Achieving Positive Behaviour

Bertrum House Nursery believes that children flourish best when their personal, social and emotional needs are met and where there are clear and developmentally appropriate expectations for their behaviour. Children need to learn to consider the views and feelings, needs and rights of others and the impact that their behaviour has on people, places and objects. This is a developmental task that requires support, encouragement, teaching and setting the correct example. The principles that underpin how we achieve positive and considerate behaviour exist within the programme for promoting personal, social and emotional development.

EYFS Key Themes and Commitments

A Unique Child

Every child is a unique child who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured.


  • understand and observe each child’s development and learning, assess progress, plan for next steps;
  • support children to develop a positive sense of their own identity and culture;
  • identify any need for additional support;
  • keep children safe;
  • value and respect all children and families.

Positive Relationships

Children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships.

Positive relationships are

  • warm and loving, and foster a sense of belonging
  • sensitive and responsive to the child’s needs, feelings and interests supportive of the child’s own efforts and independence
  • consistent in setting clear boundaries
  • stimulating
  • built on key person relationships in early years settings

Enabling Environments

Children learn and develop well in enabling environments, in which their experiences respond to their individual needs and there is a strong partnership between practitioners and parents and carers.

Enabling Environments

  • value all people
  • value learning

They offer

  • stimulating resources, relevant to all the children’s cultures and communities
  • rich learning opportunities through play and playful teaching
  • support for children to take risks and explore

Learning and Development

Children develop and learn in different ways. The framework covers the education and care of all children in early years provision, including children with special educational needs and disabilities. Practitioners teach children by ensuring challenging, playful opportunities across the prime and specific areas of learning and development.

They foster the characteristics of effective early learning

  • Playing and exploring
  • Active learning
  • Creating and thinking critically


We have a named person, our Headteacher, Mrs Vicky Mould who has overall responsibility for our programme for supporting personal, social and emotional development, including issues concerning behaviour.

We require the named person to:

  • Keep herself up-to-date with legislation, research and thinking on promoting positive behaviour and on handling children’s behaviour where it may require additional support;
  • Access relevant sources of expertise on promoting positive behaviour within the programme for supporting personal, social and emotional development; and
  • Check that all staff have relevant in-service training on promoting positive behaviour. A record of staff attendance this training will be kept.
  • Support and ensure that all staff, volunteers and students provide a positive model of behaviour by treating children, parents and one another with friendliness, care and courtesy.
  • Familiarise new staff and volunteers with the setting’s behaviour policy and its guidelines for behaviour.
  • Expect all members of our setting – children, parents, staff, volunteers and students – keep to the guidelines, requiring these to be applied consistently.
  • Support staff to work in partnership with children’s parents and carers. Parents are regularly informed about their children’s behaviour by their key person.  Bertrum House Nursery works with parents to address recurring inconsiderate behaviour, using our observation records to help us to understand the cause and to decide jointly how to respond appropriately.

Strategies with Children who Engage in Misbehaviour

  • We require all staff, volunteers and students to use positive strategies for handling any misbehaviour, by helping children find solutions in ways which are appropriate for the children’s ages and stages of development. Such solutions might include, for example, acknowledgement of feelings, explanation as to what was not acceptable, and supporting children to gain control of their feelings so that they can learn a more appropriate response.
  • We ensure that there are enough popular toys and resources and sufficient activities available so that children are meaningfully occupied without the need for unnecessary conflict over sharing and waiting for turns.
  • We acknowledge and praise considerate behaviour such as kindness and willingness to share.
  • We support each child in developing self-esteem, confidence and feelings of competence.
  • We support each child in developing a sense of belonging in their class or key group, so that they feel valued and welcome.
  • When children behave in inconsiderate ways, we help them to understand the outcomes of their action and support them in learning how to cope more appropriately.
  • We never send children out of the room by themselves, nor do we use a ‘naughty chair’ or a ‘time out’ strategy that excludes children from the group.
  • We never use physical punishment, such as smacking or shaking. Children are never threatened with these.
  • We do not use techniques intended to single out and humiliate individual children.
  • We use physical restraint, such as holding, only to prevent physical injury to children or adults and/or serious damage to property.
  • Details of such an event (what happened, what action was taken and by whom, and the names of witnesses) are brought to the attention of our Headteacher and are recorded in the child’s personal file. The child’s parent is informed on the same day.  A log of serious incidents will be kept by the Headteacher.
  • In cases of serious misbehaviour, such as extremist views, racial or homophobic comments, or other abuse, we make clear immediately the unacceptability of the behaviour and attitudes, by means of explanations rather than personal blame. A log of these kinds of incidents will be kept by the Headteacher and such incidents are reportable to Wandsworth LEA.
  • Under the ‘Prevent Duty’ radical comments or behaviours are reported in the same manner child protection concerns are. The Designated/Deputy Designated Person for Child Protection would contact MASH Team (020 8871 6622 from 9am to 5pm or out of hours 020 8871 6000/ email in the first instance. If felt that it merits further investigation it will be referred to CHANNEL (a multi-agency unit/ programme) and the Wandsworth contact is Simon Cornwall, 020 8871 6094 9am-5pm/
  • Racist and homophobic behaviours will be logged on a spreadsheet and returned to Wandsworth LEA on an annual basis. Any serious/urgent concerns will be referred to the MASH team using the contact details above.
  • We do not shout or raise our voices in a threatening way to respond to children’s misbehaviour.

Rough and Tumble Play, Hurtful Behaviour and Bullying

Rough and tumble play and fantasy aggression

Young children often engage in play that has aggressive themes – such as superhero and weapon play; some children appear pre-occupied with these themes, but their behaviour is not necessarily a precursor to hurtful behaviour or bullying, although it may be inconsiderate at times and may need addressing using strategies as above.
  • We recognise that teasing and rough and tumble play are normal for young children and acceptable within limits. We regard these kinds of play as pro-social and not as problematic or aggressive.
  • We will develop strategies to contain play that are agreed with the children, and understood by them, with acceptable behavioural boundaries to ensure children are not hurt.
  • We recognise that fantasy play also contains many violently dramatic strategies, blowing up, shooting etc., and that themes often refer to ‘goodies and baddies’ and as such offer opportunities for us to explore concepts of right and wrong.
  • We are able to tune in to the content of the play, perhaps to suggest alternative strategies for heroes and heroines, making the most of ‘teachable moments’ to encourage empathy and lateral thinking to explore alternative scenarios and strategies for conflict resolution.

Hurtful behaviour

We take hurtful behaviour very seriously. Most children under the age of five will at some stage hurt or say something hurtful to another child, especially if their emotions are high at the time, but it is not helpful to label this behaviour as ‘bullying’. For children under five, hurtful behaviour is often momentary, spontaneous and without cognisance of the feelings of the person whom they have hurt.
  • We recognise that young children behave in hurtful ways towards others because they have not yet developed the means to manage intense feelings that sometimes overwhelm them.
  • We will help them manage these feelings.
  • We offer support, calming the child who is angry as well as the one who has been hurt by the behaviour. We aim to return the situation to one where feelings and hurt can be resolved and play can move forward positively.
  • We recognise that young children require help in understanding the range of feelings they experience. We help children recognise their feelings by naming them and helping children to express them, making a connection verbally between the event and the feeling. “Adam took your car, didn’t he, and you were enjoying playing with it. You didn’t like it when he took it, did you? Did it make you feel angry? Is that why you hit him?” Older children may be able to verbalise their feelings better, talking through themselves the feelings that motivated the behaviour.
  • We help young children learn to empathise with others, understanding that they have feelings too and that their actions impact on others’ feelings. “When you hit Adam, it hurt him and he didn’t like that and it made him cry.”
  • We help young children develop pro-social behaviour, such as resolving conflict over who has the toy. “I can see you are feeling better now and Adam isn’t crying any more. Let’s see if we can be friends and find another car, so you can both play with one.
  • We are aware that the same problem may happen over and over before skills such as sharing and turn-taking develop. In order for both the biological maturation and cognitive development to take place, children will need repeated experiences with problem solving, supported by patient adults and clear boundaries.
  • We support social skills through modelling behaviour, through activities, drama and stories. We build self-esteem and confidence in children, recognising their emotional needs through close and committed relationships with them.
  • We help a child to understand the effect that their hurtful behaviour has had on another child; we encourage them to demonstrate that they are sorry either verbally or with gestures such as a hug.
  • When hurtful behaviour becomes problematic, we work with parents to identify the cause and find a solution together.
  • Where this does not work, we use the SEN Code of Practice to support the child and family, making the appropriate referrals where necessary.


We take bullying very seriously. Bullying involves the persistent physical or verbal abuse of another child or children. It is characterised by intent to hurt, often planned, and accompanied by an awareness of the impact of the bullying behaviour.

A child who is bullying has reached a stage of cognitive development where he or she is able to plan to carry out a premeditated intent to cause distress in another.

If a child bullies another child or children:

  • We show the children who have been bullied that we are able to listen to their concerns and act upon them;
  • We intervene to stop the child who is bullying from harming the other child or children;
  • We explain to the child doing the bullying why her/his behaviour is not acceptable;
  • We give reassurance to the child or children who have been bullied;
  • We help the child who has done the bullying to recognise the impact of their actions;
  • We make sure that children who bully receive positive feedback for considerate behaviour and are given opportunities to practise and reflect on considerate behaviour;
  • We do not label children who bully as ‘bullies’;
  • We recognise that children who bully may be experiencing bullying themselves, or be subject to abuse or other circumstance causing them to express their anger in negative ways towards others;
  • We discuss what has happened with the parents of the child who did the bullying and work out with them a plan for handling the child’s behaviour; and
  • We share what has happened with the parents of the child who has been bullied, explaining that the child who did the bullying is being helped to adopt more acceptable ways of behaving.

Date written: September 2016

Date for review: September 2016