the good fortune to be working with young children."
-Marilyn Segal, Director of Academics
Mailman Segal Institute for Early Childhood Studies
Nova Southeastern University, FL

"Even though strong parent-teacher partnerships benefit children, very little attention is usually given to training teachers to tap into this powerful resource. Kaltman's practical tips make for a very valuable resource."
-Ruth R. Kennedy, Assistant Professor
Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania

Help children develop critical social skills and build positive team relationships with parents!

Ensuring children's healthy social and emotional development is one of the most important-and most challenging-responsibilities for preschool educators and parents. This reader-friendly reference offers 88 tips to tackle the task by focusing on what teachers can do with children and their parents.

Help! For Teachers of Young Children provides readers with entertaining stories and practical strategies covering a range of topics, from using discipline as a teaching tool, to helping children learn to communicate, cooperate, and develop self-esteem. The book also addresses the many facets of working effectively with parents, including parent-child separation anxiety.

Each tip offers:

  • A short and engaging real-life story
  • Suggestions that teachers can use immediately
  • "Ask Yourself" questions for teachers to think about their classroom practice

A "Try This" section at the end of each chapter gives readers even more activity ideas. Preschool teachers are guaranteed to find fresh and fun insights each time they open this resource and its companion volume, More Help! For Teachers of Young Children: 99 Tips to Promote Intellectual Development and Creativity   

About the Author
Part I. Developing Children's Social Skills
1. Yada, Yada, Yada: Communicating Effectively With the Young Child
1. Use nonverbal communication.

2. Talk frequently to infants and toddlers.

3. Get down to the child’s eye level.

4. Use positive language.

5. Be more responsive to what a child does than to what he says.

6. Offer limited choices.

7. Be a language role model.

8. Use language to influence a child’s response to negative events.

9. Use specific language.

10. Say what you mean, and mean what you say.

11. Engage children in conversation.

12. Use props to stimulate conversation.

13. Ask developmentally appropriate questions.

14. Help children tell the truth.

15. Be honest and trustworthy.

16. Understand what the child is asking before answering the question.


2. "Why Can't You Behave?" Understanding the Difference Between Discipline and Punishment
17. Control your emotions.

18. Have a consistent approach.

19. Give children positive attention.

20. Use tangible rewards sparingly.

21. Avoid power struggles.

22. Quiet a group of screaming children by joining them.

23. Redirect negative play.

24. Help children learn to take turns.

25. Don’t overreact when children test your limits.

26. Have developmentally appropriate expectations.

27. Limit class rules.

28. Help children deal with insults from other children.

29. Stop physical bullying as soon as you see it.

30. Don’t assume the younger/smaller child is an innocent victim.

31. Recognize tricks children use to gain favor.

32. Be sure you have a child’s undivided attention.

33. Help children learn to express themselves with words.

34. Guide children through the problem solving process.


3. "Will You Be My Friend?" Helping Children Develop a Positive Self-Image and Master the Art of Getting Along with Others
35. Help children be independent to foster a positive self-image.

36. Caution parents about the dangers of being too indulgent.

37. Find something good to say about each child.

38. Provide activities that involve cooperation.

39. Encourage the children to interact with and be accepting of all their classmates.

40. Arrange opportunities for children to help one another.

41. When developmentally appropriate, provide an atmosphere that encourages sharing.

42. Be a positive role model.

43. Give children the opportunity to resolve disagreements by themselves.

44. Provide materials that encourage positive social interaction on the playground.

45. Stimulate, but do not dominate, dramatic play.

46. Give children the privacy and freedom they need for dramatic play.


Part II. Creating Positive Teacher/Family Relationships
4. "Mommy, Please Don't Leave Me!" Preparing Parents and Children for School
47. Offer parents specific and concrete advice on how to minimize separation problems before the child enters school.

48. Try to meet and form bonds with parents before school starts.

49. Establish good lines of communication with parents.

50. Help parents develop an exit strategy.

51. Encourage parents to stay nearby.

52. Gradually increase the time a child stays at school.

53. Give all the children extra attention.

54. Accept a child’s honest feelings.

55. Develop plans to comfort unhappy children.

56. Set up the easel to create a safe observation post.

57. Help children understand the daily schedule.

58. Use your name and the children’s names often.

59. Wear pins or other accessories that appeal to children.

60. Dress colorfully for working with young children.

61. Count heads frequently during the day.


5. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Creating a Team Relationship With Parents
62. Help parents work through the natural tendency to be jealous.

63. Put your personal feelings aside.

64. Make it easy for parents to confide in you.

65. Learn about the culture and customs of the children’s families.

66. Keep parents informed by posting lesson plans.

67. Write meaningful newsletters.

68. Educate the parents as well as the children.

69. Find ways to communicate with parents.

70. Do your best to calm an angry parent.

71. Involve parents in the school experience.

72. Perform little kindnesses that are not in your job description.

73. Show your appreciation to parents.

74. Accept that you may not be able to help every parent.


6. "Can We Talk?" Making the Most of Parent/Teacher Conferences
75. Control your conference schedule.

76. Involve everyone who comes to a conference.

77. Collect your thoughts before responding to questions.

78. Have a plan for each child.

79. Ask open-ended questions to get parents to talk about issues.

80. Facilitate communication by relating specific observations.

81. Provide examples of a child’s work.

82. Ask parents what their child does when not in school.

83. Know what you want to say before contacting a parent to schedule an extra conference.

84. Take more than enough time before expressing concerns about a child’s development.

85. When necessary encourage parents to request testing or see a specialist.

86. Avoid using labels.

87. Prepare yourself for negative reactions.

88. Have a game plan for conferences.


Suggested Readings

"Teachers and parents will recognize (and chuckle over) many of the situations described in the stories, and will find the strategies useful in meeting the social, emotional, and intellectual needs of young children."

Joan Franklin Smutny
Author, Differentiating for the Young Child

"Easy to read and comprehend. The author knows her field and conveys that knowledge in unassuming ways."

Catheryn Weitman, Professor
Elementary Education, Barry University

"Even though strong parent-teacher partnerships benefit children, very little attention is usually given to training teachers to tap into this powerful resource. Kaltman's practical tips would be a very valuable resouce for preservice and inservice teachers alike."

Ruth R. Kennedy
Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania

"The author has a marvelous gift of sharing personal experiences with teachers in meaningful and practical ways."

Susan Miller, Educational Consultant and Author
San Antonio, TX

"A delightful book. It is readable, convincing, and useful for communicating with children and engaging them in fruitful conversations. I would recommend this book to anyone who has the good fortune to be working with young children."

Marilyn Segal, Director of Academics
Mailman Segal Institute for Early Childhood Studies

"Addresses many typical trouble spots that teachers in early grades frequently encounter—problems with sharing, negative attention seeking, bullying, and expressing anger. The interventions Kaltman recommends are succinct, clear, and easy to administer. Teachers and other school professionals are likely to find many tips to assist them in day-to-day activities."


"Refreshing and consistent with most current thinking about effective learning. Teachers and school professionals will find many tips that will assist them in day-to-day activities."

George M. Kapalka
PsycCRITIQUES, June 2006
Key features
  • Ready reference for preschool, pre-k, and childcare professionals with or without an extensive educational background in early childhood education
  • Offers 88 tips for teachers, each one consisting of a story, strategies for applying relevant developmentally appropriate practice, and "Ask Yourself" questions for the reader
  • Covers critical areas of children's social development: effective communication, discipline versus punishment, cooperation with others, and the value of diversity.
  • Covers critical components of teacher-family relationships: preparing children and parents for school, creating a team relationship with families, and making the most of parent-teacher conferences.


Sample Materials & Chapters


Chapter 3

For instructors

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