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HEALTHY BEHAVIOURS

Promoting Healthy Behaviour in Pre-school Class

By Sinead Hamill

 

We all want what is best for our children. Generally, when they’re happy, we’re happy. Sometimes this can lead us to over indulge them. We may be doing more for them than is necessary, or giving more treats than is healthy, out of a sense of love. However, we need to be aware of what is actually best for the children. Is this what they call tough love?


It might be tough, but parents may be relieved to hear they have the support of their child’s pre-school. ‘Health and Well-Being’ is one of the core areas focused on in the pre-school class. Educators know that teaching children life skills at an early age enables them to grow into independent, capable, healthy individuals. At this stage many children are expressing the desire to be independent anyway, “I can do it myself” so it makes sense to follow and encourage this natural desire.

 

Some of the healthy behaviours we promote and encourage in the preschool class include:

  • Healthy Eating

  • Drinking Water

  • Exercise and Active Play

  • Hand Washing

  • Proper use of tissues

  • Independent Activity

  • Good Manners

  • Social Skills

 

Ways in which we promote these skills include:

 

  • Demonstrations – Show children the correct way to perform an activity.

  • Explanations – Children learn and perform better when they understand the reasons for things. Breaking the lessons down into stages, where possible, makes them easier for children to grasp. Some lessons such as ‘hand washing’ can be reinforced with visual aids such as pictures or photographs posted in the relevant areas, defining each stage of the activity.

  • Patience – It’s a virtue! Children need time and space to practice the new skills they are learning. Don’t be tempted to jump in and help them too early. Give them the chance to succeed in their efforts and gain a sense of achievement and accomplishment.

  • Reminders – We all need them at times. It’s very easy to slip back into our old methods of coping before a skill is properly learned and becomes a habit or natural way of being.

  • As with all lessons taught in the preschool class a positive social support network can make all the difference to how much children learn and progress. Teachers really appreciate the interest expressed by parents and the efforts put in to support our work in school. So please, keep up the good work and enjoy watching your children flourish!

  • Modelling – Never underestimate the power of modelling. Children observe and imitate. This is one of the key ways in which they learn, so adults need to be aware of their own behaviours around children.

  • Praise – Let’s be honest, we all love a bit of praise and recognition for our efforts. Children thrive on positive reinforcement and in the preschool classroom this is the desirable method of behaviour management.