I’ve talked about it before, but I want to reiterate.  Sometimes just understanding where a child is coming from helps us deal with the behaviors.  It doesn’t change the behaviors, but it gives us a different outlook and helps us deal with it a bit different.

The other day I went out on the yard and saw two teachers dealing with the same child in two very different ways.  One was being patient beyond patient and has working really hard at trying to help this child work through his challenges.  The other teacher was very short and, you could tell, was very frustrated with this child.

His history?  Well, this child has just turned 3 and a half.  He speaks absolutely no English, which shouldn’t be too difficult for us since the majority of the children in our care don’t speak English as a primary language; however, he doesn’t speak a language that any of our children or employees know.

The language barrier can be such a struggle on it’s own; but let’s add to the story and explain that he has just moved from a foreign country.  A country that is very different than ours.  I know that if I went to were he came from I would be lost and confused.

Do you feel for this child yet?  Let’s add to the mix.  His mom has been here in America for 3 years.  A year and a half ago, he, too, lived here until his mom, struggling here with the addition of infant twins in the home, sent him to live with his grandparents in this other country.  Do the math, this child was two years old when he left his mom.

Oh, and when he came back to this country just four weeks ago, his grandparents STAYED in his country!

Let’s look from his side, shall we?  He is in a VERY strange place where we have completely different social norms that he is not used to and has not learned.  He speaks absolutely nothing in this language.  He is living with a complete stranger; sure she’s his mom, but he hasn’t seen her in close to HALF his life!!!  Then he is expected to spend his days with MORE strangers and other children who don’t understand him!

The teacher who was being patient?  She’s the one who enlightened me to his back ground.  The other teacher?  Well, I approached her and explained his situation.  Suddenly the light went on and her exact response was, “Wow, I didn’t know.  How scary for him!”

Yes, scary for him.  Does it change the fact that he is hitting children?  Nope!  Does it give us a different perspective to helping him?  Yep!  This is where observation comes in.  The teachers who have been successful in working with him have watched his behavior and the behaviors of those around him.  They watch his body language and are now able to intercept and help when they see that he wants to interact with others.

Things are slowly getting better, all because we now understand where he is coming from!

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